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Sierra Leone Business: WISDOM FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

Are you considering going into business? Or are you in one already? Here are a few tips that have helped me. They are ashes from the crucibles of my experience, they will assist your journey. Some of them may sound a bit rigid and some a bit loose, they are nonetheless what I have learnt in the priceless school of hard-knocks.
1. Register a company, this gives your company a history and allows you to have clear documentation for your transactions.
2. Choose partners carefully! A business partner decision is almost as delicate as getting a life partner. Check fundamentally for alignment of values. Skill or technical ability alone won’t cut it, your basis of future disagreement won’t be technical or skill driven, it will be value based.
3. Don’t be in a hurry to get an office. Work from home until your visiting clients start to complain. Getting an office
3. Relationships are critical. When you start business, you are really building a network of relationships and gaining experience. Everything you want in business will get to you through other human channels, consciously build relationships. Don’t worry about the levels, status or class of people that life throws at you, it’s not how high, it’s how well.
4. Keep your eyes on the numbers. Your business won’t live longer than you ability to balance 4 key elements. Your Income, Expenses, Assets and Liabilities. The size of the mouse defines the size of it’s nest. Don’t do more than your strength.
5. They say hire slowly and fire quickly, well I say hire very slowly and you are not likely to fire at all. Don’t create redundancy, hire only when the role is critical.
6. Go after knowledge! Empty bags don’t stand upright. Once you have decided to be an entrepreneur, you have really decided to prioritize you library over your wardrobe. Your wardrobe is also very important, but how you look will open the door, what you know will keep you inside. Invest in reading, in business readers are leaders.
7. It is better to have visibility online than a visible office. None of my big clients have ever come to my office to confirm it. For most of them, my address is my email address. The cost of a website is less than 10% of brick and mortar, don’t waste your capital.
8. Start small! No matter how rich you are when you want to start, start small! Starting small positions you to be able to restart if you fail. Earthquakes also happen in business, your ability to rebuild lies in not being discouraged by how small your enterprise has become. If you start big, you are more likely to lose steam in the days of adversity.
9. Prepare to fail! Failure was a bad word in school, not in the world of business. Business is about taking risks, about venturing with the possibility of failing, about managing your failures and giving wings to your successes. The attitude of an entrepreneur must demonstrate a different view of failure. Failing is a necessary bus stop on the journey to success. Usually the seed that becomes the mighty oak tree first dies before it grows!
10. Get guidance. It’s presumptuous to make a switch into business without guidance. No matter how much of a technical person you are in your field, business is a new field of it’s own. Surround yourself with mentors, look out for people ahead of you, learn from them. Submit to higher wisdom. Safety is found where there are plenty of sound advisers.
11. If you don’t have money, don’t lack sense. If a fool and his money soon get parted, then logically a wise man should soon be reconnected to his stash of cash. The origin of money is barter, always think, “what, apart from money can I exchange for this?”. A courier company batters newspaper delivery for regular adverts about their service. An events center offers free events to crowd pullers. Find a back you can scratch in exchange for yours. Money is not everything!
John F Fowler is a business consultant, entrepreneur and youth entrepreneurship development trainer. He has produced books on various SME business start-ups. For business advice contact him on info@startabusiness.com.ng , www.startabusiness.com.ng, whatsapp +234 802 325 4577.
Monday September 18, 2017.

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