Many Filipinos who have been working for quite some time dream of becoming their own boss. They stick to their full-time jobs for the time being and try to save money in order to fund their own ventures someday. However, if you truly are a budding entrepreneur, funding shouldn't be the only thing on your startup journey checklist.
Here are five questions you need to ask yourself:
1. What is the nature of your business?
First things first: What do you want to do? You're probably thinking somewhere along the lines of pursuing what you're good at or what you think sells. But in reality, a successful startup considers not just the owner's expertise or what the owner thinks will generate instant revenue. A successful startup owner probes which aspect of his chosen industry is the most promising. Case in point: Do you want to be a boss in the real estate industry? If so, then you need to decide if it's better to focus on sales or on consultancy.
Start with general industry and constantly narrow down the scope of your business. It's a big, competitive world out there, so you need to consider which industry needs your expertise. If you're having a hard time deciding what you want to do, consider the Japanese concept of Ikigai and apply this narrowing-down principle to guide your choice of business.
2. How many people do you need to hire?
And what special skills do they need to have? A small food cart franchise is not going to need as many employees as a digital content agency. However, the two or three employees you'll hire for your food cart franchise should have good face-to-face sales and financial skills on top of knowing food preparation and workplace sanitation. On the other hand, the ten-to-fifteen employees of your digital startup agency will have different specializations and roles to maximize their time for shoot coordination and content creation.
3. What is your ideal workplace setup?
Once you've decided which industry to dive into and how many people you're going to hire, consider the best workplace setup for your business. If you're planning to create a digital content agency, perhaps you should hire a pool of writers to work from home instead of routinely meeting them in office. If you're putting up a sales-oriented business in the Philippines, look for an affordable office space for lease in Ortigas or other business districts so that you can regularly meet your agents or invite your clients to come over.
Consider whether you need to meet your employees and clients and if you have to, choose a place that's accessible for those coming from the Metro's North, South, East, or West.
4. What materials and equipment do your people need?
If you're planning to start a full-service digital agency, you need to think about not just your employees' laptops and video shooting equipment, but also the drivers and the cars that will transport your team from one shoot location to another. If you want your office space to have a cafe and a clinic in the future, you need to think about the cafe's kitchen equipment and your clinic nurse's medical supplies. Just like planning your manpower, everything has to be accounted for. Therefore, it's important to start with what's necessary and just add as your business grows.
5. Do you have enough funds to make this work?
Once you've asked yourself the questions above, you can think about funding. You can use your savings, find a business partner or two, or get business financing.
There is no one formula for startup success. But if you can ask yourself (and answer) the five questions above before you dive right into starting your own venture, then the journey to becoming a successful startup boss is bound to get less bumpy.