Tips for Business Owners
Starting a business, or even a new product or service, is not easy, but using your talents to
make a difference in your customers’ lives can be incredibly rewarding.
Begin by preparing a rough financial forecast to determine if your idea will give
you the return you want. What can you sell your goods/services for and what will they
cost? Factor in the impact of inflation. How many sales do you need to break even?
What financial investment is required to get started (e.g., equipment, deposits, marketing,
and inventory), and how will you fund this? Can you meet your personal financial
commitments until the business is earning enough to cover them?
Next consider your ideal customers. What characterises them? What needs
will your products or services meet? Why will customers buy off you instead of your
competitors? How will your customers find out about you? How much will it cost to reach
your prospective customers?
Take a realistic inventory of your business management skills e.g., do you know how to fulfil your tax obligations, market your goods and services, manage employees, and comply with regulations such as the Fair-Trading Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act?
What do you need help with, and will you need to pay for this?
Revisit your financial forecasts, you have probably discovered that you will need to
spend more money than you had originally anticipated. Can you fund this? And, will you still get the return from your business that you want?
Information included in this article is of a general nature and is not a substitute
for tailored legal, accounting and other professional advice.
Christine Petrie, the author of this column, is the owner of Shifting Focus Business
Consulting. She can be contacted on telephone (021) 775 571 or email