Starting up your own business and most of all seeing it grow can be a very exciting thing. It is time to move from a start up to a grown up mode. The big question for the first 300 days is mainly how your business will survive. After having found your original idea following your great feeling, having it translated into an ambitious Business Plan, the time has come to take care of the operational and administrative tasks. At the beginning you will have difficulties such; winning your first customers, set up your team, manage new relationships and contracts, and meet your funding needs.
Success or failure will depend a lot on how you manage the ‘hard aspects’ that thread together cohesively to shape your startup’s first 300 days of operation. Therefore if you are an entrepreneur out there, it is time to move from start to grown up mode. In two to three years, do you want to look back at your startup phase as an important part of your business? Do you want to say; “ I remember when I used to sit on the floor packing all boxes myself, now I extend services and employ many people.”, the following are some of the things you should have in your mind and put into practice in the first 300 days of your business;
- Planning for your financing needs.It is of very great importance to have enough funds that will run your business for the next 300 days before generating your sales, but before you seek financial assistance, you should thoroughly assess your current financial situation. Ask yourself the following questions to determine your business’ financing needs: Do you need more capital or can you manage the existing cash flow? If you are having trouble paying your obligations on time, you may need an infusion of working capital. What is the nature of your need? After having the above in mind, then you can begin looking for funds from friends, family or even a bank loan. It is very important to note that planning and budgeting is very vital.
- Understanding the market environment.Every business that aims at efficiency and effectiveness must follow a” go to market approach. Understanding the market environment helps you the entrepreneur to foresee possible occurrences that can influence your objectives and then formulate effective strategies that can turn the threats to opportunities. The market environment is mainly in two types that is; the external en internal environment, but mainly an entrepreneur should concentrate on the external environment which may include the following: competition, government policies, and physical natural forces (take an example of infrastructure whose availability or lack can facilitate or hinder production output) and social and cultural forces.
- Practicing honesty.This should be rule number one in everyone’s life. The more honest the world looks at you, the better your decisions will be. Consider incorporating similar principles about trust, loyalty, ethics and contribution in your value and then translate the words into action. When ever need arises,Follow the following steps;
- If you encounter a difficult business situation, say your options in light of your values.
- Analyze the consequences of the different actions you can take considering who will benefit and who will be hurt by each response.
- Weigh if your response is honest and fair.
- If you are confident that your response to the decision is consistent with your values and that your actions are honest, go ahead with your confidence
By knowing and remaining true to your honesty whenever you encounter an ethical challenge, you will have a strong foundation for your business upon which to build.
- imagining you are an outside investor.Meet yourself and listen to your own explanation of your business and its operations. Once again be honest. What do you think of your business? Is it of any value to the customers? With this put into practice then your business will be able to expand.
- Setting up your team.Effective management is an important element of business. Your customer will be looking for a strong managerial presence. Carefully build your core team; pick people with great skills in the two main areas that is; sales and relationship, and marketing. These will successfully launch your business. Looking for a leader who will stand up and say “I am responsible” when something is not working, should be considered greatly. It is also very important to consider your legal, tax and finance advisors.
- Practicing to say no.Most of the entrepreneurs I know cannot find enough time to do everything they want, and yet they find themselves saying yes to new requests. Perhaps they are optimistic by nature or they just hate disappointing others yet they end up losing their credibility and effectiveness by failing to deliver everything that they promise. This is not a proper way to run a business, instead, focus on a few things at a time which they can do so well thus saying no to the un effectiveness. The following are some of the humble ways to say no without damaging your business relationship:
- Establish boundaries and honor your customers for them to see.
- Ask for time to check you’re your timetable.
- Say yes to the person and no the task.
- Defer the decision to a better environment, and finally but not least,
- Make sure your words are non-defensive but clearly stated.
- Leveraging technology to your benefits.Technology affects the kind of product that an entrepreneur can offer, for example it has changed products like type writing machines into more proficient computer systems. You cannot stop the advancement of technology but you can learn to adopt to its changes.
Finally it is important to note that no business can be born without passion drive and commitment, but also no business can survive without following the numbers and making hard choices.
You never know what destination you will reach.
If you u think this is your calling, what is your excuse?
By Mackline Ampurira
Mackline recently joined BLEGSCOPE Team as an Intern and previously worked with the Ugandan Ministry of Health in conjunction with (USAID) Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Team as a Research Assistant. She has interest in Management and Human Resources. You can follow her on Twitter >>@mackampurira