Proper prior planning

You may feel like an entrepreneur but think carefully before you take the plunge. Lynda Aurora advises and guides you on these pages every second week

No business decision requires more careful thought than when and how to start up on your own. For many it seems like an attractive option - no more corporate politics, reorganisations or burnout from the corporate rat race. You dream of having no boss or clients from hell but, instead, time to go to the gym and working the hours you want. But could you handle the uncertainty? In no time, the corporate job where you felt underpaid can seem like a Mark 6 payout in comparison to an unstable income.

Consider these issues before you jump the corporate ship into the uncertain world of self-employment.

1. Market
You may have a great idea and be certain it will work, but will it make a viable business? Expectations must be clearly defined!

Do your due diligence - thoroughly examine the market and be objective. Ask experienced professionals to assess your idea and consider timing, competition and profitability so you really understand your new market.

2. Business plan
Every business needs one. Decide where you want to be in five years' time, then reengineer backwards. A business plan provides the road map to keep you on track. Inevitably, you will enhance and change the plan as you gain more experience, but it will keep you focused and remind you of your business vision and basic goals.

3. Profit
Remember you are in business, not pursuing a hobby.
Your objective is to make money with a good return on your investment of time, talent and resources, so watch every penny.

4. Cash flow
This is often termed the 'life blood' of the company. Most businesses fail through not monitoring cash flow vigilantly. Assess expenditure rigorously and don't spend unless you have the cash. Ideally, entrepreneurs should have at least 12 months' savings in the bank, so there's no unnecessary stress on themselves or their family.

5. Business skills
People start their own business with certain skills but not everything needed to manage a growing business. Know your strengths and find good people to do the rest, but manage them well. Countless times business owners will delegate the handling of company accounts only to find later these accounts have not been properly kept and take valuable time to correct.

6. Business partners
If you need a business partner, choose carefully. Don't rush in for the wrong reasons. I have seen many businesses fail because of the partners' differing ideas. A breakup can be very acrimonious and take much longer and be more expensive than you imagine.

7. Mentor
Being a solo entrepreneur can be very lonely. I suggest you engage a mentor or coach and meet regularly to ensure you are on track, can bounce ideas around, resolve issues and get guidance to ensure sustainable success.

Remember to stay focused, realistic and positive. Make a full-time commitment but know when it is time to let go and get a corporate job.

Lynda Aurora FCCA ACA CPA MBA MA-HRM PCC is a career coach partnering with people who want to reassess their career options, get strategies to improve their work performance and employability or are in career transition. She is Asia's first and only Professional Certified Coach Member of the International Coach Federation.

Taken from Career Times 17 October 2003
讚好 CTgoodjobs 專頁,獲取更多求職資訊!

Free Subscription