The Dos and Don'ts of Starting a Business

Since this is the 100th post of this new site (after my old one crashed and burnt), I decide that it should be something informational. Topic of choice for this post? The Dos and Don'ts in starting own business.

Starting one is risky and there are a lot of variables that you have to look into. Time, money, risk and capital. As an entrepreneur, expect sleepless nights, long hours crunching numbers and a lot of travels by public transport as you venture out to talk to potential investors, pitch the ideas to potential customers and get the groundwork done. Do it right and it will pay off and make all your sleepless nights worth it.

Here's some Dos and Don'ts to guide you along, if you feel that I miss anything out or have a tip you feel is useful, feel free to add on by commenting below.

The Dos

  • Set a clear goal! As a business owner, your partner and you should have a clear vision of what you are doing and what is your end goal for the business. Determine whether or not your business idea is feasible before going into business. Developing a business plan which includes financial projections is essential in determining the feasibility of your business idea.
  • Choose your team wisely! You have the idea, you know how to execute it, now choose the right team mates to help you put this idea into motion. A good partner, a good staff and a good connection can help you determine success for the venture.
  • Look at everything objectively! Getting too emotionally attached/invested in the business and you will make foolish mistakes and decisions. Always look at your business objectively, See what works and what doesn't and tackle it accordingly. It is your baby but by not being objectively, your baby isn't going to grow.
  • Baby Steps! Many times an entrepreneur will be so excited about the idea that they will invest way too much at the beginning and will lose everything. Take baby steps, no one is going to rush you, this is your own business after all. Learn and grow accordingly as  your business grow and soon, you will be an expert in the field of choice. There are plenty of mentors around that you can always talk to, the business owners and CEOs of today are much more open to sharing about business compared to the 80s and early 90s.
  • Do have a good business plan! Yup, this is the major one, the important one, after you set a clear goal, you need to make sure that you put everything into paper. It is very important not to skip this step or rush through it. The time you spend planning before you open your business will pay off in the long run.
  • Be patient! You are not running a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes time to build up your business to a point when it will actually generate profits. Don't give up and don't set yourself up for failure by jumping the gun. Slow and steady wins the race.

The Don'ts

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! No man is an island, even if you are starting the business alone, you can accomplish a lot more when you ask for help. There's plenty of resources and experts out there that you can tap.
  • Don’t rely too much on textbook scenarios! There's plenty of books out there that gives you tips and lessons as well as case studies for you to refer on but that doesn't mean they provides everything you need to know. Getting it right in your own business/career can only be done through trial and errors as you move towards your goal.
  • Don't quit your job straight away! You might have a plan, you might want to dedicate your days and nights on your new venture, but until it gets moving, don't quit your day job just yet. At the end of the day, you need to have a career to fall back on if your venture didn't work out. If you are having trouble making ends meet personally, starting a business will likely make the situation worse. Remember, the new business owner is the last person to get paid and often does not get paid.
  • Don’t mix personal with business! Especially when you are a lone start-up, you might be taking out a chunk of your savings to get this business going but once it's moving along, you might make the mistake of mixing business and personal things together. Always set up a different system be it a bank account, phone number or even an email address. Don't Put all your eggs into one basket.
  • Don’t go into a business you don’t love! You have to be passionate about the business you want to step into as it will take up a lot of your time and energy. If you are doing it because of the money and nothing else, you will lose steam even before you get through the 1st hurdle. Be passionate about your business and people will see it. I've had people coming up to me and say that I always have a smile even when I'm working. I can only say that when you love what you do, you won't see it as work anymore.
  • Don’t undervalue all the obligations and regulations when it comes to registering your business in Malaysia! You will be surprised at how much paperwork are there to do, if you are not sure, ask. There are quite a number of company secretaries out in the market that is more than happy to work with you to register your company for you. These secretaries also can help you with information and tips that you never know you need. I have to Thank God that when I need them, these friends appears. I always turn to them and ask especially when I don't know. You don't have to feel stupid if you ask questions. This is your business, get it started right and you will reap the reward. 

Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people wont, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't. To reach the goal, you have to start somewhere. But don't forget to build a solid foundation, you will see strength in the business when the foundation is strong.

Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart. Good luck and looking forward to hearing about your success story.


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