Getting the Basics Right

Business Start-Up: Before you take the leap into starting your own business, make sure you’ve got the basics right.

So – you’ve worked it all out. Your accountant has taken your figures and drawn up a pretty good business plan, and the bank manager didn’t get quite as far as throwing you out of his office. Well what’s the problem, what are you waiting for? The greatest adventure of your life is out there somewhere on the wrong side of the door that says, “No Entrance Employees Only.”

Perhaps there’s a nagging doubt at the back of your mind, a thought that somewhere along the line you may have missed a vital link. Perhaps, before you march into the boss’s office and tell him where to stick his laptop, you ought to get a motivational health check. What’s that? Lets call it a cool look at the real reasons you’re thinking of taking this major step, and whether they’re enough to stop you going into melt down the first time the going gets tough. What’s really behind this desire to risk reputation, health and possibly fortune in the cutthroat world of commerce?

No doubt your answers contain references to all kinds of praiseworthy impulses but the only one that really matters, and don’t let anyone tell you differently is: I want to make money!

If that isn’t at the top of your selections then you should go home, rethink your strategy, learn to love your boss and ask for your job back! You may be a sensible, caring individual with a major contribution to make to your community, but you’re not going to do it this way. Why not? Because you need to create wealth before anyone can benefit from it, and that has to be the primary focus of your efforts. It also has to be pursued with a single-minded determination and commitment that might prove off-putting to those close to you. It’s the dedication that makes champion athletes put themselves through the pain barrier training on cold wet days when the easy way would be to pack up, go home and try again another day. It’s the combination of qualities that mark out the winners, and to make your business a success you’ll need to muster them all.

From the word go you must take on board an iron discipline that decrees that every penny you spend has to have an identifiable pay back, preferably in double quick time, and every penny you earn has to be put to good use.

Cut out everything that’s not essential, if you think you need help work harder and longer hours yourself then think about it again. If you need a car, computer, office equipment, borrow them, or buy them used and save your cash for growing the business. On a simple scale remember that if on a 10% margin you need to earn a £1000 just to cover £100 spent.

Get everything else out of the back of your mind – holidays – weekends off – evenings in front of the fire. If you’ve discussed this properly with family and friends they’ll understand why you’ve suddenly turned into a reclusive workaholic with a scrooge like attitude to all matters financial. Lock the doors on those people who tell you that you need to “speculate to accumulate, delegate more and take some quality time to yourself.” If you don’t grit your teeth, dig in and fight like the devil, you’ll have plenty of quality time soon enough. Trouble is you won’t be able to enjoy it because you’ll be hiding in the house to avoid your angry creditors. If that prospect appalls you perhaps you would be better of as a successful part of someone else’s operation?

Make no mistake, whether you’re starting off with half a million from your friendly bank manager, or a few thousand from under the bed you are into a deadly serious challenge. It’s not a game. Games contain an element of chance, and if you’ve relied on any of that in your battle plan you’ll almost certainly regret it. Adopt this as your motto!

If it isn’t adding value to the business or actually making money, why do it?

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