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For Entrepreneurs                                                                 Business books, software, electronics

Here are some helpful, simple business tips and considerations for you in establishing or expanding your business.

1.              Understand your business, industry and markets before jumping in.

Successful entrepreneurs get a great start by gaining valuable work and management experience in their industry before considering self-employment in that field.  Conduct some further research on the industry, the markets and your potential competition. 

2.            Understand why you are establishing or expanding your business.

Establish a purpose behind the business.  What is the belief in your product or service that will change things or add-value?  You probably can understand how you can plan out operations and what activities you need to do to accomplish goals, but you also need to understand why you are in business and why you think your business can assist others and be successful.

3.            Undertake strong business and financial planning prior to establishing or expanding a business.

This is a critical initial step in becoming an entrepreneur.  You need to develop a blueprint to follow to be successful.  To present a strong business case, you must think through the whole planning cycle - idea generation, research, analysis, decision-making, writing and presentation of a projected viable venture.  Most lending agencies, partners, and investors will require you to produce a business plan, and most will analyze and make decisions based on business merit.  Financial projections are a key piece of the business plan.  Adding more supporting documentation, analysis, and assumptions, your financial statements will be stronger and more objective.

4.         Get out there and network with everyone, build partnerships and engage in outreach activities.

This is a bold statement to follow.  People, customers, partners and the industry will only get to know you and your business with putting an effort into communications and marketing.  In some scenarios, personal or face-to-face communications and promotions can bring maximum value to your organization or business.  The more frequent the communications and marketing the better.  Within your business plan, lay out your marketing and outreach plans.

5.              Surround yourself with successful people and rely on area experts to better inform you on decision-making.

Successful businesses may not have been created in isolation.  Through networking and engaging with professionals, you will learn from a more global, objective perspective.  You need to realize that you cannot be the expert in every area of your business.  You need to emphasize on the leadership and management roles and responsibilities of your business.  Great leadership involves being able to collaborate and engage with professional team members, encouraging and empowering them to be successful in their own units.  Ensure you delegate responsibility appropriately.

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Entrepreneurs – Another 5 Valuable Business Tips (Part 2)

1.              Consider funding options (loans, grants, contributions) to assist with financing

In the planning process you will identify the resource requirements to establish or expand operations.  You will identify start up costs, expansion costs, and costs related to operating until a break-even point has been achieved in your business.  You should realize that you might not have enough equity (your own money) to do this.  Also, it may not be the best option to fully fund this from your equity, even if you have all the cash investment required.  In either case you must do some research and find funding sources, which may include a commercial loan, grant, contribution or investor equity.  Leveraging sources against sources may reduce financial risk and may result is a better return on equity (return on your cash investment).

2.         If you are seriously considering self-employment, be prepared to put in long hours and massive amounts of efforts to be successful.

The more effort you put into your business, the more results and benefits you will experience.  This is definitely applicable on the front end, where massive amounts of your energy, time and resources will be required to be successful.  Through planning you will be cognisant of where your projected break-even point is, and in some cases you may need to achieve that sooner rather than later.  Be prepared to do anything it takes to be successful.  Working long days, evenings and weekends will be par for the course.

3.         Learn from your mistakes, failures, recover quickly and pro-actively plan for scenarios your business may face.

Successful business managers, leaders and executives have consistently noted that their experience in failures and mistakes gave way to successful ventures and practices.  Every major successful corporation or business has gone through ups and downs, and most contribute success from learning and experiencing failures.  The abilities to continuously learn and adapt are brilliant leadership qualities.

4.         People (staff) may be your most significant resource; engage and empower your staff and treat staff with respect.          

The staff that surround you, work with you and support you are your greatest resource.  Most of the time, without your valued staff, you don’t or will not have a successful business.  In terms of mutual relationships, your business will be successful due to great staff, and in turn, you will empower and encourage team members to be successful.  It’s a win-win scenario.

5.            Business planning is a core management function.  Review plans, goals and results frequently; revise plans accordingly,

Business planning is not a one-time initial exercise, but one of frequent occurrence.  Plans, goals and objectives need to be reviewed, analyzed and revised on a frequent basis, in step with your annual business cycles.  This may mean that business planning occurs on a quarterly or bi-annual frequency, as your business needs to adapt to the dynamic and changing environments to be successful. 

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Advantages of Partnerships and Collaboration                                                                              

Entrepreneurs and start-up businesses sometimes, in a flawed approach, consider going it alone at the onset of operations, or when it comes to new opportunities.  If your business has valued opportunities or access to a resource, then others will be interested. Likewise, you may find external opportunities with companies that may have synergies with your business and your lines of products and services. 

In a few case examples, if a new business venture has operated in isolation, the competition in that industry had little interest other than keeping track to ensure the new start-up wasn’t encroaching on their market share.  As you may be preparing to launch your business, the time might be right for you to work with outside firms to further mutual business objectives, and enjoy mutual benefits.

Developing close working relationships with partners may result in many potential advantages for your business, including:

§         Greater benefits gained through economies of scale

§         Sharing of risk associated with a new project, product or service

§         Use of your partnering firms’ supplies and equipment, versus your business having to supply all infrastructure and paying for all costs associated

§         Use of firms’ working capital, reducing the need for you to obtain financial resources

§         Capacity and skill transfer, drawing upon existing expertise in operations and management

§         Collaborative marketing, rather than having to develop all of this intelligence in house at the onset of operations

§         Access to more partners

The potential benefits of working with the partnering firms and companies may potentially outweigh any negatives, and should be investigated and considered.  Many successful businesses have noted key success factors including developing strong partnerships and joint ventures.  However, ensure that you spend the time to develop relationships, demonstrate business cases, and build trust with partners.
                                                             
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