Tips on how to make your first business grow
New businesses are set up everywhere, especially in tough times like these. Whether it’s by choice or by necessity, starting your first business has several things going for it: a way to create wealth and opportunity when both seem to be in short supply, and aÂ chance to be your own boss.
Destruction is painful, but it creates opportunity. Now is a great time for entrepreneurs to reset their agendas for the next 10 years.
Although millions of people set up businesses each year, even highly competent professionals often manage to fumble the basics. Veterans of big companies, for example, often fail to spend enough time laying the foundations necessary for their new ventures to grow. These can run the gamut from lining up financing to buying the computer and accounting systems necessary to run even a one-person show. It’s also a good idea to consult with an accountant, lawyer and, possibly, an insurance agent before setting up shop.
First, it’s important to keep in mind that even the best idea in the world doesn’t make a great company, but a sound business plan does. You’ll want to develop a strategy that will identify what your product or service is, how you will market it to potential customers and what it will take to feed your family and keep the lights on until your venture starts to turn a profit. You’ll also want to know who your customers will be: Are you going to be selling goods or services to other businesses, or are you going to try to reach consumers?
Once you have an idea of what you’re going to do, you’ll need to secure start-up capital. Banks and other financial institutions may be willing to lend, although they have been notoriously tight-fisted in the wake of the recent financial crisis. Another possibility is to tap savings or friends, relatives and business associates who have high regard for your abilities. To borrow money these days it’s near impossible andÂ that could be the best thing that ever happens to you.
Often the biggest financial challenge new entrepreneurs face is coming up with enough working capital to stay in business for 90 days or so until revenues start coming in the door. You can have a really successful business and even post a profit, but if you don’t have a positive cash flow you will be out of business. A factor that many new entrepreneurs overlook is that payment lags. Even if you manage to sell your product or service, it can often take 30 to 90 days until your new customer pays you. Therefore starting out with a financial plan that conservatively estimates when you can expect to begin receiving revenue and comparing it with the dates and amounts that your new venture will owe.
Don’t forget that any government expects to receive income from businesses in various forms of fees or taxes. If you are late with registration renewals, the authorities will likely hit you with a penalty, which will add to your expenses. Small businesses are charged with relatively small fees.
On a positive note, a good thing about small businesses are the organizations dedicated to offering help, such as Dubai Chamber of Commerce or Entrepreneurs’ foundations. The governing bodies within the emirates that make up the UAE are proactive in developing incentive schemes and building infrastructure to make the region competitive with business hubs around the world. Free Zones are one such program to provide infrastructure and incentives to a variety of industries and investors. A variety of free zones have been developed within the UAE. These include Dubai Airport Free Zone, Hamriyah Free Zone, Dubai Internet City, Jebel Ali Free Zone and many more. Some of the appealing benefits for incorporating in the UAE include the option of 100% foreign ownership, extensive infrastructure, a wide range of facilities (warehouses, offices, industrial parks) amongst other things. All of these zones also offer tax exemption for entrepreneurs who wish to undertake company incorporation.
At last, but not the least, developing strong online presence for your business could work wonders not only in terms of driving consumers to your business, but alsoÂ by increasing the value of your your products or services. Professional website and social networking is essential nowadays for any small start-up. Plenty of resources, available online, can help towards achieving better website performance and stronger online presence. Few relatively inexpensive solutions are offered by: