The following is a guest post by Carlo Pandian. Carlo is a freelance writer and PR exec that blogs on start-ups, technology and internet marketing. He also writes tutorials for QuickBooks Online and from Dec 2012, Carlo will be sharing entrepreneurial tips with our StartupMalaysia.org community on monthly basis.
When compared to US and UK, the Malaysian startup scene suffers a limited access to funds and reputable VCs so it is important for founders to acquire skills in order to start low cost management of their startup, from accounting to social media marketing.
Starting up a business can be a risky, brave and admirable endeavour. It is one thing to have an idea and another thing entirely to put the time, effort and capital into developing it into something more. As an entrepreneur you need to work hard, defy convention, never give up and be creative and original in order to find success. However, if this gamble pays off it will be worth every all-nighter as you will be able to make a living doing what you love in a business of your own design. You will be the author of your own life, free to pursue whatever goals you desire.
There are a number of things that you need to know before starting up your own business and having a go at it as an entrepreneur. Here are a few of the very important dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind when you are creating your start up.
- Do establish clear goals for yourself and your partners. When you are an entrepreneur it is important to have a clear vision about what you are doing and what vision of success.
- Don’t quit your day job right away. Give yourself time to build up the business on the side so that you can make a smooth transition into a business which is already making money, rather than quitting your job with nothing to fall back on.
- Do choose your co-founders, employees and partners wisely. You want the very best team to help you make it to the top and you will need to choose them based on their values, motivations and temperament.
- Don’t forget to step away and look at everything objectively. One of the biggest mistakes that startup owners make is that they are too emotionally invested in their business so they make foolish decisions and can’t objectively see where they are going wrong. It is worthwhile catching up with other founders to clear your mind and gain insights from other startup strategies. StartupDigest has a dedicated event section for Malaysia here, definitely worth a look!
- Do start small and work your way up. Many times an entrepreneur will be so excited about the idea that they will invest way too much at the beginning and will lose everything. Start the business as small as possible, learn from your mistakes and slowly grow as you become more of an expert. There’s no need to outsource everything as you can find many entrepreneurial tips from Malaysia sites such as Business.com.my, BizSpace.Asia and international ones such as Entrepreneur.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are a solo entrepreneur you might want to go it alone and do everything for yourself, but sometimes you can accomplish a lot more when you can use the resources and expertise of others.
- Don’t rely too much on textbook scenarios. Reading business start-up books will give you a good idea of where to begin but they can’t cover everything. You will learn the real lessons through trial and error as you go along.
- Don’t mix your personal assets with those of the business. Make sure that you set up a completely different account for your company and try to not let your personal and your business expenses run together.
- Do be patient. Being an entrepreneur might seem like a get rich quick scheme but it takes a lot of time to build up a business to the point where you can actually make a decent profit from it. Stick with it and don’t give up.
- Don’t go into a business that you don’t absolutely love. You need to be passionate about it in order to make it work because it will require a lot of your time and energy.
- Don’t undervalue all the expenses, obligations and regulations when it comes to registering your business in Malaysia. It is important to make sure that you have filled out the proper paperwork and everything is operating above board or you might find yourself with problems down the line. This also applies to paying the appropriate taxes for your business status.