Like every other meaningful venture in life preparation is key to success in business. Many good ideas have been aborted not because they were not viable but because the pioneers failed to make adequate preparations before starting out. To fail to plan is to plan to fail. Before starting a house, you need to lay a good foundation; the same way before starting a business you need to lay a good groundwork. This includes making research about the industry; making proper financial projections; developing a good business plan etc.
Consider your skills
Start with an examination of who you are and what skills, abilities and resources you have to start a business. Your skills, abilities and talents may be a pointer to the kind of business that you can do. For instance, you may be inclined to start a make-up business because you are good at doing make-up for people and you enjoy it. Ultimately, pray and ask God to lead you into the right business.
Do your research
Gather the facts about the type of business you want to start. Discover who your customers will be and approach some of them with the idea of starting your business. Find out from them what it is they will expect from your business. Discover who your competitors would be and find out how well they are doing in the type of business you want to start. Also, find out what legal obligations you will need to fulfill in business. Be careful to not make many assumptions. Confirm that your assumptions are valid. Ask God to lead you to the right people who have the right information that you need.
Plan financial investments
You need to know how much money will be needed to start the business and what your operating expenses would be. You need to also know how much of the money you would be able to contribute and how much you would gather from other sources. Research potential friends, family and financial institutions that can help finance your business. Try to foresee or envisage every stage of the business development and prepare for it. Develop a contingency so that you are prepared; pray that God will provide for your needs.
Set realistic goals
Set realistic goals for the number of sales you will make, the amount of income you will receive, and the overall development of the business. Be sure to take into account the risks of inflation, bad debt, competition and other risks.
Your objectives must be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Limited. Break these objectives down into specific tasks in order of their priority. Pray that God will give you a sober mind and will guide your steps.
Write a business plan
Write a business plan that covers the information you have discovered after the first five steps. Present your business plan to your family or friends for their advice and comment. When someone else helps to look at your document and share their perspective, they are objective and would more likely see things that you could not. Also, when they see your business plan, they can see your seriousness and would be more readily lend their support to your business. Have them pray with you and commit your plan to God so that He will lead you as you start your business. Do an evaluation of your written plans after a period of time and see whether or not you have accomplished your objectives. If not, consider where you failed; analyze your mistakes and see how you can do better. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22).
Common Causes of Business Failures
1. Insufficient Information about Self
2. Market Research
4. Lack of Clearly Defined Plan and Goals
5. Lack of Persistence
6. Not Doing Due Diligence
Adapted from Mrs Ibukun Awosika’s Biz His Way TV Programme