MRT station, Singapore

In a basic form, there are three main ingredients you need before starting a business (this includes hiring an entire team or becoming a freelancer).

Time, Money and Personality.

I believe to start a successful business, you may not need lots of one or two of these elements (also dependant on the industry you are entering), but you certainly need a good total between all three. Let me explain in more detail.

Time
Without time, you not only are going to be struggling just arranging your business name, company structure, suppliers and stationery, logo, etc, but you are also going to have no actual time to do the work you’re able to bill. Don’t forget in the early days, it’s likely to be you doing sales, service, support and administration, as well as accounting, dealing with suppliers, etc.

Unless you’ve been planning for a while, you could also have a second part time job or other commitments you need to shuffle around too.

Money
You may not need a lot of it, depending on your situation, but you’ll certainly need some. A standard PC with copies of your most important software (Design, Development, Office & Accounting) will cost you around $5,500. Then, you need a phone, desk, perhaps an office and just all the business and company registrations alone can set you back hundreds if not thousands.

Get quotes for absolutely everything you think you will need, and then double it, just to be safe. There’s plenty of items you wont consider until you are up and running, and then you’ll need them ASAP.

Personality
This is a very important element, possibly the most important. You may have all the time and money in the world, but if you don’t have the right personality, then you’re never going to make it.

You need leadership, motivation, salesmanship and above all, skills. You need to be able to read a profit and loss statement, you need patience and you need to strive to be the very best you can. You need great interpersonal skills, you need to be able to focus on the task at hand, and you need to be able to motivate those around you.

Good project and time management traits are also very important. There’s a number of online quizzes such as this one which will help you determine if you’re cut out to be your own boss.

Before jumping into business, you need to learn lots (if you don’t already know it) and you need to have the service or product offering in your mind figured out. Visit a library or Google and read everything you possibly can about starting a business – many blogs or guides may seem to be irrelevant to you, but you’ll find that even if you are opening a retail store, and the book you’re reading is about a business service, there’s still plenty of gold in what others have learnt.

I’ll write some more about this soon – meanwhile, start considering if you’re the right personality type to start your own business, start saving all the money you can, and consider how you are going to manage your time.

Image: MRT station in Singapore.

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