Steps to become entrepreneur
It has been said that today’s environment has become much easier to become an entrepreneur yet many of us are still stuck with the day-time job. Thus, I am writing this article, Steps To Become Entrepreneur hoping it will inspire more people to switch from employee to employer.
Apparently, it is the inflation in housing, food and transportation that deter many of us from making the persistent steps to fulfill our dreams.
I devoted my time to write this article from my experiences hoping to convince more people to become entrepreneurs. I believe the time has come for us to migrate from a salaried job to creating your own income as industrialization is almost reaching its end (the world no longer needs so many workers anymore) and we are already into information age. Though many people have written many books or articles to encourage the readers to become their own bosses but often times I noticed it was not easy to convert as the path had always been tough for many of us.
Without spending too much of your time, I will share my experiences that getting these various steps done is vital prior to getting yourself out of job.
Steps to become entrepreneur
Step 1: Mindset
It is so important to tune your mindset to mentally prepare yourself with the day that you no longer rely on a day-day job. You need to tell yourself to dream of the day where you will be able to fulfill your dreams, and you will no longer worry about monthly expenses to feed your family. Also, it is important to ask yourself, why become an entrepreneur? You must be convinced that this is the direction moving forward else you may give up easily when things don’t go your way.
This step is so important that I can’t stress enough as it will drive you to fulfill your passion and also people surrounding you will realize that you are very determined and focus in making it happened. If your mental is not strong enough then you may be easily swayed when things don’t go your way.
Step 2: What is your mission?
This is also another important step as I was thought that in order to sustain your business, one needs to know what is the real purpose of setting this particular business. I have spoken to many people where they told me that they set up the business for the purpose of making money. If your purpose is purely for making money then I will say to you that your business may not last long as you have built your business from money-making mentality. When the market turns against you and you find that your business is no longer giving you a decent profitability margin. You may likely either shut it down or sell it to a buyer ASAP. Being an entrepreneur has heavy responsibilities where you need to take care of the business but also be responsible for your employees.
If you set up the company for the purpose of improving the workflow in a particular environment or for the community then you will likely persist despite whatever happens. Take for example, Steve Jobs, he has a strong passion for making this world a better place via his technology from Apple Macintosh to iPad, iPhone. In fact, Steve Jobs asked for US$1 for his annual salary when he returned to Apple. He wanted to fulfill his dream first then monetary gains will follow.
In my case, I set up haircut chain stores for the purpose of helping elderly and needy people where I will get my key staff to provide free elderly haircut on a quarterly basis so that we know that is the mission for our business. Regardless of the market situation, we will do our best to provide this service to our local community as we know these elderly and needy people are waiting for us. We will go through difficult times, but we will not forget what is our mission for setting up this business.
Step 3: Leadership
Becoming an entrepreneur cannot go without a leader. Often times many C-level people who held the positions, yet they DO NOT practice what a leader should do. It was not surprising that many companies were undergoing costs cutting for the purpose of improving their overall profitability or EBITA so that they can continue to sit in their comfortable high-paying job. Every board meeting, you will notice that the C-level executives present promising or encouraging numbers, if possible to the shareholders so that both the shareholders will get consistent dividends, and C-level executives will enjoy hefty bonuses. However, the problem lies with the middle management and fellow workers. Year by year, large corporations will have to shrink a number of employees in order to keep the company afloat, but the remuneration packages for the Top management remain to be intact or worst still, C-level executives will demand higher remuneration packages despite the lacklustre market environment. Clearly, there is a problem in this area where the workers will eventually be discouraged, and they no longer have the commitment to think for the company since the C-level executives are only thinking for themselves.
Lead by example
The good qualities of an entrepreneur should possess skills like leading by example and it is sad that quite a number top management are not practicing what they preached. I strongly encourage those who aspire to be an entrepreneur should strive to remind yourself that you need to set an example for others to see so that they will respect you in what you do and say. Not only that, having a strong sense of integrity, ethics will help to gain the respect of the employees. Knowing that they are working for a leader who will not waiver given his/her leadership skills with core values as the backbone.
Take for example, I had a team of colleagues who told me to go back to my home country and don’t work in a foreign place like Hong Kong. They added by saying that Hong Kong was a very competitive place with so many competitors and price competition is extremely fierce thus it will be difficult to sell products and services to potential corporate clients. Within 2 months, I made several cold calls and proposals to respective clients. I managed to close the deals and demonstrated to my colleagues that it can be done, and it is possible. I still remember that day when I display the contracts to my colleagues, there was a moment of silence, and they were fully aware that deep down inside their heart – they are convinced. I led by example via my own actions to close the deals myself in order to convince my colleagues it can be done.
2. Problem solver
I want to share this last portion where I believe the days of smaller guys potentially replacing the big corporations are becoming closer and closer. When I was working in a telecommunications company, I noticed that my ex-employer was firing people, especially at the working level like field staff or engineers in the field. It was not a surprise that this particular company no longer had the ability to carry out its own core duties like laying of cables, knowing exactly what happened to the outages. Instead, they were relying on their contractors to do this part. Staff costs have become too expensive and the top management of these companies will continue to find ways to either reduce or maintain staff costs so expect more retrenchment in the coming years.
Obviously maintenance, R&D, staff costs and other expenses will continue to face downward trend, especially if the top line revenue is not forthcoming. Resulting in a higher occurrence of outages and eventually employees of those companies will realize it loses its focus on main core business rather they merely focus on improving EBITA which is just numbers game.
Having said all these, I want to encourage the readers that there is an opportunity for us as the large companies can no longer sustain in giving good customer service due to continually slashing of Manpower. Those who have the boldness and ability to gather a team will view whether there is a viable business to replace them in doing a better job than some of these large corporations.
An example to be a good problem solver. There was an incident of my clients complaining they were not getting a good deal from being a consumer as compared to a corporate client. Back few years ago when I was working as an employee in a telecom, Consumer and Corporate department are functioning separately. As a result, corporate clients are typically getting slightly better deals when they purchase mobile devices as compared to individuals due to volume discounts, and also we focus on getting other revenue from the corporate clients besides mobile. In order to reach out to the consumers or individuals, I told my team and marketing to craft a deal to incorporate a scheme that can accommodate both corporate and extend to his/her family members. I still remember the day we launched this scheme we received an overwhelming response from around 7,000 new individuals within the 3 month period.
As I have shared some of the qualities that make a good leader or qualities of a successful entrepreneur. One should not underestimate the pressures that you face when the crunch comes but at the end of it all, the fruits of the labour will be sweet as no one will ever take the credit away from you. No longer, you will report to mediocre supervisor and ability to pass your business to next generation if you are able to sustain it.
Step 4: Sufficient cash flow
I still remember when I started my haircut business, I thought I have set aside cash to do renovation, deposit to pay for the renovation, purchase types of equipment. However, I was too optimistic, and I failed to realize that the money I set aside wasn’t enough…..
I assumed that the shop will be able to generate a certain amount of revenue given the footprint from the respective shopping mall which is able to give me a decent revenue. I was too confident and refusal to listen to my coach or anyone. I suffered losses the day my shop opened, and I had to foot out around US$10k per month just to pay for rental and salaries to my employees.
It was a painful 6 months as I continue to suffer losses and my advice to the readers that should you plan to budget the business. You need to set aside at least 6 months of operating expenses besides the other expenses which I mentioned earlier. Clearly, it was an oversight from my end and I almost wanted to pull out from the business as I could no longer suffer any more losses.
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