How, we can make sure that we are among the winners rather than the losers in these high stakes game? The answer is within us. We must ask ourselves four key questions to determine whether our small business can survive and thrive.
business, starting a business, small business, entrepreneur, SME, SME Startup, Startpreneur, Startuppper
Every year lakhs of people answer “Yes” to the BOOM – (Being Oné Own Man/Woman) calling and make it their SOP – (Statement of Purpose) and every year that answer comes with Risk Staruppers ( I call them Startpreneurs) take which costs them money, time, efforts, confidence, goodwill and heartbreak as 9 out of 10 Startup businesses fail ! Even where their is a single soul as sole employee, it happens. I was a Startup and I tasted failure 16 times. In couple of cases, I fired myself as CEO/ Founder with impunity :). Funny, but True! It happens to many of the new entrepreneurs.
As per an estimate, two-thirds of new businesses survive at least two years and 44 percent of Startups survive at least four years.
Two of the key factors in the businesses survival and ability to thrive evident are:
- the owner’s education level and
- the owner’s reason for starting the firm in the first place.
Let us examine from an Investor’s point of view as to what they judge us as Startpreneurs:
- A Top Angel investor looks at 5 things in Startups before investing
- People 2. Product/ Service 3. Process 4. Traction 5. Profitability.
- Some investors focus on the Founders and look at Vital Qualitites such as:
- Passion 2. Ambivert 3. Erudite 4. Calculated Risk Taker 5. Dedicated All-in
(But more about these in another article I shall share here)
So how d we make sure that we are among the winners rather than the losers in this high-stakes game? The answer is within us. We must ask ourselves four key questions to determine whether our own small business will survive and thrive.
- What is our STATE of Readiness?
How mentally prepared are we, for the switch from employee (or student or whatever label fits we currently) to boss? as we are going to be the ones making decisions now about everything from office products to product line.
This total control is one of the driving forces behind many people who take the plunge into starting their own business, but it is also one of the elements that drives new entrepreneurs crazy. When we start out there is an endless list of decisions that need to be made and new questions crop up every day.
Even more important we will need to remember that in a small business we will have to wear many hats. Even if we manage to start out with one or more employees we will each fulfill more than one role in our new business. And if we are running a one-man or one-woman show then we serve in every capacity from file clerk to maintenance crew to salesman to CEO.
Can we handle switching from task to task and role to role like that? Are we willing to make those switches?
Similarly, have we prepared our family and friends for this switch in attitude. Our life is going to change — pretty drastically — and that change can have a positive or negative impact on our family life and social interactions. It will make things much easier if our friends and family are supportive going into the process.
- Where O’ where does lie My Niche’? Does it REALLY exist?
Have we identified our niche yet? One of the reasons many businesses fail is that they fail to focus on a target audience. Yes, if we are a major discount store then we can sell everything from peanuts to wallpaper, but this type of business requires vast resources that just aren’t available to the small business. But small businesses dominate the marketplace by finding a different approach — a niche’.
Knowing our niche’ means we are better able to find, target, and maintain our customers as well as provide the best possible goods and services to that customer base. That focus is one of our best chances to not only survive but to thrive in a very competitive marketplace.
- Do you have a Plan of Action? With Who, What and When ?
Another key factor in the survival and ultimate success of our business is how much planning we do before we open our electronic or physical doors. We need to decide if our business will be based on the internet or include more traditional models.
Are we going to work full-time or part-time at our new business? Are we going to hire help or go solo? Have we written (or at least outlined) our business plan? Dreaming, thinking and planning can save we much trouble and waste later when things are hectic and problems strike.
Planning can also help keep we focused and to balance our spending and time.
- Who is / Are my Back-up Cushion/s? Just in case, we FALL?
At some point, no matter how experienced a business person we are, we will need help. We will need support, advice, tools, or information — or all of the above. One of the beautiful, and most frightening, aspects of growth is that it can lead us to places we never imagined. No matter how much planning and experience we bring to our new position as CEO the unexpected will arise.
How will we cope with this? It is important to recognize that no business is an island. It is not failure to seek help. Failure is when our business shuts down because we didn’t get the help we needed.
The best way to get timely help is to work on our support system while we work on building our business. That way we will already have a ready list of resources available that we can quickly tap into when emergencies strike. In today’s world there are many marvelous resources available to we no matter what our business model may be. These include, which I define as the 4 M’s
- Media (newsletters, magazines, books)
- Mentors (professional advisors, mentors, teachers, consultants)
- Memberships (organizations and forums in our niche as well as general business and marketing)
- Mental Stimulation : Education and training (tutorials, courses, and seminars)
After we have answered these four key questions we are now ready to ask ourrselves that one big question again — are we ready to start our own business?