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7 Reasons Why This is the Right Time to Start Your Business

 Dr. Elaine Williams-Morgan

Dr. Elaine Williams-Morgan

 

If running your own business has been on your mind for a long time, and your great ideas are waking you up at nights, now is the best time to start your business. The possibility of taking charge of your time and your future is now greater than ever, given the advances in technology, convergence, globalization and social media.

Here are seven reasons why now is the best time to start your own business:

1.      User-friendly technology

Technology and open innovation have disrupted traditional approaches to business, driven down costs, increased access for people, businesses, and entrepreneurs across the globe. Web 2.0 and social media have transformed communication and business processes through an emphasis on collaboration, user-generated content, and networking. This growing connectedness and networking are driven by major developments in interactive media and the increasingly active role of consumers in creating content on behalf of brands. Technology facilitates easy access to everything entrepreneurs need for their start-up, including logo design, website creation, accounting services, stock management, coaching and consulting services. In addition, the cost of hardware has fallen significantly, making it easier than ever to access hardware such as smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. Collectively these developments have leveled the playing field for small businesses.

2.     Open markets for products and services

Technology advancements have given rise to the internet, which has ushered in a new era of open markets. Businesses now have access to suppliers, services, and customers from across the globe. The access to translation services makes it possible to communicate and do business with anyone, anywhere in the world, without learning the language. However, if you want to learn the language there is technology to help you do that too. Social media and Omni-channels facilitate targeted marketing of products, services, and anything that an entrepreneur has to offer. The rapid disappearance of traditional barriers and the emergence of wide open markets give entrepreneurs the opportunity to leverage their ecosystems, expand their customer base and operate on a global scale.

3.     Multiple sources of funding

Access to funding has always been one of the greatest problems for entrepreneurs seeking to start or advance their business. Access to capital was always reserved for those with influence, the wealthy and connected. Now entrepreneurs have access to multiple sources of funding, including:

  • Angel Investors - where individuals investors provide the funding for start-up.
  • Family and Friends – who use their savings and profits to provide start-up capital.
  • Small Business Loans – where government agencies provide subsidized loans for businesses at low-interest rates.
  • Small Business Grants – where government agencies provide grants for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Venture Capital - where investors provide the start-up funding for small businesses that show potential for long-term growth.
  • Crowd Funding – Where entrepreneurs raise small amounts of money from a large number of people using the internet. Popular crowdfunding platforms include:
    • Kickstarter – for people in the arts - authors, musicians, filmmakers
    • Somolend – debt-based investment funding for small businesses
    • Crowdfunder – which provides a combination of donation and investment funding for small businesses

4.     Increased support for entrepreneurs

There is increasing recognition, across the globe, that entrepreneurship and small businesses play an important role in economic growth. As such, there are improved regulations, and increasing support from governments and international agencies to help small businesses thrive. It is now easier than ever for entrepreneurs to register their businesses, to file their returns, and access funding. In addition, agencies such as the Small Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce provide significant support and mentorships for SMEs.

5.     Your job provides no guarantee for future employment

Technology has created many great opportunities and many new jobs, but technology has also disrupted the traditional job market putting many out of jobs and threatening many more. It is great to have a career but in an era of disruptive technologies, mergers, and takeovers, a job should not be your only strategy for generating income. Multiple sources of income are necessary for your multiple streams of bills and expenses. Starting your own business could provide the security you need, provide an additional income stream, and the path to true final independence.

6.     There is help all around

Whether you believe it or not, there is a lot of help available to help you to start, manage and grow your business. There are consultants for everything you need – management consultants, tax consultants, marketing consultants and many more. In addition, there are business mentors and coaches that you can hire to provide the guidance you need to increase your chances of success. There are also people in your life and your network who are potential mentors, and who will provide valuable guidance for your business, at no cost. In addition, there are many talented people who are looking for meaningful engagement who can help you with your start-up at reasonable rates, including retirees, students, and those looking for new opportunities.

7.     There are many potential partners

As an entrepreneur, sometimes it seems more efficient to go it alone because no one else has the passion for your venture. However, you do not have to go it alone. There are many like-minded entrepreneurs that are looking for partners. In the words of Dr. Duchess Harris, guest speaker at my recent graduation, “find your crew.” Find partners with integrity, and who are passionate, result oriented, and hard-working, because it takes more than one person to achieve true success. Never be a one woman or a one-man show!

