Business English/Topics/Starting Your Own Business

Don't go for what looks easy or flashy edit

Do something that you know well, where you have experience and are an expert. You should thoroughly understand all of the issues related to the activity.

Sometimes people can be tempted to do something that looks simple to start and deal with. The fact is that in any activity that you can imagine there are many things that are impossible to predict until they come up:

a) Certain unexpected situations
b) Once in the situation, how to deal with it

You will need to plan to be effective, and you can't plan what you don't know. You can react to the unexpected but usually, that is an easy way to get in trouble.

Start slowly edit

In the beginning of your business try, if you can, to deal with it as a side-line, so you are not depending on it for an income. That way you will only risk time, effort and maybe little money as you begin to test your idea in the real world, and learn a lot from it.

If things are going well pehaps it is the moment to move forward and be very conscious of the consecuences of your decisions. That will help you a lot in the future, when you will have to make decisions that may imply risks. Experience is the most powerful tool that you can rely on in this situation.

A gradual transition will allow you to think, plan, execute without risk and see and work on potential problems that perhaps you woulden´t realize from the beginning.

Build your network edit

Relations will help you in the beginning of your operations, and in countries like Mexico contacts are the main source of opportunities to make business.

There are many methods to develop a business network, and it depends on your capability to invest some money to obtain results. In the beginning the best practice is to establish contacts on a one-to-one basis. This means that you should approach your contacts to offer them some benefits if they are able to offer you potential business opportunities. This doesn't mean an attempt to bribe them (at least not necessarily), but instead you can offer your complete help to obtain results oriented to their positioning in their field of action. An example of this is to offer your organization as manpower to solve some of their concerns without any additional charge if in exchange you can get the opportunity to show your abilities and results. It is very good to develop a “partnership” relation with people that know you and is aware of your efforts to create your company.

Another way to do this, but much more expensive is to organize (and therefore to pay for) some events (business breakfast, perhaps) in which you will have the opportunity to present your products or services, and after your presentation provide some brochures to the audience, and most important, to collect data from them in order to establish further contact on one to one basis again, to work on those issues that have interested them more.

Those things mentioned above would allow you to keep in contact with the people that can provide you business opportunities. For instance, once you have identified a group of executives that would represent a solid network, you can invite them to some periodic events in which they will have opportunity to keep contact among themselves (to establish their own network), and also receive information about topics that should be very interesting for them in their activity (products or services presentations, some recognized speaker... etc.). Doing that three times a year will provide you reasons to be in contact with them and take advantage of that to expect the chance to be in the right place in the right moment.

Expect the unexpected edit

Reality will show you all those things that you didn't consider in your previous planning activity. Be prepared and deal with it, whatever, without hesitation and tune up your reaction abilities. That will protect you until you get the experience to know in advance what will happen according to the signs that always appear to trained eye.

The original version of this page was written by Juan Enrique Pérez of Capital Humano.