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Advice My Dad Never Gave Me.

Hello Kwazi,

Compliments of the season.

I don't recall seeing your first mail where you asked for tips on how to start a business. If I indeed received it and didn't reply, my sincere apologies.

However, you can get the ebook online at https://www.kobo.com ; there is no pdf version of the book yet.

The number one tip I know on starting a business when you're unsure of what to do is to look for a need that most people have and that they often come to you for solutions for. It may be something your friends and family come to you for help with often, and in many cases they don't pay you for it. Try to sharpen that skill/talent then start charging for it, especially from those friends and family.

There's a lot more that goes into starting and running a business but if this first thing is figured out then the others may not be so difficult.

Another important thing is to look for funding for the business. It is wise not to use your own funds to kick start your business. Get funds from other people, borrow if you have to, as it reduces the tendency of you becoming complacent. For most people, having their money in their business makes them not take it too seriously. After all, if the business fails they're not accountable to anyone but themselves. However, if one has to return money borrowed from others in a business it could make one more serious and less prone to complacency.

After sorting out the two steps above, identify your target customers and see if there is a big enough market for your service/product. You can do this when identifying that skill/talent that you serve others with for free but it is essential to look long and hard at this point. Gregory Berns said "A person can have the greatest idea in the world; but if he can't convince enough people it doesn't matter." You must identify your specific market, find out if they need or want your offering, identify the competition (your competition may not be making the same product as you or even be in the same direct market as you), devise means to convince your potential customers that your offering is better than your competition's, and after you make your first sale, you're officially in business!

It can be hard to leave a job when there isn't another one waiting for you and when you have dependants who may not be working too. Sometimes, such situations arise to test our courage and belief in what we plan to do next. Do we really want to start that business? Can we have the courage and commitment to go through the tough times without throwing in the towel when things aren't smooth?

Also, it could be that we need to use common sense and not take unnecessary risks. Getting another job before leaving your current one is a smart move; it reduces the chances of financial disasters when there's no income in the home. On the flip side, I always advise that no one should stay at a job too long. At some point it's better to either move to a new job or end paid employment altogether.

I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if there's anyway I can be of assistance.

Regards,
Ogundele G. Damilola.
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