In 2018 I celebrate the 15 year existence of my start-up-Business. My business has reached a special milestone of 15 years whereby your business is described as "indefinite" according to definitions used in valuations and other theoretical assumptions about business.
Here follows a quick background on myself and the business I founded.
THE TRUTH - I HATED ACCOUNTING
I never enjoyed Accounting as taught by schools and universities. I studied accounting because it was the highest paid job one could find. Fortunately the secondary reason why I studied accounting was to learn more about business, which was accurate. I hit bullseye with that assessment and so luckily for me it was the first thing I did right: Understand the numbers of the game you are playing. See point 1 below.
I TOOK DESTINY INTO MY OWN HANDS
After qualifying I entered into a partnership, which I realised after a period of 6 months was not going to realise my goals in life. I opted out early from that partnership as I preferred to have my destiny in my own hands. This relates to point 2 of this article.
I started my Accounting Firm with only a laptop and printer and the following qualities:
1. Passion - A true passion to deliver exceptional value
2. Skill and knowledge
I had no start up capital which means that I had to work very clever with my money. This relates to point 3 below. Fortunately my wife earned a salary and she contributed vastly to our needs.
BEING AN OUTCAST WAS A GOOD THING
I was an outcast in the Accounting circles of the local market and new nobody with influence in the town I was working. I relocated to a town in order to enter the partnership, where I knew no one, literally no-one. Me being the only person I could rely on, meant that I had to solve every problem myself. This resulted in accountability and resourcefulness which relate to point 4 below. Being alone I decided to make my clients my friends.
Not being a true accountant at heart, but a real entrepreneur I could never really fit into the accounting circles. The feeling that I got from gatherings, the atmosphere, led me to the believe that it was a fear based business, which is something I never could relate to. I started to develop my business and plans around my personality, believes and culture.
THE 10 REASONS WHY MY BUSINESS DID NOT FAIL
1. UNDERSTAND THE NUMBERS OF THE GAME THAT YOU ARE PLAYING
There are some critical numbers you must know in your business before embarking on it such as your profit margins, breakeven points, how the sales price of your product is determined and so forth. Know the building blocks that makes up that sales price.
2. LOOK AT YOUR BOSS' LIFE
Look at your bosses or mentor's life and ask yourself, do you see yourself being that person in your ideal life? I looked at the senior partners live's and I got a flash of how it was going to be in 30 to 40 years. I could never relate to living a miserable, unfulfilled life, only softened by the amount of alcohol consumed in order to cope. I knew I had to get out now!
3. TAKE A MINIMUM SALARY FROM YOUR BUSINESS
After some time in my business, I got a fright looking at the salaries earned by other Chartered Accountants compared to my minimum wage. My business could not afford a Chartered Accountant and not pay me those amounts, but it could do a lot with the skill and the passion I brought. In the first 5 years I earned far below what other CA's earned. That motivated me to do better.
4. CONTINUAL GROWTH
As long as there was continual growth and my salary keeps increasing albeit below the market I celebrated.
5. SEE EVERYTHING YOU DO AS AN INVESTMENT IN YOUR BUSINESS
This is the one thing working for a boss cannot give you. Each and every conversation with a client, each email I answered, each discussion with an employee, I considered as an investment, it did not matter how small it was.
6. BE ACCOUNTABLE TO YOURSELF
You can find the answer, the human being is very resourceful. It was down to survival, I had to find means to get the results and find my own solutions. This was actually very easy, for example: I worked at times when no-one else was willing to.
7.DO IT YOURSELF
This is one of the most important aspects I learned . As I had no employees there was no one to pass the buck to. I had to establish each and every department within my practice. I had to do the sales. I had to do debt collecting and I balance the bank. I had to employ staff and also do the payroll. I had to do the books and design and copyright the website. I was also responsible for the marketing. Know it yourself before handing it over to others.
8 CLIENTS BECOME YOUR BEST FRIENDS
I valued each and every cent I received from my clients and my appreciation was let known. I really valued the people who put food on my table and decided to make them the focal point of my attention.
9 BUILD YOUR BUSINESS AROUND YOUR PERSONALITY
Each business has its own "feeling" or culture which comes from the top. Do not be afraid to stand up and own who you are and apply it. It makes you stand out from the crowd. Normally when I meet people they cannot believe that I am a CA and Registered Auditor. Why? Because I act myself and carry my believes and passions wherever I go.
Choose a strategy and stick to it. I decided to abstain from doing high risk audits only after I got burnt by it. I was never geared to enter the high risk work area, my strategy was not based on my resources. Build your strategy around your resources.
After 15 years of owning my own business and 20 years in an industry, reality and destiny always steers you to where you belong and to your passions. You have to be true to yourself and follow your dreams. The internet has opened vast opportunities of additional markets and possibilities to really live your true self. With the online marketing one can fast track your growth and achieve your goals in a much shorter time than 15 years. The skills learned from the online world and business found will stay with you for the rest of your life. Unleash that entrepreneurial power within you and have a look at the opportunities of online business, it might be the solution you have been waiting for.