Are you thinking about starting a business of your own?

As the economy continues to face credit challenges, small businesses, especially new, start-up companies are finding it even more difficult to find the capital they need to take new ideas and concepts and turn them into viable businesses.

Before you decide to start a business, you might want to think about the qualities you possess, what makes you tick and how that might help you be a more successful business owner.

This section examines what is involved in starting a business, and provides the essential tools for planning and organizing the resources to set up the enterprise.

Henry Ford said, ‘before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success’

Read a PDF version of SME TOOLS BOX on what you need to know ‘Before You Start Additional Materials:

Organization, sound planning, and goal setting are essential to starting a successful business.  Entrepreneurs must prepare for a variety of different scenarios and variables, which requires careful planning and a working knowledge of the market conditions in which they compete. One accepted way for entrepreneurs to concisely document their idea, while demonstrating a thorough awareness of their business environment, is to produce a business plan.

This section examines what is involved in developing a bankable business plan.

Read a PDF version of NBSSI’s Business Plan Reference Guide

Additional Materials:  Click to download (Word Doc)Why Business Plans don’t get funded

When starting a new business, there are many important decisions to make and many rules and procedures that must be addressed. This section identifies the bureaucratic and legal hurdles an entrepreneur must overcome to incorporate/and or register a new firm.

Read a PDF version of SME TOOLS BOX on Procedures for starting a business in Ghana

Additional Materials: Click to download (PDF)Business Registration in Ghana

The issue for every entrepreneur to consider under financing includes:

  • the sources of capital
  • the methods for acquiring debt and equity capital
  • the capital structure
  • The cost of capital

To assess whether your business can take advantage of the various financing options available, you should begin by realistically evaluating the investment profile and creditworthiness of your enterprise.

Read a PDF version of SME TOOLS BOX on Financing & Banking

Additional Materials: SPEED Ghana’s Handbook on Financing your Business

As a manager, you will have to play ten basic roles. It would be absurd to suggest that you must be an expert in all these roles: nevertheless, you should have sufficient background and general knowledge of these areas and special skills for a number of them.

Download a PDF version of SME TOOLS BOX on ‘Personal Development’ to explore some of the areas you can develop skills in.

You’ve established your business, so what’s next?

Once your business is underway the picture changes subtly but substantially. Now you will need to develop and maintain effective, on-going relationships with employees, customers, lenders, investors and suppliers. This will require you to make the transition from being an entrepreneur to being a professional manager.

The ability to make this transition is the special quality of many highly successful entrepreneurs that set them apart from the less successful ones. Successful entrepreneurs are able to make this transition – usually within the first few years of operating their business.

This section highlights what you need to know — from sales to human resources — to run your business and succeed.

Operations management focuses on carefully managing the processes to produce and distribute products and services.

Operations are a transformation process: they convert a set of resources (INPUTS) into services and goods (OUTPUTS). These resources may be raw materials, information, or the customer him/herself. These resources are transformed into the final goods or services by way of other ‘transforming’ resources – the facilities and staff of the operation.

Read a PDF version of SME TOOLS BOX on Operations Management

Additional Materials:

Read a PDF version of Implementing the 5 S concept

The marketing process begins with discovering what product customers want to buy. Once you have a product, you need to determine a price for the product, let potential customers know about your product, and make it available to them. These are often called the four “P’s” of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, Place (how you distribute it). If you cover the four P’s well, you should have no trouble achieving a fifth P: profits. The key to successful marketing is answering the following question for your business: How will you communicate a meaningful difference about your business idea (product or service) to the people who might be most interested in buying it?

Read a PDF version of SME TOOLS BOX on Marketing Management

Additional Materials: SPEED Ghana’s Handbook on Marketing Strategies

Planning and growth go hand in hand. The level of growth should be what makes you satisfied, but there are limits to what you can do without a plan. In this day and age, accidents don’t happen; you don’t grow by accident anymore. You have to plan for it.

Read a PDF version of SME TOOLS BOX on Planning for Growth