As part of Small Business Week 2012 and the opening of the new Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre at Memorial University-Grenfell Campus, staff at Navigate has prepared a series of information sheets on entrepreneurship and small business ownership. Tips For Starting and Operating Your Own Business is the second article of this series.
Tips for Starting and Operating Your Own Business (by Philip Gillis)
(An initiative of Memorial University-Grenfell Campus and the College of the North Atlantic-Corner Brook)
Create A Business Plan: One of the main reasons new businesses fail is because of lack of planning. If you want to be successful, you’re going to need a business plan. Not only will it serve as your guide, but it is also a tool that will communicate to potential investors exactly what you’re doing and why they should invest in you. A business plan is simply: Who you are? What you want to do? When you will do it? Where you will operate your business, and how you will finance it and run it. It is recommended that you consider downloading an outline/sample of a business plan by going to the website for the Community Business Development Corporation NL, the Provincial Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development or the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. These templates will then act as guide as you prepare your business plan.
Do something you love: If you want to be an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to dedicate a lot of time and energy to your business. Therefore, you should be doing something that you are passionate about. This ensures that you stay motivated and have the drive to make your venture successful.
Know your market: In order for an idea to be valuable, it must be able to fill a need or void within a specific market segment. Don’t assume that just because you like your idea, other people will too. Take the time to do research and figure out if there are people willing to pay for your product or service. If there is a market, you have to understand your customers and offer what they want to buy, not just what you want to sell.
Stay calm: When you run your own business, things go wrong. Every entrepreneur has to face challenges at some point; many even have to deal with outright failure. If you want to successfully work past a crisis situation you have to keep a cool head and stay calm. Getting frustrated or losing control will only add to the problem.
Ask for help: You don’t have to know everything. There’s always someone who you can learn from so don’t be afraid to seek help. If you are having trouble with something, find someone who is knowledgeable in that field and ask them for insights or advice. Don’t forget to take advantage of assistance provided by the Navigate Entrepreneurship Program such as the mentoring service which can help you with many of the problems faced by new entrepreneurs.
(Philip Gillis is from Corner Brook Newfoundland and is completing the final year of his business degree at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University. His focus area is contemporary business studies and economics. After graduation Philip plans to pursue a career in accounting or finance. He is currently working as a student assistant with the Navigate Entrepreneurial Program.)