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Old 28th November 2006, 05:17 AM   #1
Crimson Fox
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Default People Want To Start A Business But Don't Know Where To Start

I have to say I'm starting to get a little worried.

I'm worried about some of the posts I've been reading concerning business start ups.

I've been reading a lot lately that people want to start a business but don't know where to start. They don't know what sort of business to begin or even what industry. The don't have any experience, but they definitely have a desire to 'start a business of their own'.

What's worrying me about this sort of post is that a business is hard enough to start up when you have years of experience in an industry you love and the necessary skills to accomplish the task. So how can people hope to succeed by simply jumping with both feet without even really knowing the ins and outs of the field you want to join.

Many people replying to these posts recommend research. Which is makes sense of course. but I don't think these start-ups quite realise the in-depth amount of research required. It's not like writing a paper on the subject. It's about the small, practical day to day jobs that need doing to make each business work.

Firstly, it is recommended that you do something you're interested in. Well that's fine in theory but there is far more to running a business than all those fun parts everyone dreams about. At the very least I'd advise that you do some sort of work experience in the field that interests you, to find out if your vision of the industry is really what you believe it to be. The dream job very rarely lives up to you dream of it. Personally, I think you need at least a few months of this experience to really make a judgement. Now this is just to know if the industry you thought is the industry you want to work in.

Secondly, what is it that makes these businesses in these industries successful? You need to see the parts all working together before you can design the structure of your own business. It's preferable if you get a chance to work in each of these positions to see if you can do the job and what it takes to make these roles work.

That includes:
  • Management
  • Accounts
  • Dealing with customers/clients
  • Sales (finding new clients, advertising included)
  • Technician (day to day work, differs on your industry)
and those are just the basic roles, there are many more depending on your particular industry.

You need to know these roles inside and out because when you start-up you are going to have to do a lot these jobs yourself or be able to very quickly find the right people for these positions (a tough job in itself).

Now all these things need to be considered before you even know if you are going to like the business you are about to get involved with…

…and if you don't love (or at least enjoy) the business you're NEVER going to great at it.

So, the point I want to make with this post is it's fine to have aspirations of owning your own business, but, don't just jump into the idea of starting your own business without even looking at the what's involved. Before you start writing a business plan, before you you even think of starting a business in what ever industry, make sure the industry is right for you. Don't just think it is.

There is far more I could discuss on this topic, but I better get back to work. let me leave you on one last point.

Research can take years. Don't take it lightly.
Take the time and make sure the business is right for you.

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Old 28th November 2006, 10:48 AM   #2
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Good post, and I think all of your points are fair to say. The advise I typically provide to others include the following themes -

1) Do something you have experience with
2) Do something you are interested in
3) Start small

Based on my experiences and working with others who have started a business, these three factors are very important when it comes to if a business will be successful. Of course, even with the above creating a successful business is not easy and does have risks. The rewards can be great on the flipside though.

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Old 28th November 2006, 12:16 PM   #3
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Excellent post, Crimson Fox -- and even though you're kinda challenging some of the advice given out in the forum, I think actually what you're saying is not at all in opposition to what others say here. It is a huge step that requires a lot of planning and forethought and shouldn't be taken lightly....

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Old 28th November 2006, 01:09 PM   #4
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When I started my business in 1997, I had been working in a warehouse for the past 11 years. I was so tired of working for the man and being in a profession that was so unrewarding (besides receiving a paycheck).

I wanted to start some kind of business but did not know what. I had a lot of ambition and good work ethic but no skills. I ended up attending a seminar on the Internet and signed up as an affiliate to sell classified ads. That of course never took off but I took the extra step of becoming an affiliate to sell web sites of which a design company would actually design the sites. I'd earn 35% of the total sales for each site I delivered to them. That worked well for awhile until the web design company focused more on signing up affiliates at conferences than actually designing sites.

Our relationship ended when the company fired their MIS Director and the newly appointed one, fearing the old one would hack into their servers, pulled the plug on the DNS server and in the process fried it. Their sites were down for 2 weeks. Fortunately I had copies of the 6 client sites we had at that time. I quickly moved them to another host, learned how to design myself and went on my own.

I always combined search marketing with design services which eventually thrust us into the search marketing industry full time right around 1999. The rest is history.

So, people can start their own business with little to no experience as well as not being sure what they want to do. I think beyond experience and a specific plan, if a person is really going to succeed, they have to be first of all a very hard worker and secondly, be ambitious. With these two qualities in place, experience and specific business plan can evolve. They did with me.

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Old 28th November 2006, 03:13 PM   #5
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Hey David,
It looks like you took two years of to and fro before you finally hit a nail on the head and perhaps that's all the experience you need especially given the circumstances you found yourself in. There was an opportunity there to take.

I'm more worried about the poster who says. I have a website…what now, or I have start-up capital…what next. I like fluffy bunny rabbits…what's a business I can start revolving around those.

My advice first up would be take a cold shower and a step back, look at the big picture before creating yourself a job you don't even know if you'll like. 2 years could be plenty of experience in an industry for the right person. But make sure the business you create is something you still want to be doing 5 or 10 years later. Perhaps you are lucky and someone wants to buy the business from you. But if you don't enjoy what you are doing yourself, chances are that the business won't be worth enough for people to consider.

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Old 29th November 2006, 09:38 PM   #6
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Great Post Crimson Fox
Quote:
What's worrying me about this sort of post is that a business is hard enough to start up when you have years of experience in an industry you love and the necessary skills to accomplish the task. So how can people hope to succeed by simply jumping with both feet without even really knowing the ins and outs of the field you want to join.
Its easy to say just go and get a job in the field you want to be in to get experience, but in reality its not that easy for a lot of industries to get a start without experience in the first place.
Quote:
Which is makes sense of course. but I don't think these start-ups quite realise the in-depth amount of research required.
I totally agree with this but i also think that they simply dont know what to research and if if they do they will probably not understand it until they are actually running a business.

