7 steps to start a business -advice from the Philippines
There are plenty of resources out there with advice about what you are supposed to do if you want to start a business. I’ve selected 7 Must-Do Tasks Before You Start Up from the Pinoy Web Startup (a venue to find like-minded entrepreneurs and build exposure for Philippine startups in the web technology ecosystem.) because is well documented and has plenty of references to external resources.
They say: “I just want to share with you issues I dealt with starting out and consequences of some I still have to deal with today. This is written with a Metro Manila, Philippines setting in mind but should be easily replicated elsewhere.”
Here are the 7 tasks in the article (with my comments of course)
- Unleash the Entrepreneur within
While they give plenty of external resources on this one, I think it’s missing a point. Money! The only reason entrepreneurs want to start a business is to make money. Of course, money can have different names like work for yourself, being your own boss, pride and recognition, or whatever reason an entrepreneur might have, but the real framework for anything you would like to accomplish is making money.
- Save at least 3 months worth of living expenses
Even if they are talking about web start-ups which might require little or no initial investment, planing to earn a living from the newly started business in 3 months might be foolish. Unless there are some special conditions which allow you to get customers, deliver and cash money in very short sales cycle, chances are that it will take about a year to get the financial security you need (and that if you are lucky). But yes, you should save money, make a budget and be prepared to say what they say: “I used to buy nice clothes or shoes at least once a month or whenever I eye a sale; since starting our company, I’d buy a nice dress every quarter or so and no new shoes!”
- Find 1 or 2 partners
I have started the same, with 2 partners. And while I know it was the only way I could start a company at that time, you should think very well about picking up your partners. Most likely is not very important who your partners are if things don’t work, but it makes all the difference in the world if it works and there are money to burn. Once again, an impressive list of external resources on this subject on the blog.
- Register your company
Interesting to see what it takes to start a business in Philippines.
- Have a common conducive workplace
(I had to look in the dictionary to find out what conducive means :)). Basically the workplace should be a good enough environment to start a business and to sustain whatever you are doing. Of course I agree with that, but chances are that you might need a year or so to be able to rent a nice place to work. Usually if you start small, an office at home is quite ok, especially if you start an online business like they did.
- Raise funds from your own pocket and from family and friends
Unless you are in USA, is quite hard to find investors ready to burn money for just an idea. Everywhere else, be prepared to have a 7 figures turnover to get the investors attention. Once again, relevant articles are linked on the paragraph there.
- Focus your efforts
While they have a funny explanation about focusing on the business “I gave up my car and comfortable living at my parents to stay in a cheap condo so I can be near our office.”, most likely one of the early days issues is that because you have bills to pay, you can’t say no to customers or business lines that simply aren’t good enough to make you grow. You know that for this customer you will work more than you should, you know that on the long run, doing X or Y is going to slow you down, but you are simply too hungry not to take the job!
I would add an extra step:
- Make a business plan!
While some will not agree with this one, is absolutely fundamental to see what it takes to pay the bills. What are your expenses, how you are going to cover them and how long till you break even.