I want to start a new business but I don’t have any money. My family is not helping me either. So I think I should wait a few years, get some degrees, make some money, then start my business:
It is not true that you need a lot of money to start a business. In fact, almost all business tycoons started their businesses from zero. Bill Gates started his first computer business in a garage. Warren Buffet, the second richest man in the world for many years, first started his business when he was only 14 years old, with 25 dollars he had saved by working as a hawker. In Bangladesh, Harunur Rashid Khan Monno, the founder of Monno Ceramics, started his business with just only 75 BD taka. The list goes on and on.
The truth is you don’t need money or degrees, but love for the business, the willingness to start from zero and learn its ins and outs that makes a successful businessman. If you are the type who is waiting for your family to provide the money, you probably are not the businessman type. But if you are willing to start with what you have, you will get time to learn the business and gradually build it up. Also, if you make some mistakes in the beginning, you won’t incur too much loss. So if you are confident in your abilities, you should start the business as soon as possible.
I have some savings from my government job. I think I should start a business with it:
This is a common mistake. Many people have lost their life’s savings because they thought business is easy. They invested the money from their pension or gratuity in their nephew’s or their friend’s son’s business and never got it back. Business is not that easy. You should only start a business when you are confident you understand how that particular business works. Otherwise, you will lose. For example, say you set up a software firm without really understanding the business. You get a contract to develop some software and you ask your program developers how long it will take to develop it. May be it is just 3 minutes worth of work, but they will say, ‘This is a very complex program, it will take at least 3 years’. You have no way of telling whether they are telling you the truth or not. You will incur a lot of losses in your business.
I must start a …… business. Everyone is doing it:
This is where we go wrong. We want to do what everyone else is doing. We don’t remember that every market has a saturation point, and that once a market is saturated, it is hard for a business to do well in it. It is the pioneers, the businesses that first enter a particular market that harvest most of the profits. The readymade garments sector in Bangladesh was still full of promise in the 80s. But when we suggested to people that they set up a garments industry, they said, ‘What! You want me to start a tailoring shop and give jobs to domestic servants!’ Now that it has become a trend, everyone wants to start a garments business.
The mobile phone (cell phone) industry is another interesting example in Bangladesh. The first to reap the profits and enjoy the cream in Bangladesh was City Cell. Then Grameen Phone came. When GrameenPhone started first, their call rate was 4 taka per minute intra zone and 12 taka per minute inter zone. Then they started one rate for the whole country at 7 taka per minute. Not they still have one rate for the whole country but it is only 49 paisas or less. And they are still making a profit! Just imagine how much profit they made when the rate was 7 taka or higher! So remember, in order to be successful in business, you need to come up with new ideas.
I just made the customer pay triple the price. I am so smart! I will be a big, big businessman:
No you won’t. If you want to maximize your profit in the short run, you will lose in the long run. The clients will be deceived once, deceived twice, but the third time they will go somewhere else. The Marowari community ran many successful businesses in Bangladesh. The difference between Marowari and Bangalee businessmen is that Bangalees think about how to make a lot of money very fast, but Marowaris think of how to build a long term relationship with the customers. Marowaris make less profit per item, but they sell much more.
A Marowari businessman once said that in order to make a profit in trade, you have to win when you are buying, not when you are selling. In other words, you need to buy products or ingredients at fewer prices than others. Then even you can sell it at the market price and still have a higher profit margin. But if you try to sell it at a high price, you won’t get any customers after a while.
I want to start a business. But first I want to work in a business firm for a few years. I think it will make me ready to start my own business:
This will only help if you work in the exact same field you want to start your business in. Working in just any business firm won’t do because every type of business is different. If you do decide to have a job first, it should be a job in the exact field you want to do a business in.
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