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Book Excerpt: A Simple Guide to Starting a Business

Layla Rodrigues shares an excerpt from her book, A Simple Guide to Starting a Business, to help you take those first steps in getting your business off the ground.

Are you that sister that has always wanted to work from home, but has no clue as to what type of business to start, or how to go about starting one? How often have you begun projects only to stop after a couple of months?

 

You see being a mum, a wife, a teacher and all the other roles that Muslim women have, prevails anything else that we perhaps would like to do or try to do. However it is important to remember that you too have rights upon yourself and one of them is to be healthy, happy and content with your decisions and life.

 

If your dream or goal has been to start a business, then you must firstly do istikhara then take the correct steps to kick start your idea. However, before you begin I would like you to first consider a couple of points.

 

Running a business can be very stressful – time doesn’t stand still, so you will always be playing catch up with work and home duties. If you don’t understand the stages of business you may become overwhelmed, and even if you do you will still become overwhelmed with how fast everything changes, which means constantly adapting and changing your daily routine.

 

Ask yourself, is it the right time in my life to start this business? Will it benefit me and my family in this Dunya and in the Akhira? Will it stress me out to the point that my family may suffer because of it? Will it affect my character and my deen?

 

Once you have answered your inner questions and made istikhara for Allah’s (SWT) guidance and support, only then should you move forward with this adventure.

 

Before I take you on the journey of the basics of choosing a business idea I would like to remind you of a powerful ayah from the Quran about rizq:

Say, “Indeed, my Lord extends provision for whom He wills of His servants and restricts [it] for him. But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] – He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers.” (Al-Saba:39)

 

Ultimately Allah (SWT) is the one who provides, increases and decreases rizq so make du’a to Him and place your full trust in Him because whatever is meant to be will be and your decree was written before you were even born.

 

Business  Ideas

Everyone has a great idea! Ideas can be great but many ideas are just dreams that are not viable business opportunities. A good idea is a business opportunity that will succeed. A great business opportunity is one that has a product or service, that customers are willing to spend money on before it even reaches the market.

 

So what is a good idea?

Your business idea should be a solution to a problem.

 

Think about the following questions:

 

Does your idea have real evidence that it is needed?

Have you done market research?

Is your business idea profitable and scaleable?

Are there customers waiting to buy or pay for your service?

 

These are the questions that need to be answered, and will show you if it is worth spending time pursuing it. There are many resources online that can help you find out these facts, such as surveys. Ultimately the best feedback you can get is face to face. Approach your potential customers and ask them if they would be interested and even willing to commit to pre-order or pay for your product or service. You can even go as far as asking them to sign a contract or provide you with an advanced payment.  You need to be certain that it is needed.

 

Remember that if you plan to do a similar service to another company, then you need to ask yourself if you can compete with them and succeed.

 

Do you have any credible experience to manage this business? You need to be able to have some experience in that particular field in order to pursue this idea or have someone in your team that has knowledge or experience to help you succeed in it. Another option is to study a short course that will give you the skills needed to manage this business. You should also find a mentor who is successful in that particular field. You should also consider the following:

Is the right time to launch this type of business?

Do you have access to resources?

Do you have the contacts needed to push your idea forward?

Can you start your business without funding?

Do you have the funds needed to start this business idea if needed?

 

There are many businesses that can be started without much financial investment, but you will need a certain amount of money to kick start it. If you don’t want to spend anything then it is not worth you starting a business, as all business ventures need some investment. Even something as simple as buying a domain name will need to be paid for.

 

Other questions you need to ask yourself are:

Is it a firm business model?

Is your business unique?

Can your business be imitated?

How will you protect your business idea?

Who are your competitors, if any?

 

You need to be able to analyse the market and pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your product or service, it needs to be matched with similar successful companies. If there are competitors, what makes your business better than theirs?

 

What makes your business model so unique that it will actually generate revenue? Your business model needs to be able to grow. For example, Women2Women Market began with just providing stall holders market space, but now it provides education, members support and much more. If your business is not scaleable it means it is limited and not profitable. A business that generates less than £5000 a year is not a good business opportunity, so you need to identify if this is a viable opportunity.

 

Choosing a business Name

Choosing a business name is one of the most critical tasks you will have to do. Your business name will tell customers who you are and what you do. They need to resonate with the name and understand what your product or service is.

 

It is important to remember that your branding will be based on your chosen business name, so getting this correct is crucial.

Here are some tips to help you choose a business name:

  • The name should explain what your product or service is.
  • It should be memorable.
  • The name should be distinctive.
  • It should be short and specific if possible.
  • It should be easy to say
  • Depending on the type of business you are starting, your business name needs to be suitable for that field.

 

If the business you are starting is based on yourself, such as life coach, author, blogger or artist, the business can be named after YOU. The benefits of  this are that even if your business service changes, you won’t need to change the name. YOU still remain in business.

 

However if the nature of the business is a product, service or a business that can be sold one day, then it needs to be tailored to the product or service. For example, John opened “Daddy Day Care.” Immediately from the name, you know that this is a day care service managed and run by men or dads.

 

Once you have decided on your business name, ask your close friends and family what they think it means and stands for. If you are certain it is a good business name your next step is to now check if the name is available to purchase as a domain. You can also register the name and trademark it but this can work out expensive.

 

You can find more information on trademarks at www.gov.uk or if outside the UK, you can check www.nominet.co.uk.

 

I have given you some essential tools to picking a business idea and a name, now work hard on your business plan and don’t forget to gain more knowledge before fully starting this entrepreneurial journey so you are fully prepared to manage your business and succeed in it.

 

This is an excerpt from the book A Simple Guide to Starting a Business, which is available to buy from Amazon and www.women2womenmarket.co.uk

 

 

Layla Rodrigues is an author and the founder of Women2Women Market, an organisation that supports business women from all backgrounds, providing them with a space to trade, in a segregated environment, education and mentoring support. Layla is a creative individual, who fully supports women turning their skills into a business. Layla is also the founder of IFAM, a non profit organisation that educates non Muslim women about Islam. Layla is the mother of three children, she enjoys painting, writing and listening to poetry, and loves crafts.

 

www.women2womenmarket.co.uk

www.ifam.org.uk

email:women2womenmarket@gmail.com