Last Word

If you are reading this article, it means that you are halfway there, but it is not enough. Identify where you are now, where you want to be in the next six months and create a plan to get there. Overcome your fear of moving forward and take the first step. Stop being afraid of what may go wrong and focus on all the things that could go right. Consider the opportunity cost of not moving forward. Consider what you could gain from starting your business now.

Time is precious, and the time is right. In the words of Will Smith, “God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror; on the other side of your maximum fear are all of the best things in life.”  If you wait for the perfect time, you will wait forever. Make the Decision!  Start Your Business.

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Take Advantage of Global Trends in Growing Your Business

 Dr. Elaine Williams-Morgan

Dr. Elaine Williams-Morgan

Global trends are major developmental forces that have sustained impact on the global economy, businesses and individuals.  These trends may be societal, political, economic or environmental, and impact the way people perceive the world around them and their expectations from products and services. 

Global mega-trends redefine the future world for humankind.  Hence it is important for individuals and businesses alike to pay attention to these trends.  Several mega trends and potential scenarios are likely to emerge in the next decade and will provide the basis for forward thinking organizations to transform their businesses. Organizations can use these trends as the basis of their strategic planning, by assessing their impact on functional areas such as production, marketing, and customer relationship management and take action to gain competitive advantage from the environmental changes.

Global mega trends include urbanization, smart cities, the rise of Generation Y and increased connectivity and convergence

     Urbanization

Urbanization will lead to the expansion of city limits as populations migrate from rural communities to city centers around the world.  This development will have implication for business and government services.

     Smart Cities

Smart cities will emerge as the global emphasis shift from “green” which dominated global business conversations to ‘smart’.  Smart technology will influence the construction of buildings, energy generation and utilities.

     Connectivity and Convergence

The rapid increase in internet users will result in the growth of users to over 5 billion by 2020, with more than half that number accessing the internet using handheld devices.  Connectivity will be a major feature of daily life, connecting home, school, work and environment into a seamless connected life.  Connected living will become a major part of life of the future.

     Online retailing

Online retailing will become the normal way for the retail industry of the future, with more and more of global commerce taking place online.  Virtual stores and virtual hypermarkets will emerge as the ‘click and collect’ retailing models expand globally.  Online retailing will expand to sectors such as the automobile industry, which will begin selling motor cars online through virtual showrooms.

      Social Trends

Major changes in social trends will include the rise, and dominance of Generation Y which will influence changes in product development, marketing strategy and technology.  Generation Y  provides a huge opportunity for innovative companies as they are willing to experiment with new technology, and are adaptive.  

      Smart Energy

Several related industries will converge with the energy industry for the development of multiple environmentally friendly options for consumers.  These will include the smart grid, energy internet, and solar power satellites from space, deep sea drilling, and an increase in energy storage technology.

      Value for Many Business Model

The combination of an increasing global middle class and a more connected global community provide greater access to businesses and entrepreneurs to expand their customer base.  Businesses have an increased opportunity for growth as they gain economies of scale from the possibility of selling goods and services to customers across the globe using the internet platform.

While trends impact us all, the impact is different for individuals and businesses depending on their location in the world.  It is, therefore critical for organizations and entrepreneurs to pay attention to these trends in developing future strategy, business plans, and technology implementation.   

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Develop Core Competencies | Focus on What You are Good At

 Dr. Elaine Williams-Morgan

Dr. Elaine Williams-Morgan

To gain competitive advantage, Entrepreneurs, and businesses should focus on developing their core competencies.  Figure what you are good at and focus! There is a danger in trying to do much - In trying to be all things to all men.

Core competencies are the harmonized combination of a company’s technical capabilities, intellectual capital, knowledge management and other resources. They distinguish the company from others in the industry, and allow it to be competitive in the market. Firms should effectively define competencies by identifying

·         unique human resources

·         material resources

·         coordination capacity

·         managerial skills

These resources should be combined with information technology (IT) to drive innovation and create a competitive advantage.  Innovation opportunities should be created by  focusing on a few core competencies. To effectively identify and define core competencies, it is recommended that firms pursue a coherent capabilities-driven strategy involving the following steps:

1.      Determine what you are good at

2.      Select three (3) - six (6)  mutually reinforcing capabilities, and develop them

3.      Align these capabilities with the company’s strategy  

4.      Align capabilities system with the right opportunities in the market

5.      Create value for customers

6.      Improve customer service through constant monitoring and feedback

Know what you are good at!  -   Focus on what you are good at!

