Be­fore you quit your job...

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

IN his new book, Smart Peo­ple Should Build Things (HarperBusi­ness, 2014), the “re­cov­er­ing lawyer” and founder of Ven­ture for Amer­ica ex­plains why en­trepreneurs spend too much time fo­cus­ing on cre­ativ­ity and not enough on or­gan­is­ing and im­ple­ment­ing a strat­egy to achieve their dreams.

Peo­ple fo­cus too much on the in­spi­ra­tion, but, like con­cep­tion, hav­ing a good idea isn’t much of an ac­com­plish­ment. You need the ac­tion and follow through, which in­volves the right peo­ple, know-how, money, re­sources, and years of hard work.

While you’re still work­ing a full-time job, here is a list of things you can do on the side to ex­plore an idea for a great new business:

1. Re­search your idea. Fig­ure out the mar­ket, talk to prospec­tive cus­tomers about what they would like, see who your com­peti­tors are, and so forth.

2. Un­der­take le­gal in­cor­po­ra­tion and trade­mark pro­tec­tion.

3. Claim a web URL, build a web­site (or have it built) and get company email ac­counts.

4. Get a bank ac­count and credit card (most likely you’ll have to use per­sonal credit at first).

5. If ap­pro­pri­ate, ini­ti­ate a Face­book page, a blog and a Twit­ter ac­count. 6. De­velop brand­ing. 7. Talk it up to your net­work. Try to find in­ter­ested par­ties as co-founders, staff, in­vestors and ad­vis­ers.

8. If nec­es­sary, build fi­nan­cial pro­jec­tions and draft a business plan.

9. En­gage in per­sonal fi­nan­cial plan­ning, in­clud­ing cut­ting back on ex­penses and bud­get­ing for start-up costs.

10. Cre­ate a mock pro­to­type and pre­sen­ta­tion for po­ten­tial in­vestors or cus­tomers.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, you’re right. Get­ting this done while hold­ing down a job is a sig­nif­i­cant com­mit­ment. Yet, you’re just get­ting started. There’s a big jump in dif­fi­culty when it comes to the next things. 1. Raise money.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, fledg­ling en­trepreneurs fo­cus way too much on the money -- you can get most things done and fig­ure out a lot with­out spend­ing much. That said, most busi­nesses re­quire money to launch and get off the ground.

Find­ing ini­tial funds is the pri­mary bar­rier most en­trepreneurs face, as many peo­ple don’t have three or six months’ worth of sav­ings to free them­selves up to do months of un­paid leg­work. 2. De­velop the prod­uct.

Prod­uct de­vel­op­ment is a sig­nif­i­cant en­deav­our. Even if you’re hir­ing some­one to build your prod­uct, man­ag­ing them to spec­i­fi­ca­tions is a huge task in it­self.

You can ex­pect ven­dors to take twice as long and cost twice as much as you planned. This phase might re­quire rais­ing ad­di­tional money as well. 3. Build a team.

Most peo­ple don’t build a business alone and find­ing qual­ity part­ners or em­ploy­ees can be time con­sum­ing and un­pre­dictable. Your first em­ployee is go­ing to look to you for guid­ance and her pro­duc­tiv­ity is go­ing to de­pend on your abil­ity to man­age.

With part­ners, you’ll need to make sure you can work well with them, since they’re go­ing to be with you from the ground up and for years af­ter­ward. 4. Get cus­tomers.

Go­ing to trade shows or try­ing to get your first hand­ful of pay­ing cus­tomers is typ­i­cally a ma­jor time in­vest­ment. This can in­volve web mar­ket­ing, pro­duc­ing con­tent and search en­gine op­ti­miza­tion - all of which take sig­nif­i­cant en­ergy and re­sources to gen­er­ate a re­turn.

— En­tre­pre­neur

When's the right time to turn in your res­ig­na­tion?

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