Small Business: Taking the plunge - Martin Hawes

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Martin Hawes. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Martin Hawes. Photo / Herald on Sunday

Martin Hawes - entrepreneur, financial adviser and wealth coach talks to Gill South about taking the plunge and going into business.

I do think people are too fast to go into business. I really like the idea of them running a micro business on the side and then see how it's going.

First, run a check. Do I have the skills to do this? And the most important part is have I got the sales skills? A lot of technicians are "sales reluctant" but everybody in business sells stuff, you can't say you don't like selling.

If you can't sell yourself or your product then you ought to reconsider. The rule of thumb is you launch when you are confident that you would have enough clients to give you the income to buy groceries and to make a basic living.

Most businesses are not started by entrepreneurs, they are started by technicians and tradespeople.

They might be earning $25 an hour, but the people they are working for are charging them out at $60 an hour. These technicians think: "I could be charging myself out at $50 an hour," but they are not factoring in the fact that not all their time is likely to be chargeable and that they will have to spend time marketing and selling their service or product.

They will have to do the general management stuff and they have to be very sure that this is getting a return on the time and capital. A lot of people who go off into business find it's very easy to get capital tied up too. This depends on what kind of business it is.

How do you know when the time is right? There's no magic formula - except to go by the numbers, establishing plans, cash flow plans and profitability plans.

Who can help you decide if the timing is right? In the old days is might have been the bank manager but I'm not sure if this applies any more. The bank is an interested player because they are going to lend you money, no doubt secured on the house. It's more an accountant that you need. There are a lot of new, quite skilled business adviser/accountants who can help with your decision.

A warning - there are still a lot of people, who after they have launched, start to realise that they are spending far more time at this than they ever did when they had a job. It's time spent on the marketing, selling , doing the books, GST returns and that's before you get to the worry and risk side.

If advising a client, I would ask what would happen now if this business got no bigger, what would happen. Could you still put food on the table? If the answer is yes, then have a go.

Some couples would never set up businesses together for fear of the pressure it would put on their marriage or personal relationship. But every day business entrepreneurs are doing it and surviving. Tell us your secrets of staying together while going through the daily pressures of running your own business. Email me, Gill South at the link below:

- NZ Herald

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