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Building the Entrepreneur
February 27, 2012
Making the Plan Fluid
June 17, 2016

Born or Bred

Many people ask: When did you discover your entrepreneurial spirit? Did you do things differently as a child? Did you know you were going to become an entrepreneur or did someone influence you? What drove you to start a company?

Typically we can trace back to the times when we thought about things differently, the times we innovated and challenged the conventional and the times we tried to do and experimented with many things. Mr Inderjit Singh – The Art and Science of Entrepreneurship

There has been many a time in our lives where we were imaginative, we tried something new or we came up with new ideas. As we grew older, some of us stopped dreaming or trying new things. This was due to the fear that stopped us.

We actually do dream and do come up with creative ideas, even now, but we fail to take the next step to materialize it.

Instead we step back saying, that we are not creative and we look for excuses not to take the next step. We procrastinate, allowing our fears to take over. “What if it does not work? Ohh, people will not pay for this, it’s not worth my time. Or maybe I should get some experience first?

Sounds familiar?

Well it does to me. Many times I have had such thoughts and have never gone beyond the idea stage. Always thinking that I am not good enough, doubting my abilities. It’s more comforting to make excuses than to make an attempt to try.

So the question is; Will I ever be able to do it?
The answer: Only if I nurture my mind to do it.

The only way to achieve entrepreneurial success is to take action, to try, to experiment. Start by taking small steps today to work on your product/service. Put your ideas together, start looking at what you need, and like a school or office project start collating the costs and research together. There is no harm in calling for quotes or information. Once you have the numbers (cost) put them down and start looking if the business is feasible or not. Will you be able to make a return on your investment?

Start on a small scale, test and educate the market. Once you have a suitable following and have customers you can start to scale upwards.

Two years ago, I was looking into the idea of starting a sandwich wrap business. I had seen the business in other places and thought it would work brilliantly in Singapore’s Central Business District. I started by testing some recipes among friends and family to see if they liked it. Response was good, so I took it a step further.

I sat down to research if I could get this business going, starting to list the things I would need and their costs.

Below is the breakdown of what I was looking at.

Cost:

  • Hawker Stall (at a crowded food centre in the Central Business District)
  • Utilities (gas, water)
  • Staff: A cook, dishwasher
  • Cost of food products
  • Cooking utensils
  • Shopfront display

After tabulating my costs per month, I took a look to see how much would people pay for a wrap. Estimating $3 a piece, I divided it by my costs (fixed+variable) to see how many pieces I would need to sell. All in all I needed to sell close to 200 pieces a day to make a decent profit.

Looking at the crowd, I began to realize that the possibility of selling so many pieces a day was slim. So I decided not to go forward with the project. But I was glad that I had done the research and experimentation, as I now understand the business model much better, and since I have some good feedback it will really help me next time, if I decide to pursue such a project.

So start by testing out your recipes with your family, friends and community and if it is good, start exploring the options. You will realize that once you start putting pen to paper and organizing your research, it will become much easier to take the next step. Doors will also start to open when you talk to people about your idea, as they will see that you have done the groundwork and are capable and committed to run such a business.

If you look carefully, all the traits above can be nurtured, all it requires is an open mind, a willingness to learn and just some effort to work on each step. So start by taking those small steps, educating and nurturing yourself along the way.

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