Commencing a “start-up” company

My research has convinced me that the world of work is beginning to change. Many younger people are wanting to commence their own small businesses and are wanting to control their own vocational destiny. Technology has helped them improve their entrepreneurial creativity. I am a believer that starting up your own business and creating your own employment is a good thing.

The 80/20 society that I had learnt about as a young doctoral student has not become a reality as previously predicted. The 80/20 society is where it was predicted by futurists that our Australian employment scene will be dominated by 80 percent of people engaged in casual/part-time work and 20 percent in permanent full-time work. Futurists predicted this because between 1984 and 1998 the casualisation of the workforce in Australia grew by a massive 70 percent. However, since then it has remained stable. Around 20 percent of the Australian workforce is casual.

The largest concentration of so-called technology “start-up companies” in NSW are around Ultimo in the CBD. We don’t quite know why this is so but my hunch is that these young entrepreneurs like to agglomerate near each other to share ideas and network. Perhaps it’s also because the University of Technology Sydney is nearby and it has a huge emphasis on developing creative, innovative and entrepreneurial skills in its graduates.

It takes a lot of ambition and determination to commence your own start-up company. But young millennials seem up for the challenge more than ever before. I say young because young people start with a few common elements. These are great ideas, energy, ambition, a variety of social networks, technological know-how, very little money, naivety and nothing to lose. 

When you are naive and have nothing to lose then great things can happen. You are not bogged down with the years of wisdom where you think things through and begin to imagine all the things that can go wrong. Millenials tend to take day by day and solve the problems as they arise. Whereas older people may tend to think of the challenges before they commence and then convince themselves it’s too much of a risk, hence, abandoning their ideas before commencing. Older people also commence with more assets, so they have more to lose as well. 

However, I would like to give people a few ideas to consider if they decide to start up their own business. You should aim to develop some of these skills because there is no guarantee that because you have a great product or skill that you will be successful. Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Essentially you have to be a good business person to make money from your ideas.

1. Aim to do a small business course. Business administration is the bane of every self-employed person. The paperwork can be overwhelming. But you need to understand how it all works and what your responsibilities are to the ATO, WHS, legislation etc. There are plenty of places you can learn about these for very little commitment and cost eg TAFE, community college, small business colleges, Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education etc

2. Develop some knowledge in marketingand sales through the various social media platforms. If no one knows about your product, then you can’t attract customers.

3. Communication and customer service acumen is critical. Develop these. No one wants to deal with a cardboard cutout personality.

4. Leadership. As your business grows you will need to develop a whole new bunch of skills that will commence with leadership. Don’t confuse leadership with management. They are entirely different things. Other things that go along with this are project management, planning, delegation and networking skills.

5. Confidence in public speaking may be a challenge for many people. These can be developed through Toastmasters in your local area.

6. Problem Solving. What are you like on this front? There may be technical issues regarding your product or service- that’s a given. However, there will be other issues that you will face including finding start-up financing, hiring qualified employees, developing vendor relationships, a negotiating the lease on your first office space, outsourcing, R&D, keeping up with PD (to name a few).

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