Saturday, September 12, 2009

Easiest business to create

There are a lot of people who would like to engage in business but have no idea what to do. There are a number of challenges setting up a business. These include:
1. Structure: Business requires systematic, disciplined behaviour, to which many people are not accustomed. They prefer to be self-indulgent. If you are so inclined, the best thing to do is find a partner who can share the costs, and is willing to do the things you are loath to do. That will help, but at the end of the day, you might still be indulgent with respect to the things you like because somethings the 'business of making money' is not always the creative process you might have expected or hoped it to be.
2. Planning: Business is a conceptual undertaking. Conceptualisation is important in several respects. It will help you define and refine your service or product, it will help you anticipate problems, it will help you resolve those problems. There are two planning-related problems. People are either floating (i.e. not grounded), anti-conceptual or they are too conceptual, and inclined to suffer from 'paralysis by over-analysis'. Hence the importance of execution.
3. Execution: Some people are very good with execution, being able to manage many things at the same time, but they can tend to be anti-conceptual. They will work hard, and waste a lot of time because they failed to plan or conceive of a better way of doing things. Learning from experience is the least effective way to learn. Planning allows you to extend your knowledge before suffering results. Ensure there is a balance of planning and execution by having short, medium and long term plans.
4. Business objective: The next question is - what business? There are a number of factors which will determine your business endeavour. (i) Your value proposition - you need some value which differentiates you from other people. If you are lacking skills, you either go get those skills, or you chose a vocation for which you don't require skills, like making and selling doughnuts. (ii) Your resources - you will need to know the resources which you can invest in the business. The amount of money and skills will be particularly important, as well as any inventory required. The problem of course can reduce to money, or your credibility in terms of being able to raise money. The easiest businessses to start are online publishing, writing, consulting, etc because you need only a computer. The problem with this of course is that this permits a lot of people to enter the business, making it more competitive. This of course means that it will take you longer to define your value proposition, to differentiate yourself from others. (iii) Your relationships are another important element of your capacity to business a business. We don't have to recreate the wheel by doing everything ourselves. It might make sense to either out-source, subcontract, employ or partner with another person. The decision will depend on your financial resources, as well as other consideration such as relationship skills, revenue sharing, responsibility, partner commitment, etc. This is a big topic.
5. Results: This is a task which many people consider a waste of time. They think they know how they are performing from achieving the sales. They don't want to engage in the 'non-productive' task of analysing their performance. One of the mistakes is to over-simplify what might be construed as results. There are of course many facets to the business which need to be analysed in order to generate data which can be quantified and analysed to provide an assessment of results.
6. Business development: Markets are always evolving. We always need to be improving our business, so its important that results generate ideas to improve results. There are many sources of inspiration. e.g. Customer feedback, customer applications of your product, your own conception of market trends, competitors, problems in product application, etc.
Andrew Sheldon

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