How Do I Start My Own Business?

Introduction

To create your own job means to be self-employed and also be an employer of labour. The Nigerian government is currently encouraging entrepreneurship by creating an enabling environment and setting aside empowerment funds, skills acquisition centres and soft loans.

All young people will encounter the world of business, whether they work in urban or rural areas. They must be prepared to engage in business activity with confidence and competence. Young people need to understand how business functions, the role it plays in our society, the opportunities it generates, the skills it requires, and the impact it can have on their own lives and on society, now and in the future.

Why should I set business goals?

Goals are powerful contributors to successful business growth in several ways. To begin with, the process of setting goals forces you to think through what you want from your business and how growth may-or may not-provide that. This process helps suggest directions for pursuing that growth, which can greatly improve your chances of achieving your goals in the first place.

Goals also give you a framework within which to work. This tends to focus your efforts by helping you rule out actions that won’t contribute to achieving the goals you’ve set. A very important part of that framework is a timetable. Any good goal has a timetable, and that timetable will influence your actions profoundly.

What are good quality business goals?

When setting goals, aim for the following qualities:

Specificity:

you have a better chance of achieving a goal if it’s specific. Raising capital isn’t a specific goal; raising N10,000 by July 1 is.

Optimism:

Be positive when you set your goals. Being able to pay the bills isn’t exactly an inspirational goal. Achieving financial security phrases your goal in a more positive manner, thus firing up your energy to attain it.

Realism:

If you set a goal to earn N100,000 a month when you’ve never earned that much in a year, that goal is unrealistic. Begin with small steps, such as increasing your monthly income by 25 percent. Once your first goal is met, you can reach for large ones.

Short and long term:

Short-term goals are attainable in a period of weeks to a year. Long-term goals can be for 5, 10 or even 20 years; they should be substantially greater than short-term goals but should still be realistic.

What factor should I consider when setting goals?

There are several factors to consider when setting goals:

Income:

Many entrepreneurs go into business to achieve financial security. Consider how much money you want to make during your first year of operation and each year thereafter, up to five years.

Lifestyle:

This includes areas such as travel, hours of work, investment of personal assets and geographic location. Are you willing to travel extensively or to move? How many hours are you willing to work? Which assets are you willing to risk?

Type of work:

When setting goals for type of work, you need to determine whether you like working outdoors, in an office, with computers, on the phone, with lots of people, with children and so on.

Ego gratification:

Many people go into business to satisfy their egos. Owing a business can be very ego-gratifying, especially if you’re in a business that’s considered glamorous or exciting. You need to decide how important ego gratification is to you and what business best fills that need.

Honesty:

The most important rule of goal-setting is honesty. Going into business with your eyes wide open about your ultimate goals lets you confront the decisions you’ll face with greater confidence and a greater chance of success.

What is the SWOT of a business?

A business should consider the following in a business goals analysis:

Strengths:

This is what the business can achieve within the stipulated time. An entrepreneur must be realistic in identifying the strength of the new business opportunities so that it will be achievable.

Weaknesses:

Weakness is what makes the business not achieve the stated objectives. It is important to identify the weakness of a new business opportunity.

Opportunities:

These are available chances a business can utilize to further its profitability.

Threats:

Internal and external threats can affect the day-to-day running of a business.

How can I draw up a business plan?

Research:

Get as much information on your proposed business as possible. Talk to those already in business, visit the library, learn all you can from trade associations and trade publications, conduct research on-line and find out what help is available from local and federal government agencies.

Make your projections:

The more you know about your business, the more accurately you can make intelligent projections of sales and potential profits for the first few years. This knowledge is invaluable.

Capital (Money):

Accept the fact that it always requires more money than you’ve anticipated to start, or improve your business. Have enough working capital on hand and back-up resources just in case the new business does not prosper as you had anticipated.

Competition:

Study your competitors carefully; they’ve been in the trenches and have already experienced what you are about to discover. Read their literature. There is a reason your competitor is in business, and you’d better find out what it is-and how you can turn their customers into your customers.

Location:

If you can’t go to your customer, you customer must come to you-so make it easy. Pick a prime location or invest in targeted advertising.

Image:

What kind of public image do you want to create with your service, merchandise, quality, décor, packaging, personnel vehicles, advertising and pricing? How does that image correspond with the customer you are trying to attract?

Keep Records:

Complete, accurate records are needed to file taxes, to properly manage your bank accounts and most importantly, to give you guidance. Always know where your business stands financially.

Professional Help:

In addition to professional and confidential counselling, rely on a competent lawyer, accountant, banker and insurance broker to fulfil your business needs. A marketing professional in your corner may also be needed.

Purchasing:

Knowing what, when and where to buy and how to gauge inventory can make or break you. It allows you to conserve working capital, reduce obsolescence and meet and beat the competition. Know what sells.

Profits:

This is the bottom line for which you are going into business. Make sure that all expenses are accounted for, including your own living costs, possible losses, shrinkage, unseen costs such as fringe benefits and taxes. Then add a legitimate profit to your risk. If the profit does not come or right, perhaps you should rethink your idea. 

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