It is smart to start thinking along the lines of a side business while you have a full-time job. Your side business has the potential to become a long-term solution to financial needs and an enriching life experience. Answering these questions should give you enough information to create a clear path forward, help kick-start your new venture and help you decide whether or not to go “all-in.”
Are you passionate about the business?
This is a simple but very important question. If you can’t imagine yourself working on your business idea and loving it less than 10 years from now, you need another idea. Making money can’t be your only motive—it won’t be enough to sustain you when you face challenges. You must be truly passionate about your business and its potential in the world. If you want to succeed, you need to love even the process of building that dream from the ground up.
What finances and other resources are in hand?
What do you have that can help advance the groundwork? Many people think immediately of cash or other capital, but relationships can be crucial resources, too. Perhaps you and a business partner could share resources or maybe you know someone who could act as a mentor to advise you during the startup phase. You will be surprised how resourceful you can be even when you feel limited. Create a list. Include everything, from the people you will need on your team to expenses you can’t escape, then calculate the financing required to bridge the gap. Give this question careful thought and write down every asset you can put to work for your new business.
Who is your ideal customer?
Creating a customer persona is an important step to help you communicate your message clearly, stand out from the crowd and connect with people because you already “know” them. Craft a detailed profile to describe their demographics, their characteristics and their motivations. What’s their age range? Does gender matter? Can you find research to back up your preconceived notions about their psychographics? Do everything you can to discover what they love. At the end of the day, if there’s no audience, there’s no million-dollar idea.
Which problems will your business solve?
If you’ve done your homework on your ideal customer, it shouldn’t be difficult to identify your customer’s problems and pain points. What are their motives for wanting to resolve these issues, and what might they already have tried? It’s important that your product solve some sort of need because that’s what determines the value. The “itch” is your customers’ problem; the scratch is your solution.
Who else has done it and how did they accomplish their goals?
Find someone who already has attained a few milestones on the way to startup success in your industry, or a similar market. It need not be in the same niche, although that certainly would be preferable. The simplest way to locate these people is to tap your network. Ask around in related groups or do a quick Google search to create a list of names and then work to find degrees of connections you might share in common. This step could take some time, especially if you’re entering a new market or otherwise are unfamiliar with your niche’s online communities.
What is my ‘special sauce’?
Speaking of differentiating yourself from the competition, determine what your “special sauce” is. According to Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, your special sauce is a quality about your company that stands out from the rest. Your own special sauce can come from a lot of different areas of your company: where it’s made, the unique quality of the product, how it’s made, competitive pricing, a charitable component or your stellar customer service. Ask yourself, “What is going to make someone purchase my product over my competitors’?” Your answer is your special sauce, which should always be included in your marketing.
How will this business make money?
This might seem like a no-brainer, but take some time to think about it. Are you selling a product? A service? Ask yourself why a person would make the decision to give your business money. What are they actually buying? A tool that makes their lives easier? A skill they can use in their future career? An emotional experience? The more you know about your business’s unique selling proposition or USP, the better prepared you’ll be to sell the USP to potential customers.
What is my plan for growth?
Where do you want your business to go, once you get it started? What does realistic growth look like over the next year? The next five years? Knowing what a realistic success path looks like for a business like yours can help you set SMART goals and benchmarks to help you get there. You need to determine if you can afford to build out this business idea and whether you have the drive and determination to go the distance. It often is just about the idea, with little thought to reality.
What Is the legal landscape?
Never was the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” more true than when pursuing a new business idea. Before you invest any time and money, first check in with a lawyer to make sure you understand what you will be legally required to do when pursuing your idea and the ongoing legal costs and risks.
It is not enough to have a good idea, even one that’s potentially very profitable. Your idea has to arrive at the right time and be so persuasive that it’s hard for customers to say no to. As Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Don’t be afraid to start somewhere because one day, you will get to where you want to be.
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UPDATED: Court rules ICAN members do not need CITN license to file tax returns
The suit, which was filed some years ago by CITN, was basically struck out for lacking merit.
Justice S. A. Onigbanjo of the High Court of Lagos State has ruled that members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) do not need to be licensed by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) before they can file tax returns.
