Are You Ready?

Have you been thinking about launching your own business?

This is the time of year when many would-be entrepreneurs start to get serious with their business plans in order to launch the next world-class business.

Getting organized at this time of year enables new business ventures to launch early in the New Year – a time historically when things start to move forward.

While you may be gearing up for that new business, some of the questions that need to be addressed are: Are you ready? Is the time right? Is the economy right?

Is it possible that you could answer YES to all three questions? It could be – being ready means that you will have very clearly identified the business model you wish to adopt, you will have completed the appropriate market and geographical research, and you will have looked at all of the financial logistics.

In other words, your business and marketing plan are completed and ready for action.

What about timing, is this really the right time for your business – have you looked at any seasonal aspects that might have an influence over your start-up time? And what about the economy? Is that in sync with your proposal and ideas?

This is a much abbreviated checklist of things to do and consider. Even this short list may prove to be a daunting experience for some. It might lead many less dedicated individuals to defer their start up, in which case they will probably never start their own business. If you can’t tackle the requirements now, it is unlikely that you will have a change in your circumstances and outlook at a later date that will help.

If the time is right, then the serious entrepreneur will move forward. Knowing what business model is appropriate for your circumstances can go a long way to resolving the start-up paralysis syndrome.

What if you could acquire a business that had all of these areas already covered? If you could, it is probable that you would even be prepared to pay for that particular business or model.

Franchising goes a long way to providing all of the nuts and bolts of a business duly connected. A franchise is a system built around a proven and established business model with its own individual business plan. But even with franchises, which come with little assembly required, there is always the element of timing to think about.

Many franchises will require staff to run the business – now you need to look at your local labor market and ascertain if the timing is right to find the right people for your franchise team. Likewise with premises – are the ideal premises available at a realistic cost? It is not unusual for some franchise brands to take months or even longer to locate an ideal franchise site for a new franchisee. In the franchise world settling for anything but the best location is rarely an option.

Financing will also be an agenda item whether you start your own business, form a new company and essentially build from the ground up, or go the established franchise route. In either model there will be a cost and appropriate start-up expenses. The difference, however, is that in many franchise models the franchisor often assumes part of the financing burden or provides terms that enable a franchisee to get their franchise started quickly.

Clearly there is much to consider before you make that leap into entrepreneurship. Is there one vehicle that could solve all of these start-up concerns? Probably not, however some franchise models are now created around a home-based environment, thus eliminating the costly need for rented accommodation. Some models also provide many day-to-day services for the franchisee at the Head Office of the franchisor, thus enabling the franchisee to work with no or minimum staff.

A potential entrepreneur or franchisee has control over many of these areas. What is sometimes out of reach is the prevailing economic climate that might determine success or otherwise for the new business owner. Judging whether the economic climate is appropriate may also prove a difficult task. Therefore, the question might be asked – Is there a franchise or any other business model that is recession proof? While many may have claims that tend to indicate they are immune to the ups and downs of the economy, in reality few are protected from the vagaries of the economy.

Whichever route you take or model you employ, the success or otherwise of your business will be not only in the execution of the day-to-day operations, but in the planning before you ever open your doors.

Plan thoroughly and well in advance – the plan always takes longer than you think.

Build in plenty of contingencies and expect things to take longer to execute than your first estimate. Solid planning plays a crucial role in determining success and longevity of a business.

David Banfield is President of The Interface Financial Group, a position that he has held for over 20 years. He has been instrumental in starting Interface as a franchise opportunity and building it to its current international status. Prior to his involvement with Interface, he worked extensively in the banking, credit and factoring financial service areas.

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