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Can I be an entrepreneur? Could I start my own business?
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Danny Crouch

Danny is an Open Colleges trainer and assessor who teaches the BSB40407 Certificate IV in Small Business Management. He has a wealth of business experience, both within a sales and marketing environment and from running his own business. He has spent time working as a sales manager and has worked in international tourism; debt recovery; pay TV operations; and the personal development and education industries. Danny has a passion for sharing his knowledge and experience in business and management.

Here he shares his advice on how to become an entrepreneur by starting up your own small business.

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What are the biggest challenges to starting a business?

Similar to studying, I believe two of the biggest challenges to starting a small business are maintaining motivation and commitment, because motivation and commitment are very different to hopes and dreams. Our hopes and dreams may be what gives us the initial push to start a new business (or course), however it is our motivation and commitment that will really get the business going. The biggest challenge to new business owners is sustaining that motivation and commitment for the long haul.

What are some of the most common mistakes new business owners/entrepreneurs make?

I believe the three most common mistakes are:

Do I need a business plan?

The best response to that question is very simple and short and is covered by the well-known quote attributed mostly to Benjamin Franklin:

"Those who fail to plan, plan to fail."

What legal aspects do I need to consider?

Again I can also relate my answer to studying, each individual person or business is different. Different people, businesses, industries, locations (state, country etc.) need to consider different situations or legal aspects, so there is no one correct answer.

Therefore, I would recommend my friend "Google". Simply ask Google. This relates to question two, attention to research - Google your competitors, Google the government business websites within your area, Google "What legal aspects do I need to consider for my ... business"

At the end of the day, this is your business, therefore your responsibility. If I said, don't worry about the legal aspects of your business in your first year, would you believe me? Or would you do your own research? If I said, just register a $2 shelf company and get public liability insurance is all you need to legally worry about in your own business, would you believe me? Or would you do your own research? Well there's your answer.

How soon can I expect to be profitable?

You can expect to be profitable in between 119 - 121 days, give or take about 30 minutes. Really, this type of question always amuses me. This is an impossible question to answer and again relates to the first three questions. How much motivation and commitment do you have? How much research have you done? Have you set, and are you achieving your goals? Do you have a plan?

The more important question is "when do I want to make my business profitable and what do I have to do to make that happen?" When you answer these questions, only you will know when you can expect to be profitable.

Are there any online resources that can help me learn more about starting a small business?

Online resources provide knowledge, Google, Yahoo or any search engine can provide the answers to your questions. I believe that learning in the 21st century is no longer about retaining information, it's about knowing how to find it. You simply need to learn how to ask the right questions. Anyone with the internet can find the answers.

That being said, knowledge is not all you need to start a small business, you need skills, you need to know how. You develop these skills through motivation and commitment, through research and planning. You need to take action! 85 per cent of small businesses fail in Australia, not because they didn't have online resources or even access to the Internet, they fail because the business owners lack commitment and motivation, they fail to do enough research, they fail to plan.

The best resource a business owner has is themselves and their ability to ask questions. So my question is, how successful do you want your business to be and how are you going to make it happen?

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