Thinking of starting your own business? Then let me give you a tip – take a ‘Start Your Business Course’ (SYOB). There are many programmes provided throughout the country by City and County Enterprise Boards, schools and colleges, and private training companies. Wherever you are based in Ireland, there is undoubtedly a ‘Start Your Own Business’ programme being offered somewhere near you. Just go the website www.enterpriseboards.ie and you will see details of the programmes that have been designed specially for potential entrepreneurs across Ireland.
It has been my strong experience from working with entrepreneurs that their knowledge of their customers and of the market is far less impressive than they would like to believe. They are also very unfamiliar with all the different types of supports that are available to them when starting their own business, including people who can help them with finance.
To be a good entrepreneur, you must first know yourself – so a question for you! In which of the following areas do you have expert knowledge: marketing, finance, management, operations, law, human resource management, and information technology? If your answer is all of them, or even most of them, then you are fooling yourself and you are a serious danger to anyone associated with your business. Nobody is an expert in all of these areas, not even those who you would consider to be the greatest entrepreneurs that ever lived. So what are your weaknesses really, and what are you going to do about them?
On a SYOB course you will learn to identify your personal strengths and weaknesses; understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the company; identify your UNIQUE Selling Point (USP); decide your goals; and then work out a plan on how to get there. During the course of the programme you will also receive workshops on business planning, marketing, sourcing finance and keeping accounts, key management issues, operations, information technology, law, and HR. All together, that is an excellent introduction to running your own business.
As part of your course, you will gather information about yourself, your company, your customers, your competitors, and your environment. From the information that you collect, a business plan will be created. The more information that you have, the less risk you take, and the better decisions you can make, so gather as much information as you can from as many sources as possible. Follow this principle and I have just increased your chances of success.
Still not convinced! Well let me offer you some more thoughts. Research published from an Irish study showed that people who took entrepreneurship training:
– created more businesses and jobs,
– generated more business contacts,
– had a broader range of skills and knowledge,
– became more confident in their own entrepreneurial abilities,
– were more likely to test the commercial viability of their idea,
– improved their employability even if they did not start the business afterwards.
That is a lot of benefit from just one programme.
Many people say that in starting their own business, they do not have time to take a SYOB course. In reality, can you really afford not to take such a course? Isn’t it better to spend some time now planning your road to success and then following it, rather than getting into your car and taking a journey where you have no idea of your destination and no road map to guide you. If you were making a journey would you make such basic mistakes? Yet, when starting your own business, it appears acceptable to head off without having knowing where you are going!! That’s not naïve, that’s plain stupid. So, if you are starting a business, increase your odds, take a SYOB course, identify your goals, and develop a plan.