“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” we have all heard this expression at one time or another, but what does that mean in action on the ground? For me it means turning a situation around to suit me, or to say it another way, if I am given a dud, I look at it from another perspective and see if I can turn it around to my advantage. So, if someone hands me a lemon, I am going to say – ‘These sure look great for a quenching jug of cold refreshing lemonade,’ even if the initiating action was supposed to leave you feeling defeated.
I make goals and find innovative ways to work towards them. I enjoy the process of getting to my goals. A thought, with emotion and energy has led to many of my outcomes. I always had a purpose for going into business – to help myself, my family, my community to make a difference: I am solution oriented, not problem focussed. I am assertive – but I want to aspire to a gentle approach as this gets better outcomes. I believed in myself even when the resources were minimal. I just continued regardless, because I felt within every fibre of my being that solutions would come in one form or another. I never gave up, and that has helped me continue to move forward.
I do not believe in working harder, I believe in working smarter. With technology this is now truer than ever. When I find myself working nights or on weekends, in my spare time – I know I am working in my bliss. Have you asked yourself why do you want to start a business and are your reasons sound?
Being in business means you are in the business to make money. This just changes the way you finance your life and survival. Rather than doing a 9 to 5 job where your wage is guaranteed by someone else or be stuck on the poverty merry-go-round of social welfare – you have decided to take it upon yourself to take control of your life but under your own terms. Money can transform your life and those around you – it is simply the transference of energy. It can allow you to make changes for the betterment of your family and community, in tangible ways. It means you are wanting to be in control of how you make a living and be in charge. It also means you have a brilliant idea that has not been seen yet – or how you sell it will be different from the competition. There are a few things you need to know before moving forward and truly starting your business journey. The reality of starting and keeping a business alive is not something to take lightly. You need to be prepared for all the things that can go right, and all the things that can go wrong.
Start with an idea or a product then work towards a plan. Before you get started, the most important thing to remember is that you need to have a clear idea of what your business is. You cannot be wishy washy. And your idea or product must have a unique angle that will help you stand out. It is important to ask yourself if your idea is a hobby or a potential business – this will tell you if you are going to go forward and invest energy into your brilliant idea or product/service or is it just something you do on the side that gives you pleasure. So many of us have vague notions about the kind of business we would run if only we had the time and could find the financing. But the trick to money is having some.
So, if you want to find financing, you will need to show that your business is worth investing in. Investors (the mob who you are going to approach to help you with start-up funds, like Many Rivers, Banks, Aboriginal Organisations like Aarnja with a grant program, Morrgul, your PBC’s). These folks need to see your idea as real as you see it, for them to back it up. It does not need to be a detailed business plan, it just needs to be all the things you have thought about- after all a business plan should be flexible, it should change and grow as your business idea starts to become clearer and stronger through your research. Breaking down what makes your idea unique, what your strategy is, and how you measure up against similar businesses, as you move forward so to your business idea will need proper and measured planning. It should also have alternate plannings on how it can grow and how can it overcome the natural glitches in the way to success.
Honing your business idea needs lots of your energy – because if it is not clear to you, it will not be clear to the people who you are going to approach for help, and for some people, the important steps before starting a business can take years. If you are enthusiastic about your idea/product/service, you will stick with it until you can take it to market and prove it is a money maker. To date it’s been a little under 4 years my sister and I have been fine tuning and putting what resources we have into our business with supports from Morrgul and Many Rivers and potentially First Nations Capital who were introduced to us by Maganda Makers’ Natasha and Maree and we still have not had our hard launch, but it’s not too far away, because we believe in our products, which we continue to review, test, revise, tweak, update or even completely change multiple times because we are aiming high.
A few key questions will need to be answered before moving forward:
- Is there a need for this product or service in my town, community, region?
- Who needs it – i.e., who are my target customers?
- Are any other companies currently filling the need and can I deliver/produce it differently?
- How can I make my business idea strong enough to catch to eyes and imagination of people who can help finance/develop it?
- Who can I get to help me – by identifying my strengths and weaknesses?
If you have properly developed your idea and identified the market for it, you can begin to make your business plan and seek financing. There may be many potential financing sources including small business loans, venture capitalists, angel investors or even personal loans – Maganda Makers, Morrgul, Aboriginal Organisations, PBC’s, Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), First Australian Capital (FAC), Many Rivers, NEIS and of course traditional banks, or you may be lucky to get a loan from your family or set up a crowdfunding page.
If you do go the bank route, you should research the best bank for personal loans depending on your credit score and try multiple options. Sometimes people try to save from the initial point because they have an urge to start a small business. For my sister and I we put tiny amounts of our Centrelink payments away, when we got employment, we did the same. I am now in a better position and just continue to plant seeds that I know will turn into the tree we will pick from in the future.