In the second week of the Effective Living series on the Citi Breakfast Show, Business Coach, Andrew Ayiku, broke down his ten  steps to starting and sustaining a successful business.
In his submissions, he encouraged potential business owners to ask themselves series of questions to determine their strengths and weaknesses in sustaining a long-term business.
According to him, the first thing to bear in mind when starting a business is evaluating yourself and being honest with yourself.
“If you want to start a business now, do a personal evaluation. What skills do [you] have? Where lies [your] passion? Do [you] have any expertise? What is [your] comfort zone and are [you] willing to leave [your] comfort zone? Write it down and be honest because you cannot start any business if you are not honest with yourself,” he said.
He also demanded that potential business owners take into consideration the availability of a market for the business they want to start.
According to him sizing up the prospects of a business and whether there is a market for the product or service you intend to provide is key to ensuring its success.
“Think about the business you want to run, think about the business idea and ask yourself, is a customer available? Have you identified the customer? Do you have a customer profile? Is the customer segment profitable? And what is the impact of the product you want to sell?” he advised.
The next step in the realization of a successful business, Mr Ayiku said, is doing an analysis of the industry through market research. This, he believes, is very important in gaining an understanding of the market opportunity.
“How urgently do people need the thing [you] want to offer? Ask yourself what the market size is? Is there a market actually available? Are people already paying for a similar product? What will convince people to come and buy from [you]?” he said.
The fourth step, Mr Ayiku noted, is the registration of the business, making it official and giving it a business label, which he said, will give you and your business credibility.
“If you have a business idea, think about making it official. Is it going to be a sole proprietorship, limited liability, or a partnership? “he said.
Andrew Ayiku also spoke of the need to have a five to ten-page concept paper or an operational business plan for the implementation of your business idea.
He added that considering your finances is very critical to starting a business although he noted that some businesses could be started without a great amount of capital.
“If you are already working, how much money can you save towards the business you want to start up? Do you have family members who are willing and ready to give you money? Look for an incubator, an accelerator and be ready to get finances,” he said.
He explained that once your finances are sorted out it was important to focus on the development of your product, stressing that the quality of the product will either kill or grow your business.
“You cannot take any product or service into the market if it has not been developed. Companies have failed in Ghana just because they didn't have time to develop whatever product they want to sell. So make sure you sit and understand exactly what you are giving to the customer,” he said.
Mr. Ayiku was emphatic on the need to build a solid team to build your business with, stating that a company cannot be efficiently run by one person.
“Set a clear goal for your hiring protocol. Who do you want to work with? What is the work culture? Get a set of team members who believe in what you are doing,” he said.
The ninth step, Andrew Ayiku said was getting a location for your business. He, however, clarified that a location does not necessarily mean renting a big office, as potential business owners can start small; from their rooms or even their kitchen.
“I started from my room, I have table and chair, and when I sit there, that is when I start working. So you do not need that big office, that you have rented and are paying so much for but are selling nothing from. Start in a small place,” he said.
The last step to starting and sustaining a successful business, according to Mr. Ayiku is ‘trial and error.'
He believes that it is important for persons who want to start businesses to get out of their comfort zone and take risks if their business is to thrive.
“The tenth point is for you to prepare to trial and error. When you produce a product, get people to taste but do not give it to your family members as they may not be completely honest with you. So prepare for a trial” he finally added.