In the last few years, entrepreneurship in Turkey has become a more popular business choice, with an increasing interest from the youth. In the applications to our company, while the experience of having started one’s own business was a rarity just a few years ago, we now see it as a growing trend in CV’s belonging to a certain young age group.
While interviewing entrepreneurs who had once found their own business but now turn to corporate jobs, I always curiously ask about the factors that make them want to work in a corporate company now, what experiences they had in their own jobs, what they were happy about and what disappointed them. Based on the feedback I have received through the interviews, below I will try to present five important points that entrepreneurs often overlook.
1- A training on entrepreneurship, albeit a basic one: Together with that is offered online today, it’s quite easy to get information. I believe it is very beneficial for entrepreneurs to get trainings on issues such as how to conduct market research, what competitor analysis is, how you could get into a niche market, what brands, patents or petty patents are and how you would protect them, what the types of companies and their respective advantages and disadvantages are, how financial plans are made, how you can accommodate strategies and financial projections with each other, what leadership is, how team work is carried out, etc., before starting their business. I think such trainings can decrease the risks in entrepreneurship, which are far from being low.
2- Understanding Accountancy and Finances: Never ever underestimate accounting. If you’re an entrepreneur, you have not the option to say ‘I do my business, I don’t know about the accounts and calculation stuff, I leave that to my partner/ accountant.’ The Union of Accountants Chambers in Turkey has great trainings. Do choose and attend into some of these. Learn how to read balance sheets, what accounting is for, and some basic concepts such as revenues, expenses, debts, assets, cash flow, corporation tax and value added tax. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, understanding these things will always be important for you. Keep in mind that you can never direct a work that you can’t account for the finances.
3- Choosing a lawyer and an accountant: An entrepreneur should absolutely be working with a good lawyer. If you’re saying ‘Well, my neighbor is a lawyer, she/he should be OK to work with,’ or ‘a friend had just graduated from law school, she/he won’t charge me much’, you’re on the wrong path. Your lawyer should be with you right from the beginning, while you’re negotiating on the conditions as partners and your main contract is being drafted. A lawyer should be able to advise you on matters that you don’t find important now, but may turn vital for your company in the future. The same goes for your financial advisor and your accountant as well. You shouldn’t take accountancy as a tool to pay as low tax as possible, but as a critical function that shows your company’s financial situation in the most accurate way possible, and take it very seriously. You should know right from the beginning that you can hardly find an investor for a start-off that hasn’t kept its books well, or doesn’t have assuring financial tables.
4- Contingency reserve to keep you going for a minimum of six months: I’m not talking about your company’s contingence reserve, you should think of yourself as well. You had trainings, you made your business plan, you hired a lawyer and an accountant, and you started your company. Now, what if things just don’t go as you’ve planned and you need some extra cash for yourself or the company? Have you saved some money to keep you going for at least six months, or have you created an alternative to strap yourself into? I’ve met so many entrepreneurs who had started with a good idea but couldn’t go on for these reasons, and had to go work in a corporate company to make ends meet.
5- Awareness: This is a point about the psychological part of the work. The moment you decide to be an entrepreneur, you’re actually making a choice. You know that, right? And do you think this choice suits your own personal traits? Can you explain why you’re doing this, first to yourself and then to others, honestly and sincerely? Are you ready to keep going with this work tirelessly, unyieldingly, struggling with myriads of hardships, and to rise back to your feet even more strongly after each blow? And, can you say this really is you? Do take a look at the survey produced by Prof. Daniel Isenberg at http://www.bidc.org/surveys/entrepreneurship-you. Is entrepreneurship positively your biggest dream and desire in your business life?
Gathering the courage to start one’s own business, plus, being able to do that in a society where failure is reproved, is not easy at all. But when we do have that courage and start off, we shouldn’t disregard these important factors, so that we don’t hit the buffers after wending our way.