All in all Crimson fox I believe that if anyone who owns a business can honestly say that they new eveything about starting, running and making a business successful before they went and started it are big fat liars. I personally knew nothing when I started my business, and there are still huge amounts of stuff I dont know, I am still learning many things along with what I believe nearly every other business owner is still doing (learning)

As far as the guy's who post "what business to start" etc I think most of the time that is their first crack at your recommendations which is "research". All we can do Is try and help them make a better decision..

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Old 29th November 2006, 10:12 PM   #7
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I'd be interested to hear what industry you are in, This magical fairy land industry where you were able to start a business without knowing anything about the field you were about to enter.

Sorry about the sarcasm.

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Old 30th November 2006, 04:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Posted by Crimson Fox
Sorry about the sarcasm.
No need to apologise, Im used to sarcasm, Im married

Quote:
I personally knew nothing
Mate, 6 years ago other than being able to draw up a couple of basic business cards for my friends and family, I knew jack about running a business, I didnt even know how to invoice a customer. (come to think of it I didnt even know what an invoice was). I had no sales experience, nothing! Zilcho!

All Im saying is I agree with what you say about research, but not all of us (in fact I would dare to say very few of us) have or had the pleasure of going into business knowing everything thing there is to know about running a successful business. So for all the people reading this thread who are thinking of starting a business, Yes learn as much as you can before starting but remember you will probably never know everything, learning while running your business is very normal in fact I think you will probably learn a lot faster.

As far as researching about the industry you are in, the amount of research needed before starting varies from industry to industry, for example those who are about to embark on starting a nuclear power plant obviously need to do more research than those who are about to start a lawn mowing business.

For someone who is starting the power plant take Crimson Fox's advice and make sure you know everything there is to know about the industry (please), Yet for those starting the lawn mowing business take my word for it You do not need to find a job in the industry, work in it for two years while you work your way up the ladder to become hedge trimming manager as Crimson Fox would have you do hehehe.

CF I really dont want to be taken out of context but I am absolutely positive that you yourself do not know everything about running a business and I doubt there would be many business owners that could lay claim to the title of "He who knows all". That being said I am sure that there are many who can label themselves as "He who knows a lot but not all"

I'll send you out a catalogue of our magical fairy land products if you want to see what we do, you would probably be interested in our stuff (or maybe not now that ive made this post ) We send a lot of stuff to Melbourne. (hope thats not taken as spam)

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Old 30th November 2006, 07:19 AM   #9
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Nice one Jase,

Feel free to send out a catalogue. Always interested in what the fairies are up to.

As far as knowing everything that's certainly not what I've saying. Try to learn as much as possible is what I'm trying to point out. It's going to be far easier to try to become a leader in an industry if you know what you're doing and what that industry requires.

Now the business side of things is something most people are going to have to learn alot of as they're going along simply because, it's not going to be possible for everyone to get the opportunity to be a CEO for someone elses company before they start their own.

My expertise are in design. I've been doing that over 10 years. The business side is something I'm learning. But because of my experience in the design industry I know what constitutes good design, I know what makes a good designer, I know what is takes to get a campaign from concept to creation, so that frees up my time so that I can concentrate on the business side accounting, management, etc etc.

Now if I didn't have the background that I do. I'd be having to learn not only the business side but the practical side of my industry too. I wouldn't be able to judge the performance of a new employee. I wouldn't be able to know if my company's work was up to industry standard. Let alone what to charge.

As for starting a lawn mowing business. If you don't know how to fix and maintain the mowers you're likely to pay too much for your mower repairs and maintenance. If you don't know what the other 'Lawn Mower Men' are charging, how will you be competitive? If you don't know all about lawn, how will you be able to gain more money from each job by providing grounds keeping facilities? You may even find after a year of mowing lawns that you hate mowing lawns, what then?

Perhaps it won't take you years to learn these things…and yes you're right ever business is different. but there are still questions to be answered here before setting up and becoming the next 'Jims Mowing Franchise'.

Mind you if you are happy to start small, boot strap the business and as long as your family isn't completely reliant on the income. Feel free to learn the business as you go. But…and this is the reason I began this thread in the first place…I saw someone post that they had saved up the $50k they need to start-up their new business. Then they asked what business people thought they should start. It seemed to me like a lot of money to throw into something that you are not sure if you will even enjoy in a couple of years down the track.

Again, I'm not trying to discourage anyone from taking the plunge. I just urge anyone thinking of throwing themselves into a new business, to look at the business from all angles before you decide that the business is right for you.

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Old 30th November 2006, 05:17 PM   #10
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But…and this is the reason I began this thread in the first place…I saw someone post that they had saved up the $50k they need to start-up their new business. Then they asked what business people thought they should start.
And I think by posting these sort of questions is their first step in doing what you say to do, "research", I havent read the post you speak of but Im sure the person had no intention of just dumping 50g into something without even thinking. I think 95% of the population are a little smarter than that. Everyone needs to ask that first question somewhere. Im sure most of us at some stage have asked someone a question which seem too basic to the other person.

Like I keep saying I agree with most of what you are saying, but I also worry that people will be putting off starting up because they feel they think they need to know everything before starting, which in most cases is impossible. Or I also worry that the people will become too afraid to ask questions like this because they will be judged, and then go and make a bad decision.

PS
Quote:
As for starting a lawn mowing business. If you don't know how to fix and maintain the mowers you're likely to pay too much for your mower repairs and maintenance.
Or you could just keep concentrating on mowing lawns while you get a professional to fix it faster and better. After all if you could fix lawn mowers why not start a lawn mower mechanic shop

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