Most people who start their own businesses don’t really know where to start. They have an idea and they find a way to make it work in an organic way. And so often it is luck more than anything else that ensure that there is initial success. The truth is that for every Richard Branson, who admits that he knew precious little when he went into business, there are thousands of failed entrepreneurs who were not as lucky. Or is there more to it than a good idea and a spot of luck? Branson was also quick to point out that although he knew little that he surrounded himself with people who knew plenty. So perhaps the real question here is who should you surround yourself with in your quest to build a successful business?
The legal angle
There are two people that you need to have in your camp and for whom you should be prepared to pay top dollar. The first of these is a lawyer. You need to find somebody who is smart and savvy, who is connected and who knows the industry that you are operating. Speak to people in the industry for referrals or run an internet search to see if you can pinpoint somebody close to you. Try a phrase like, ‘business lawyer Sydney cbd’ and see what comes up. Meet the person and suss them out properly. Having a legal brain on-hand to talk contracts and to make sure that you are covered for all eventualities is critically important and even if he is not employed full time, to have him on a retainer is vital.
The second critical person
The second important person is the financial person. If you are not one yourself then make sure that you retain the services of a top-class accountant and money man. We are not just talking somebody who can run the books and look after payroll, that is an administrative role, we are talking about a proper Chartered Accountant. Somebody who can manage cash-flow, who can help negotiate deal and perform cost benefit analysis and other such financial wizardry. As with the lawyer find somebody who knows the industry, who can connect you with deals and opportunities and who you can incentivize to help grow the business. As with the lawyer, be prepared to pay top dollar for this person. You can haggle with other staff over packages, but your accountant needs to be compensated properly or he is not worth it.
It might be stating the obvious, but no start-up is ever going to work without the full and unequivocal commitment of the founder. If you have a business and you really want to see it fly, you need to pour your heart and soul into it – hold nothing back. Branson might have said he knew so little about what he was doing that he had to call his company Virgin, but what we do know is that he gave it everything that he had. Nobody would ever be able to stand there and say that Virgin became what it was despite him or that it could have been what it is without him. So be prepared to commit!