Starting Your Small Business? Get Organised

Getting organised - Think big, learn fast and adapt

Proper planning will reduce the ‘stress’ that could come with starting your own small business; an ad hoc approach is often a recipe for disaster.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting your own small business:

Do you have what it takes to run a business?

Ask yourself why is it you want to run a business – is it because you want to take control of your future or are you hoping for a bit more free time than your current job offers? Make sure you are going into business for the right reasons.


You will need a dose of confidence, do not think failure before you even begin and also be mindful of the fact that things will not always go as planned. Set standards and goals for yourself. Even if you decide to work from home, you need to approach your business with a level of professionalism; this could mean the difference between failure and success.

Get a notebook

Get a notebook, it will help you to keep track of the things you have done, things you need to do and people you have to see.

Get a calendar

Get a calendar alongside your notebook. Set time periods for accomplishing goals, if you have to get a permit for example, before starting your business mark a period on your calendar as to when you will get it done and do it at that time. Once you have completed a task, mark it complete and always check your calendar just to ensure you do not miss any important appointments.

Necessary tools

Consider the tools that you will need to start your business – list them. If you are unsure, take a look at similar businesses to the one you intend to start and use them as your guide.

Make it happen

Raw material

Where will you get the raw material to operate your business? Make sure you have information on more than one supplier, do not limit yourself.

Currently in a job?

If you are still in a job and are thinking of leaving to start out on your own, consider getting all the important things in place before taking the leap.

Prepare to work hard

Prepare to work hard. In the beginning there is no doubt that you will have to put in many hours to get your business going, accept this as fact from the outset.

Realistic projections

Make realistic projections about your needs. Will you honestly manage on your own at the start, or will you require assistance? What about finances, do you have enough cash to meet your projected budget or will a loan be necessary?


Do not be guided by assumptions; if you are unsure about anything find out from relevant sources or do your research.

Office at home

If you will be working at home, set up an ‘office’ there. It does not have to be anything fancy; just set aside a room or an area that is strictly for work.


You might find yourself in the uncomfortable state of ‘indecision’. Procrastination is not your friend. Set your goals, be reasonable with your decisions and just do it!

Personal weaknesses and strengths

What are your personal weaknesses and strengths? Whatever effects they had on you while you were in a job will be the same when you are operating your own business. Take note of them; capitalise on your strength and find ways of dealing with your weaknesses.


Find out about organisations or groups that offer support for your type of business.


Think of an incentive scheme to reward yourself for goals accomplished, this will be good encouragement for you. Please be moderate.

Remember things will not just happen because you want them to…make them happen!


Operating a Franchise

Advantages, disadvantages of franchise

It is quite likely that having decided to start your own business you might consider a franchise. A franchise is basically the sharing of a business idea; you will be buying the right to use the name of an already established business, that is familiar to many people. The person selling the opportunity is known as the franchiser and you will be known as the franchisee. Examples of popular franchises are Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and MacDonald’s. A franchise opportunity will have its pros and cons.


  • You will be acquiring a product that is already tried and tested.
  • You will likely be given help with staff training.
  • You won’t have to worry about stock as the franchiser usually supplies stock.
  • You are given business advice to help you, such as that of location choice, staffing hours and regulations, advertising and promotion.
  • It is easier for you to acquire finance. Banks will feel more secure loaning money to undertake a venture that has already acquired a status in the market place


  • The franchiser has the real control; you do not have as much autonomy. You probably at some point have patronized or entered a franchise, or maybe quite a few, have you noticed that there is a large similarity in the products offered and also the look of the organization? That is because things are pretty much prescribed for each of these ventures
  • Franchise ventures are usually very expensive and after paying a hefty price to acquire a franchise you will still have to pay a levy on sales or profit to the franchiser
  • You will not have much flexibility since pretty much everything is chosen for you. You must use the franchiser’s name, stock and follow business practices laid down by them

Having said that, franchises can be quite lucrative ventures; most are expensive but depending on your area of interest you might find a franchise to suit your needs.

If you decide to buy a franchise, it is advisable that you seek the advice of an experienced lawyer who is familiar with franchise agreements. Make sure that you understand the terms of the agreement before you sign.