How to start your own business
Got a great idea for a business? Here’s how to turn it into reality!
The economic downturn may look like it’s passing over, but many businesses are still cutting back and downsizing and many employees are looking at the alternatives and the possibility of setting up a business and getting out of the rat race.
When I started Mocks (mobile phone socks) in 2004 I was leaping headlong into the unknown, leaving a well paid, corporate life as a marketer behind and entering the world of small business entrepreneur! I wasn’t really sure of anything apart from the fact that I wanted to own and develop my own brand, be autonomous and work for myself. I had ideas and dreams and I was hell bent on realising them! I faced a huge number of challenges, expensive mistakes and days when I really wondered whether it was worth it. I kept going and learnt some valuable lessons and now I’m happier than I’ve ever been. It was worth the ride!
Each month I’ll cover off some particular areas of small business development in layman’s terms, but this month here are a few overview tips for anyone thinking of going it alone…
1. Be flexible and move with the market – you need to be looking for new opportunities constantly and be flexible enough to act on them and keep updating your brand to make it fresh and relevant. You also need to be flexible in the structure of your business.
2. Network – talking to new people is a great way to find out about new things and it often sparks new ideas. Your new contacts may also become a good support network for you. There are also loads of business groups, networks, online networking sites, not to mention social networking like twitter and Facebook…all these things are great to chat to people, swap stories and experiences and get great advice.
3. Plan and budget – You need to be realistic about what you can and can’t do and also have some money stored away to actually live on until you start making money. You may not see any actual income for a long time!
4. Treat people as you would like to be treated – This is part of the reason that my company still distributes direct to stores, because I believe that if we went through a distributor as such a small product (in size and $) the level of service we currently offer would not be the same. The same applies to how you treat your staff.
5. Have passion and enjoy the ride – Being passionate about my business is why people like to talk to me about the brand and are persuaded to buy from me and why I keep going, even when I hit problems or difficult times. I believe whole heartedly in Mocks and I love what I do. If you don’t, it will come across to everyone. It’s not easy running a business, so why do it if you don’t enjoy it?
Lara Solomon is the award winning founder and creator of Mocks mobile phone socks (www.mymocks.com) through her company LaRoo. She’s also written about her experiences in “Brand New Day: The Highs and Lows of Starting a Small Business”, www.brandnewday.com.au
ASK LARA: We’d love to know all about your small business and entrepreneurial questions – and will publish the top three and Lara’s answers to them each month. Authors of published questions will receive a copy of Lara’s book, Brand New Day. Just ask a question below or email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Career” in the subject line.