As Guyana’s leading bank, GBTI understands how important entrepreneurs and small businesses are to Guyana’s economic development and prosperity. But it isn’t always easy for prospective business owners to get started, particularly when it comes to securing financing. GBTI helps address this challenge through its Small Business Bureau, which supports emerging small businesses by offering accessible loans at reasonable terms. For women who are single mothers, GBTI also offers Women of Worth (WOW) loans in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Protection.
If you’re thinking of starting a small business, however, there are plenty more things to think about even after you’ve secured financing. Other key questions you’ll want to consider include:
What’s your passion?
It may sound like a cliché to say that pursuing your passion is one of the most important ways to increase your business’ chances of success, and yet, this statement is absolutely true for many entrepreneurs. Given how much time, energy, and money you’re going to have to invest in your small business, you want to ensure that this investment is going toward something you love and truly think is worthwhile. In addition, it’s also much easier to get other people, from business partners to customers, on board with your vision when they can see that you’re motivated by genuine passion.
Do you have a business plan?
Passion is certainly important when it comes to starting a small business, but it’s no substitute for planning. A great idea and plenty of enthusiasm will only take you so far: beyond that, you need solid research and preparation. Creating a business plan can help you think about and address key questions. Some of these questions might include: who your target market is, who your competitors are, where your financing will come from, and what type of business model will best fit your company. Your business plan should also include estimates of both your expenses and revenue for at least the first year.
Can anyone mentor you?
Starting your own business doesn’t have to mean reinventing the wheel. Seeking out the guidance of a mentor—another business owner or entrepreneur who is farther along in their career—can help you gain valuable outside perspective on your ideas and concerns, can provide answers to questions you’re struggling with, and can give you the benefit of being able to learn from someone else’s experience (or mistakes!). And if you feel hesitant about asking a more senior person to help, remember than many successful business owners benefitted from mentorship early in their careers. Usually, they are more than happy to return the favor to the next generation of business owners.
Should you quit your job?
The question of whether you should keep working at your current job while you build your new business is an important one to consider. Staying in your current job can take some of the financial pressure off and allow your transition from employee to entrepreneur to be more gradual and comfortable, but it may also mean that you have less time than you’d like to devote to your company. In addition, you might have to work much longer hours in order to keep up with the demands of both a job and a business. There are pros and cons to both these options, so make sure you take your time to carefully consider the risks and benefits of each.
Who will help you?
Many small businesses start off as solo enterprises, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Working with one or more business partners can be a great way to avoid feeling overwhelmed or overburdened by the demands of your new business, but it’s important to make sure that potential partners are a good match for both you and the business. Consider things like what role each person will have, how profits and losses will be shared, and how involved each person will be in the day-to-day work. It’s also essential that you formalize your relationship with any business partners, particularly if they are family members or friends, by creating appropriate legal agreements and other documents.
What are the legal implications?
Speaking of legal agreements with your business partners, you’ll also need to do some research about the legal implications of starting your own business. Running your own company may have implications for your income and personal tax situation, any assets you own, and other key legal matters, so it’s important not to neglect this question.
What is your contingency plan?
In an ideal world, the launch of your small business will proceed exactly according to plan. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out that way, but you can lessen the impact of unexpected events by developing a contingency plan. This way, you’ll be better prepared in the event that things cost more, take longer, or are more difficult than you anticipated as you prepare to get your company off the ground.