The ruling on July 2nd followed a suit filed by CITN trying to restrain ICAN members from filing tax returns for their clients unless they have a practicing CITN license.
A notice to ICAN members regarding this development, as seen by Nairametrics, noted that Justice Onigbanjo struck out the suit after describing it as “an abuse of court process and an embarrassment to the judiciary.”
The backstory: Nairametrics understands that the disagreement between ICAN and CITN stemmed from the misinterpretation of a 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Terms of Settlement (ToS) between the two organisations. Consequently, CITN had filed a suit before the High Court of Lagos State, seeking the following:
- A declaration that the Memorandum of Understanding and Terms of Service both dated February 12, 2015 between the CITN and ICAN are valid, subsisting, and binding on the CITN and ICAN.
- An injunction restraining ICAN whether by its agents, privies, assigns, or whosoever called, from repudiating, resiling from or acting in any manner or doing anything that is inconsistent with, contrary to or is a violation of the Memorandum of Understanding and the Terms of Settlement dated February 12, 2015, between the CITN and ICAN.
- Determine whether the Memorandum of Understanding and Terms of Settlement both dated February 12, 2015 between the CITN and ICAN are valid, subsisting, and binding on CITN and the ICAN.
However, last week’s ruling by Justice S. A. Onigbanjo which, by the way, was delivered virtually due to COVID-19, has made it impossible for the CITN to implement the terms of the 2015 MoU and ToS. The ruling also aligned with ICAN’s earlier objection to the MoU and ToS.
The status quo: In view of this development, ICAN has informed its members that they do not need to obtain any license from the CITN before they can file tax returns for their clients with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.
ICAN members were also informed that an earlier ruling by the Federal High Court on the case does not affect the status quo. This is because “the earlier ruling by the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/125/2019 did not make pronouncement on the memorandum and terms of settlement between ICAN and CITN.” More so, regulation 5 of the FIRS Act was not reflected in the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court.
China more willing to restructure Africa’s debt than private creditors
Agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors.
A recent study by John Hopkins University reveals it may be easier for African Nations to raise debt and also get debt relief from China than private creditors.
The report of the study comes a day after China promised to cancel interests from loans to African nations and restructure debt to Africa. The study also revealed that China has restructured $15 billion of African debt and written off $3.4 billion in the past ten years.
After 1,000 Chinese loans, including restructured Mozambican and Republic of Congo debt, were analysed, the researchers concluded that “the agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors”.
The Paris Club recently agreed to pause debt payment valued at $11 billion for the poorest 73 nations freeing up capital to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, not all eligible nations signed up citing fears of default ratings if debt obligations are not met.
The study discovers difficulties in renegotiating terms on International Bonds for African countries due to the disparate ownership structure making private creditors unwilling to grant complete debt relief, citing warnings on rating downgrades.
China accounts for about 20% of Africa’s external debt and lent over $150 billion to the continent between 2000-2018 the study reveals. Chinese President, Xi Jinping has urged global leaders to be more pragmatic with debt suspension for Africa.
The study says much of the terms of Chinese debt to Africa has not been transparent and the relief negotiations may follow the same path.
Orange, France’s largest telco operator, may come to Nigeria in months
Orange would also be looking at bolstering partnerships with health companies or institutions.
France’s largest telecom operator, Orange, is set to extend its tentacles to Nigeria and South Africa.
Chief Executive Officer, Orange, Stephane Richard, who disclosed the news, said that the firm would make the move in a few months.
He said, “It could make sense to be in economies such as Nigeria and South Africa. If one considers there are things to do, the time frame I am considering is rather a few months than a few years.”
The Middle East and Africa, where Orange has a presence in 18 countries, is the company’s fastest-growing market.
What you need to know: There are chances that the company may eye payment transfers (mobile) in Nigeria.
That is because it makes the largest chunk of its revenue from payment transfers (Middle East), a key part of the group’s diversification into financial services, and Nigeria, which is the most populous black nation, is always an attraction.
Meanwhile, earlier in 2020, Orange had stated that it was bringing its operations in the Middle East and Africa into a single entity, paving the way for a potential listing of the operations that could raise cash to invest in overseas expansion.
“Orange would also be looking at bolstering partnerships with health companies or institutions,” he added.
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