Be Your Own Boss

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Home > Articles > Be Your Own Boss

 Be Your Own Boss

Geoffrey Moss | General
March 9, 2018
​To start your own business and succeed, you must fulfil a need. Finding that need is the starting point. 

I once had some drinks with two neighbours who were both successful businessmen. Gary had headed a loan company and David had set up an investment company. We chatted about a friend Gary knew who had started a small business and now leases thousands of buses and trucks. 

When we came to think about it, all of us could name large businesses that started small. I named Glaxo the pharmaceutical company that started in a small village called Bunnythorpe in New Zealand and Watties foods started in a garage in Hastings. A friend in Singapore told me a large department store in the city had started by the owner selling comics in the street. Our discussions turned to ways to start a successful business. These are some of our conclusions:

To start your own business and succeed, you must fulfil a need. Finding that need is the starting point. 

Gary said: "It's easy to start a business but to keep it growing takes much work, skill, and persistence. But to set up your own business you need a competitive advantage—you need a product or a service that is different, cheaper, or better quality than your competitors. What's in it for me?  What's in it for the client? These are the key questions."

After much discussion, we came up with these key points: 

Have a Strong Interest in a Service or Product
Some businesses have started off as a hobby such as cooking or stamp/coin-collecting.  Whatever new business you start, you must enjoy the work and have a great belief in your ability to rise to the challenge and be prepared to work hard.        

Research the market to know what opposition you will be facing. Then start modestly with a quality service, to test the demand. 

Get Help
Get help—you cannot do everything on your own. The marketing, distribution, bookkeeping, and selling are often the most difficult parts of the enterprise. You cannot do everything and may not have the full suite of skills needed to set up a business. 

Before you start, work in a similar type of business to gain experience and establish contacts. Be mindful not to breach client intellectual property rights. Study the art of delegation and learn to delegate tasks to others. 

You do not need new equipment to start a business so why not hire or buy used equipment as companies in Singapore have done in the past?  You could get products or units made by specialists and get someone to handle your distribution and sales, especially if you plan to sell into foreign markets.

Quality and Pricing are Critical
Be professional in all your dealings with clients and customers. If you are producing a product or rendering a service, you must set high professional standards to compete with similar businesses. Use the best designers you can afford. Employ a good accountant and financial adviser. Pricing can be critical.  

A Sound Business Plan is Essential
Minutes spent planning can save you hours when it comes to execution. The main task when setting up a new business is to write a business plan. Your business plan is the most important thing to consider. It does not predict the future but helps you cope with future contingencies, clarify your ideas, and analyse the proposed project. 

Identify future opportunities, possible risks, and the consequences of those risks.

A sound business plan is essential when you need to borrow money or buy resources. Keep it handy and monitor your progress regularly. 

Always be professional in your approach, maintain high standards at all times, and always present yourself looking well-groomed.

Many small businesses can enter the lower end of the market because many large companies have higher overhead costs such as buildings, equipment, administrative staff, and vehicular costs. 

Why not become your own boss by setting up your own business?

Mr Geoffrey Moss (together with Joyce Moss) incorporated Moss Associates in Wellington, New Zealand in 1986 to supply the Asian and Pacific markets with much needed practical books on communication, training, and management skills. He has run 31 workshops at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) and learned much from Asian managers. Mr Moss is the author of Secrets for New Managers which is available too as an E-book from Cengage Learning and

Copyright © 2018 Singapore Institute of Management

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