The Biggest Mistake I Dodged During My Business Startup!
When starting your business, the biggest mistake that you could make is to give someone else the power of creating your own business plan.
Who on earth would even do that???
Your Own Business Plan
You wouldn?t give someone else the power over your most prized possession, so why on earth would you give them power over your business plan?
In 2006, when I was just starting my little furniture business, I realised that I was going to need more funding if I wanted to go from little furniture business to the big furniture factory. Eventually, I started working on getting a basic business plan together.
What a mission! I was a carpenter, not a fancy book editor. So not what I signed up for?
After what seemed like an eternity, I decided that it was time to put my business plan to the test.
I remembered my Dad always use to say, ?A ship was not made to stay in a safe harbour, it was made to sail through the rough seas.? Even though in my head, my ship was about to sink miserably, I decided to scrape my courage together anyway. I started looking online for possible banks and investors who would be interested in my business plan.
All I had to do was show them that I could help them make money from investing in my idea, and then I would be well on my way. How hard could that be right?
Turned out to be a lot harder than I thought?
So, when I felt like my treasure hunting for banks and investors had reached its end?I started calling the different institutions to make appointments.
Again, I learned the hard way just because they looked interested, it didn?t mean that they were.
I managed to get a few appointments. Some of them seemed to be more interested in having tea and cookies, than putting actual thought and consideration into my business plan. Some were even more interested in selling a business plan to me, than discussing what I had presented. After what felt like 10 appointments from hell, I decided to call it a day and go home. It?s amazing how some people hear your ideas and then want to ?force? their ideas on you. To clear my head of all the negativity, I went for a surf. This was where i could get my strengths back again. Out there in the ocean looking back to land…. man, you are free.? One sits realising there is not a problem out in this deep beautiful blue ocean.? Ones soul gets replenished. All surfers will understand this language.
Like ?Hello, who died and made you king!? ?You are an employee of the bank, not the owner.?
The next day, I was bombarded with emails and phone calls from different institutions who were now full on trying to sell their business plans to me. How did I become the target?
The one institution offered to create a business plan for me. They would take all of my information, restructure it and apparently make it into something ?pretty? and special, for a small fee of R 8400….. Really now, i thought?
I was like hold the bus, SMALL FEE?…… yeah sure, let me reach into my back pocket and whip out, R 8400 for you, because, apparently, I have that kinda cash lying around!?
Even though the idea was tempting, as they would do all the work for me.? I could then also be certain that I had a viable business plan to present to banks and investors, I just did not have that kind of money lying around.
That was more than I was making in a month. Small fee? bahahaha, I wondered if they had any more jokes?
The same company then went on to offer another option. They would still create my entire business plan for me, but as payment, they would take a percentage of the money that I was to get from the banks or investors. This didn?t sound too bad. I started to feel like I was a candidate in that TV show, Dragon?s Den. I told them that I would go home and think about their offer, keeping my ?poker face? strong!
Sharing this with my Parents
I wanted to loan a million rand from the bank. Was I old enough to take on such a massive responsibility. I knew how to make and sell furniture, but my knowledge on business planning was lacking in a major way.
We all sat down and discussed this. If I got the money from the bank, how was I planning on paying it back, what was my business strategy for that? According to some basic maths, if I was to get the million rand, and pay it back over 5 years, my monthly payback would be 30 thousand rand a month. And yes, that sounds like rainbows and sunshine. How was I going to run my business in a way that I could make enough money, to cover my basic costs of running my business, paying salaries and then having an additional thirty grand a month on top, to pay back my bank loan.
Suddenly, I felt like applying and getting the money was like selling my soul! I reached a very low point in my life after that.
After many sleepless nights, I woke up one day with more determination than ever?
I decided that I was not going to let my age and lack of experience stop me. I remembered that during one of my previous appointments for funding, I was lucky enough to meet a business banker. He gave me some tips, on how to structure my business plan, as well as what the main requirements of a business plan was.
9 Months later?I got my 1 million rand, yes six zeros?!!!
So, let me say it again, just in case you didn?t hear me the first time, I FINALLY GOT MY 1 MILLION RAND FOR MY BUSINESS!
So, today, years later, I?m sitting in one of my beautiful offices in Dubai, overlooking the gorgeous Persian Gulf Coast, while typing my story to you. Looking back, I know for sure that taking the company up on their offer to create a business plan for me, would have been a major mistake, as I would not have learned how the different departments of a business should work. And yes, I might have gotten my funding faster, but I would not have known how to actually operate my business because I was not the one doing the hard research for my business plan. I would probably have been drowning in debt by now.
Doing the research on my business plan equipped me with the knowledge I needed!
There is a saying that goes: ?teach a man how to fish and he will never be hungry a day in his life!? Similar to my business plan, if the other company did it for me, I might have been given a meal for the day, but by learning and doing it myself, I empowered myself, and would never be hungry a day in my life.
My advice to you, don?t let someone else create a business plan for you, do it yourself. You will be empowering yourself in ways I could not even begin to describe. It will pay off in the long run!
Start right now!!!