Business Self Assessment
Self Assessment - are you ready to start a business?
Hopefully, you have just finished reading the
'Do you really want to start a business, or do you just want
to make some money?' and you have decided
that you would indeed like to start a business.
Ok then, the next big question is: 'Are
you actually ready to start a business?'
Whilst it's probably true that you may never
actually be completely 'ready' as such, and if you wait for that day
you may just never do it. there are some things that will make the
whole affair easier and more likely to succeed.
If you have made the decision that a
business is really what you want, then here is a list of things you
might like to consider doing something about before you start:
- Do you know your own strengths and weaknesses?
You should know what you are good at, and
focus on it. That's not to say you can
afford not to be across other areas of the
business, they are all important. Just don't
get bogged down in it. You can make
your identified weaknesses manageable
through outsourcing or additional staff.
- Do you need training?
None of us start out with all the skills we
need to run a successful business, but
thankfully of not many of those that have
succeeded, knew more than you do right now
before they started. Difference is they
learnt....you get the picture?
- Have you found an appropriate mentor?
Someone who can offer you sage-like advice,
or just bounce ideas off is particularly
useful. Just remember it should be someone
who can 'guide' you, not some self
- Have you thought about an exit strategy?
might sound crazy, but its one of the
saddest outcomes for a small business owner
to find themselves stuck in a business they
can't sell...or leave.
that I recommend on the subject of getting yourself
Systems, Espionage, Knowledge, Intelligence & Information
- How long will your business
survive if you aren't there?
- Gathering Market Intelligence,
can you put in place to make sure you are monitoring your own market
place, and get input from other sectors? how are you going
to know that there is a new tender with your
businesses name all over it?
- Who are your competitors? (yes, you have
competitors, even if it's the consumers
choice not to buy whatever your 'it has no
competition' product is, how are you going
to stay aware of what they are doing?
- Who are your potential collaborators? or
partners? an often under-explored
avenue of many businesses, how many other
businesses are already talking to your
customers and selling them something that is
related to your product? can you give them
an incentive to promote/cross sell yours
- Do you have a business plan?
it doesn't need to be complex, it
just needs to contain information on the
things are going to guide you to what you
want to achieve.
- What's Your business model going to be?
not talking about Jennifer Hawkins
unfortunately, how is your business going to
work? retailer, wholesaler, distributor,
service provider, consultancy, lots to
choose from, but which one?
- What's your businesses organisational structure?
it's important to map out who is
responsible for each part of the business,
if you read the
E-Myth by Michael Gerber,
you will see why its important to have an
organisational structure even its still only
- Have you developed a Marketing system?
with at least 5 ways to promote your business?
direct marketing, affiliate programs,
referrals, pay per click & search engine
optimisation, business directories, PR &
- How are you going to measure the
performance of your business?
'Metrics' is the buzzword, but its a really
wonderful thing if a business can have the
type of systems that can accurately measure
the performance of an advertising campaign
by both the direct profit return and
customer life value.
Finances, Accounts and Tax
- Have you set up a Business Transaction Account?
at a minimum you'll need a separate
account to conduct your business with. You
may also consider having a GST account (to
park the amount collected), a high interest
savings account (to park excess funds or
capital), and maybe checkout a merchant
facility and payment gateway if you are
planning on web site transactions.
- Do you have a Cash flow management
facility? - depending on the nature
of your business you may need to manage your
cash flow with an overdraft or credit card.
This will depend on the terms you have
negotiated with suppliers and the length of
time from your cost outlay to when the
customer makes payment.
- Have you got a good Book keeper
and/or Accountant? these guys are
amongst your closet partners in business, or
least they help keep you out of gaol for tax
evasion...unless you're a guru in this area
I highly recommend finding a competent and
- How's your credit rating?
When you want to arrange finance for the
expansion of a business you're going to need
some capital. You can use your own funds,
but it's more likely going to involve a
bank, finance company or investors. All of
these are going to be looking for value,
opportunity, return and risk mitigation. Honestly, would you
lend money to you?
Family & Relationships
- How do you get them on board?
Your family can be your best ally in
business, but more often than not, they can
be detractors or worse...not sure there is
much you can do about it, but be aware that
it might happen and try to stay in a
positive frame of mind. Remember actions and
results will dissolve a lot of fears.
- Make sure that the business
doesn't run you, the business will
end up the boss of you, if you let it, do
you really need to be doing that right now,
- Make the most of 'family time'
and be 'present' I
don't want to give family or relationship
advice here, but if your business is taking
up lots of your time, at very least be
present when you are with your family,
partner, or whatever....by that I mean focus
on them. Make sure it is quality time.