Fancy yourself as the next Jack Ma, Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos? Singapore has one of the most pro-business environments in this part of the world, but are you ready to take on the market and be the entrepreneur you want to be? Here are five simple questions you should ask yourself to see if you have the chops.
- How good are you at selling?
No matter what business you want to start, you’re going to have to sell it in one way or another. Even if your business isn’t about directly selling a product or service to an everyday consumer, you’ll still need to sell your business vision and commercial viability to investors and partners to get it going. If you’re apprehensive at the thought of fronting a sales pitch, either find a partner who wants to step up to the plate or you might want to reassess why you even wanted to start your own business in the first place.
- How strong is your personal and professional network?
Having a strong network is another vital skill to master. As bestselling author and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki says:“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work”. A good network isn’t just about a fun bunch of friends you hang out with at the kopitiam downstairs chit-chatting the day away — you’re looking for people who can provide insights into their own personal industries to help shed light on otherwise missed opportunities, as well as bring the positive energy, advice and encouragement to your table. A strong personal and professional network doesn’t magically happen overnight. It takes time, effort, and skill. So start practising by building your professional network. Now.
- How solid is your business plan?
Your business plan needs to encompass the vision you have for the company and the steps you need to take to get there, within your projected timeframe. But it’s not just about coming up with fancy ideas you’d like to accomplish — your business plan needs to be well thought out and include insights on market opportunity, competitors, key target audiences and your business model, just to name a few.
You’ll find numerous business plan templates online that will help you get started, but a good business plan is an organic document that evolves over time. Get feedback on your business plan from other entrepreneurs whom you know and find out just how sound it really is. Remember to take all the feedback and criticism in your stride and always be open to pivot your plan if there’s a better opportunity available.
- How do you like the smell of elbow grease?
The truth is, everybody has ideas. But entrepreneurs are the ones who actually act on them. How successful a business ends up has more to do with the amount of hard work that’s been put into it, rather than how good the idea was when you started.
Get into the habit of “doing” more than just “planning” in your business and this will really help you identify practical ways to take your business forward. Once you’ve firmed up your business plan (see previous point), move quickly to test the plan to see how it fares in reality.
- Are you clear about the administrative requirements?
You might be incredibly passionate about your business and simply can’t wait to go out to sell your product and service every day. Or you might love to work on the strategic planning behind your business and find ways to streamline. But don’t forget that, someone has to get the company paperwork in order — because the pitch is only as good as the follow-through. The best business ideas can be undermined by poor housekeeping and administration, and if your house isn’t in order, don’t be surprised if you get taken to the cleaners.