En­tre­pre­neur­ial stamina

Make sure you have what it takes to start a busi­ness

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - CAREERS - BAR­BARA BOWES

EN­TREPRENEUR­SHIP and in par­tic­u­lar small, owner-op­er­ated busi­nesses have al­ways been a driv­ing force in our econ­omy. Man­i­toba for in­stance, thrives on thou­sands of small busi­nesses, many of them fam­ily owned. Yet at the same time, en­trepreneur­ship seems to ebb and flow with the econ­omy. For in­stance, when job loss is high and job op­por­tu­ni­ties are seem­ingly limited, selfem­ploy­ment rises. This phe­nom­e­non has borne it­self out again with the re­cent an­nounce­ment that Canada’s econ­omy lost 55,000 jobs in March 2013, while the num­ber of self-em­ployed peo­ple in­creased by 39,000.

I rec­og­nize that many peo­ple who are sud­denly laid off have been dream­ing of start­ing their own busi­ness for quite some time. Per­haps the op­por­tu­nity to in­vest a sev­er­ance pack­age was just what they needed. Oth­ers of course, start up their busi­ness as a last re­sort af­ter a frus­trat­ing and lengthy job search and/or af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing gen­eral frus­tra­tion in their ca­reer.

Self-em­ploy­ment and/or en­trepreneur­ship cer­tainly weren’t on my mind when I started my con­sult­ing busi­ness many years ago. I was ter­ri­bly frus­trated in my ed­u­ca­tion ca­reer and later while con­sult­ing with large, national ser­vice firms, I felt I didn’t have con­trol over my ca­reer. I, too, turned to self-em­ploy­ment in or­der to find job sat­is­fac­tion.

Be­ing a small busi­ness owner is very sat­is­fy­ing and re­ward­ing. It’s mul­ti­fac­eted, fast paced and chal­leng­ing. You meet hun­dreds of peo­ple, work on a mul­ti­tude of dif­fer­ent projects and have an op­por­tu­nity to de­velop a very broad spec­trum of friends, ac­quain­tances and, of course, cus­tomers.

How­ever, start­ing a new busi­ness in to­day’s global econ­omy is in­deed chal­leng­ing. Af­ter all, the fi­nan­cial mar­kets are still fluc­tu­at­ing, some in­dus­try sec­tors are scram­bling for tal­ented staff, money is tight and tech­nol­ogy is be­com­ing out­dated at light­en­ing speeds. Not only that, cus­tomers are more de­mand­ing than be­fore and with ac­cess to the In­ter­net, com­pe­ti­tion is no longer sim­ply our lo­cal mar­ket. As you can ex­pect, newly es­tab­lished en­trepreneurs of­ten strug­gle for a long pe­riod of time.

One al­ter­na­tive to start­ing a new busi­ness is to take over an es­tab­lished busi­ness and with cur­rent statis­tics sug­gest­ing 60 per cent of small busi­ness own­ers are over the age of 50, it seems there should be plenty of op­por­tu­nity.

Lo­cat­ing busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties might be harder than you think be­cause most en­trepreneurs are not overly ea­ger to ad­ver­tise their in­ter­est in sell­ing. One of your best bets is to start your search by ap­proach­ing com­mer­cial lawyers, com­mer­cial loans of­fi­cers and/or get a re­fer­ral to a part­ner in an ac­count­ing firm. An­other source is to seek out a well-known busi­ness bro­ker.

Once you have an op­por­tu­nity in hand, you need to do a se­ries of due dili­gence ac­tiv­i­ties. Be sure to in­volve your lawyers, ac­coun­tants and busi­ness ad­vis­ers to ex­am­ine all as­pects of your po­ten­tial pur­chase. Un­for­tu­nately, many busi­ness pur­chasers ne­glect to ex­am­ine the cur­rent and po­ten­tial hu­man re­source is­sues that can arise. For in­stance, if the owner will be leav­ing, how many staff could re­main that have the ex­per­tise you need to con­tinue? What are the age de­mo­graph­ics and skill lev­els? Will the skills meet your fu­ture needs? How open might the cur­rent em­ploy­ees be to the po­ten­tial changes you will be im­ple­ment­ing? Are the em­ploy­ees con­sid­ered high per­form­ers? Fi­nally, how will you man­age the tran­si­tion of the em­ploy­ees you wish to stay with your new or­ga­ni­za­tion?

Start­ing a new busi­ness and/or pur­chas­ing an es­tab­lished en­ter­prise re­quire a good deal of per­sonal stamina, courage and per­sis­tence in or­der to suc­ceed. Re­view this brief list and de­ter­mine if you have what it takes.

Affin­ity for your busi­ness sec­tor — suc­cess re­quires that an in­di­vid­ual have a per­sonal at­tach­ment to the prod­uct, the busi­ness sec­tor and/or a process. For in­stance, if you don’t like golf, don’t buy a gol­fre­lated busi­ness!

Pas­sion and plan­ning — many en­tre­pre­neur­ial ori­ented in­di­vid­u­als are more dream­ers than plan­ners. If you are more of a vi­sion­ary, then get your­self a busi­ness part­ner who can help to im­ple­ment your dreams. Pas­sion by it­self is not enough.

Strong cus­tomer fo­cus — busi­ness re­lies on cus­tomers for suc­cess. Are you pre­pared to get to know your cus­tomers in­side and out, to reach out to them rather than wait for peo­ple to come to you?

Per­sis­tent prob­lem solv­ing — suc­cess­ful en­trepreneurs are never rat­tled when con­fronted by un­ex­pected prob­lems. If you lack this im­por­tant “never give up” at­ti­tude, then en­trepreneur­ship may not be for you.

For­get about be­ing mod­est — our par­ents taught us to be mod­est; how­ever, if you want to be an en­tre­pre­neur, you need to get out there and ag­gres­sively mar­ket your­self and your busi­ness.

Self-aware­ness — be­fore en­gag­ing in any en­tre­pre­neur­ial ac­tiv­ity, in­di­vid­u­als must truly un­der­stand them­selves and their strength of char­ac­ter. Do you have the en­ergy it will take to be suc­cess­ful? Do you have a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude that will take you through the peaks and val­leys you’ll en­counter? Do you have the abil­ity to as­sess change and take ad­van­tage of op­por­tu­ni­ties quickly? Th­ese per­son­al­ity ele­ments are crit­i­cal to suc­cess.

Source: Canada’s Small and Medium sized Busi­ness Own­ers: Di­verse So­ci­ety in Mi­cro­cosm. TD Bank, Oc­to­ber 2012 Canada loses 54,500 jobs in March Job­less rate ticks higher to 7.2% as pri­vate-sec­tor hir­ing slumps, CBC on­line news April 5, 2013.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.