All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions
For many entrepreneurs, starting a business is a solo affair. They’ve decided to leave their corporate job and chase their idea and dreams.
Initially this may work, after all entrepreneurs are famously self-reliant, but if you intend on growing your business, things can’t stay this way.
A case in point
Take Rozlyn Stanton of Cost Concepts. She worked a corporate job until she decided to use her skills as a researcher to help businesses cut costs – a great idea.
The trouble is, she got herself into a corner by having everything she knows in her head. “I eventually applied to the Microsoft Women Entrepreneur Development Programme because I couldn’t figure out how to grow my business without spreading myself thinner and thinner.
All my systems were in my head.” Stanton was able to learn key concepts for to break through the growth ceiling that had handicapped her business and see it develop sustainably and effectively.
Here are some basic commands to simplify the process of starting and operating business on your own:
- ACT: Always have a bias toward action. If you spend too long planning and mulling over the details in the planning stage, you’ll never get out the door and make it happen. Stanton agrees, saying “If I had done more research I wouldn’t have got myself into this situation. Having said that, if I had done more research, I would have talked myself out of it completely!”
- CREATE WORK: If you’re leaving corporate you have to understand that a lot of the systems were seamless and invisible, work appeared when it needed to be done. When you’re starting your own business, you’re the only one that can make things happen. This means being aware of the whole process of your business, from start to finish.
- NOTHING’S PERFECT: It’s impossible to reach perfection before launching your product or service. This means if you’re hanging around for perfection you’ll never get started. Get your product or service acceptable and then work like hell to polish once it’s launched and you have critical feedback.
- SYSTEMATISE: If everything’s in your head you can’t pass the baton when your specialist business a) is ready to expand, or b) you’re ready to sell up. To start systematizing and getting stuff out of your head, spend a week writing down all your tasks and how you go about completing them. Do this at the end of the month, at the end of each quarter, mid-year and year-end. By the end of a year you should have all your process in hand and ready for someone to take the reins or begin training.
- REFLECT: If you’re not careful you can find yourself either side of the spectrum of either not spending enough time strategising because you’re buried in operations, or spending too much time in the field because paper-work is just not cool. If a task doesn’t play to your strengths, figure out if there’s a low-cost option for outsourcing.
Contact Roslyn Stanton on +27 (0)83 578 7147 or visit her website www.costconcepts.co.za