By Marang Marekimane, founder of Business in Theory
One of the advantages of leaving the corporate environment to start a business is you often know so much more of what you don’t want. However, having a clear vision of what you do want to achieve can be both a blessing and a curse.
You are cursed to find out how to make what you see visible to others who don’t see the same. When you can rely on your skills and experience, then you’re caught in the web of implementing the greater part of the business yourself – often being caught up as the one-man consultancy.
Some are brave enough to venture into unfamiliar territory – I’m meeting a lot of lawyers turned fashionistas of late. In most TV series such as the popular Suits, lawyers in law firms were always the best dressed.
Either way, it is important to have a clear vision of the destination, it will guide your journey.
In the start-up phase of the business, we are so caught up in marketing the business – defining the target market being the most important element. We forget to define the customer that is the team, they buy into working for you, and the tools that will support the business.
Define your team, the roles and responsibilities, processes and systems that you need so you can see the destination that will guide your journey.
For the past two years I have been a one-woman show. Now the time has come for the team to grow. I am reliant on apps or web-based tools to manage most of the admin in the business. For a consultancy to gain traction, you need more people that can do the job, and systems to monitor standards.
Having been a consultant for 11 years, I know the admin can be intense, and it is important that I recruit people that think like entrepreneurs – that’s a take away from what I didn’t like about working for a corporate. In fact, I prefer they want to be their own boss. For now, they have to work with me.
The creators amongst us, designers, manufacturers, bakers etc. need to look at a combination of machinery and people with skills to operate the machinery. Unfortunately, we can’t always afford the luxury of recruiting skilled labour. That means your role as an entrepreneur now includes that of a trainer, unless you can pay for external training.
Define your target market for buying your product. Define your target market for building the business – that includes staff, investors, suppliers and partners.
After 11 years as a Project Consultant for large corporates, Marang Marekimane started Business In Theory in 2014 to assist entrepreneurs to formulate growth strategies and improve business processes. Marang also hosts workshops for entrepreneurs to define or review their business model – this clarifies what’s working and what isn’t. She also speaks at business events on strategies for SMEs. In 2017, Business In Theory will launch the SME ScaleUp project to provide free business process improvement services to SMEs. The goal is to improve the sustainability of SMEs and create jobs in the sector.
Read more articles by Marang