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10 Steps to Starting Your Business

 YourBusiness Begins on the First Step

YourBusiness Begins on the First Step

1.       Write Down Your Business Idea

Your business idea can be written in a sentence, a paragraph or a page. Own it!  Begin by writing it down!

2.       Write Your Business Plan

Once you have written down your business idea, it is time to write your business plan.  The business plan details your value proposition to customers.  It is your blueprint for what your business will do and how it will be done.  If you do not know how to write a business plan, get help from a professional.

3.       Determine How You Will Finance Your Business

Will your business be financed from personal funds and savings, loans, venture capital, grants, or a combination of these.  When you determine your financing method, take step to secure the funding.

4.       Decide on Your Business Structure

Will it be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a limited liability company.  Take time to understand the different forms of businesses and select the one that is most suitable for the kind of business you intend to run.

5.       Decide on The Location of Your Business

If your business will be online, you need to create a website where your value proposition can be offered, otherwise you should identify a location suitable for the kind of business you will do. 

6.       Register Your Business

Register your business with the Registrar of Companies in your locale.

7.       Register Your Business With the Tax Department

Registering with the Inland Revenue department will provide you with the Tax registration number and permits required to establish your business as a legal entity.

8.       Set Up Office

Set up your office and create your website if your business is on location.  Develop your website if your business is online.

9.       Identify Help

Determine your staff requirement, identify and employ suitable staff for your business.  Alternatively, you can begin with help from family and friends and add staff as your business grows.

10.    Begin Your Value Creating Activities

When steps 1 – 9 are completed, it is time to take action to create the product and services for your target market.

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10 Reasons To Start Your Own Business

 Thin Out of the Box! Start  | YourBusiness

Thin Out of the Box! Start  | YourBusiness

1.       You have a great idea that you have been sitting on for years

You are an innovator, a thinker, a creator; then it’s time to get up, put your ideas on paper, and begin the steps to bring your idea to life.  Start your business!

2.       You have skill, talents, and experience that you are not using

You have spent years training and preparing.  You have unmatched experience in your field. Put your training and experience to work in  your own business.

3.       You have a passion that is not being pursued

Do you harbor a passion for something that you would really like to do, if you had all the time and all the money in life?  You will never have all the time or all the money you need, but you have the chance to pursue your passion by starting your own business.

4.       You are worth far more than your current job is paying you

Do you feel overworked and underpaid in your current job, but know that you can do better than you are doing now?  Then it may be time to be overworked, but paid what you are worth.  Getting into the right business at the right time may be just right for you. Start your business and pay yourself.  Before long you will pay others.

5.       You have a chance to achieve financial independence

Are you constantly broke and unable to meet many of your basic financial obligations?  Owning Your Business could change your situation and help you gain financial independence.

6.       You long for better use and control of your time

Do you feel trapped by your 9 - 5 schedule?   Owning your own business could change that.  Owning Your Business doesn’t mean you work less, it removes your 9 – 5 trap, and frees you to work on a schedule that works for you.   

7.       The chance to never be laid off again

Were you laid off from your job and still searching for another job?  It may be time to start your business and end your job search.  Starting your own business could protect you from ever being laid off again.

8.       The opportunity to break free from unfulfillment

Is your job or career making you sad, depressed or unfulfilled?  It may be time to break free from your and unleash your creativity. Starting your business would allow you to pursue your passion, and achieve personal and professional fulfillment..

9.       You get to keep the wealth you create

When you are employed, every hour of every day, every day of every week and every month of every year that you work, you use your time, your energy and your skills to create wealth for others.  Where does your wealth go?  And for what price?  Creating your business could change all of that.  When you own your business, the wealth you create is your own.

10.   You do not have enough money to start

If you do not have enough money to start a business, it may be time to start your business.  History is dotted with the stories of many great entrepreneurs and businesses moguls that started when there was not enough money to start the business.  If you do not have enough money it may be time to start your business. Start online, in your home, in your garage.  Take the leap!  Start your business.  Then share with us and inspire others.

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