Start-ups are faced with very many challenges not least of which is the need to keep costs down while business develops and revenue starts to come in. There will be costs that are directly related to the nature of the business itself and there could well be finance charges to manage as well.
All these will be costs that can’t be avoided regardless of the success in selling products or services. For all those other costs, be they marketing, web-site development or whatever it can be really tempting for new business owners to try to do as much of it themselves in order to minimise their outlay.
Intelligent people are capable of learning how to do new things and finding out about new areas has never been easier with the internet full of advice and guidance. But people need to be wary of this as it:
Takes Time – nothing wrong with this as you develop your new skills but not all business start-ups have this luxury.
Could lead to mistakes – everyone is capable of making basic mistakes and if this is your first foray into, say web development, then you really want to avoid the basic errors and not have to learn from your mistakes if you can possibly avoid it.
Lead to sub-optimal results – this may not be as great an issue if you believe you have the opportunity to continually refine your marketing or the way you draw up employment contracts or whichever area it is you are ‘learning-on-the-job’. All areas can be refined as you learn along the way but you will want to minimise your new areas for personal development.
It’s worth thinking very carefully up front about what it is your new business needs to do and what your own capabilities are before embarking on too many activities. Remember, you need to concentrate on the activities that you excel at as that’s why you started your business in the first place.
Of all the activities your business will need for success think about them in one of the following categories:
- What you know really well – these are probably directly related to why you exist as a business in the first place or they might be something that you have always had a passion for. Either way, they are not something that it is worth getting others to do on your behalf as they won’t come up to your standards.
- What you legally can’t do – these will differ from country to country but areas may well include certification of company accounts or specifics related to particular sectors.
- What you know you can’t do – here you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Yes, you might be able to develop capability in a new area but it will take time to become suitably proficient and you would be better off concentrating on what your business is set up to do as that is what will generate revenue.
- What you don’t like – this could be anything and it could well be something that you are capable of or even good at. The issue here is that if you don’t enjoy it your heart won’t be in it and chances are you won’t do as good a job as a real expert who enjoys this subject. Beware though if this is directly related to the nature of your business as it might indicate difficulties ahead.
- What you would like to learn – we’re all capable of developing new skills and starting a business is no different. The difficulty here is narrowing it down to a manageable list of areas that will not distract overly from your revenue generating activities.
All of this needs to balanced against the budget you can reasonably afford to put aside for the myriad of activities any new business (or established for that matter) needs to undertake. By prioritising what needs to be done in this way a new business owner is better able to decide which areas they must buy in and those they would like to develop as part of their own education and that of their business.