By Stephen Conchie, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Herbalife Nutrition Asia Pacific
At some point in your life, you may have dreamt to start your own business; interestingly, this aspiration is shared by the large majority in Thailand, nine out of ten (89%) Thais aspire to be a business owner one day.
In fact, Thais have strong desires to be entrepreneurs, emerging third out of the nine Asia Pacific markets surveyed in the recent Herbalife Nutrition Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Survey 2019, coming in behind our neighbours in Indonesia and the Philippines.
It did not come as a surprise that the statistics seem overwhelmingly in favour of entrepreneurship. The Thai government has recently introduced new stimulus economic measures that will boost the domestic economy and benefit all groups including small and medium enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs.
At the same time, based on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s latest report , Thailand’s established-business ownership rate increased from 15.18 per cent in 2017 to 19.58 in 2018. In addition, a large number of Thais (80.87%) have a positive attitude towards being entrepreneurs, which carries a high status in Thai society.
Today, with a supportive government and an enabling environment that encourages people in Thailand to start their own businesses, how can new entrepreneurs make better, more informed decisions before taking the leap to bring their aspirations to reality?
Be honest about your entrepreneurship dreams and motivations
When we spoke to aspiring entrepreneurs as part of the Herbalife Nutrition Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Survey 2019, the majority of them are convinced of the benefits that come with owning their own business. They cited the top three key benefits associated with entrepreneurship as “the ability to be my own boss” (69%), “the potential to grow my income” (65%) and “flexibility in work life/schedule” (59%).
These sentiments were echoed by the majority of current entrepreneurs in Thailand, where 93% affirmed that the entrepreneurship journey has created greater happiness for them.
While these perceived benefits may provide the fuel to push aspiring entrepreneurs along in their journey, it is also wise to consider these two questions before taking the plunge:
Firstly, are you ready for a start-up lifestyle? Entrepreneurship shouldn’t be seen as just a quick way to get rich. In fact, starting a business is real hard work that requires continuous learning, adaptation and perseverance.
Secondly, do you have a clear purpose for starting a business? Having a well-defined purpose, and a clear idea of the impact you want to make with your business can provide greater motivation and fulfilment to help you to remain focused on the entrepreneurship journey.
Work on reducing the entrepreneurial risks
While Thais expressed strong inclinations towards entrepreneurship, many of them still find the entrepreneurship dream a rather daunting one. When asked about the barriers to entrepreneurship, the top 3 concerns were uncertainties about the initial start-up cost, the fear of the business not being successful and lack of financial and market knowledge.
Here are some suggestions to reduce the perceived risks.
Getting a like-minded business partner on board can make a world of difference – it could be the key to making or breaking the business. Having a comrade, a business partner or a support community can provide the knowledge and expertise that fills missing gaps, which is a greater motivation to succeed. At Herbalife Nutrition, we provide one-to-one mentorship, as well as marketing and sales training for our members to support them in building their businesses with clear strategies to meet the changing consumer demands.
If you are concerned about risks, start small and build a sustainable foundation before growing your business. Somewhere along the way, you may find yourself distracted by the challenges that come with entrepreneurship and lose sight of the purpose of your business. In times like this, it is important to stay motivated to shift your focus back on track and concentrate on making positive changes to your business, one step at a time.
Starting a business will always come with its challenges as well as benefits. To maximise the chances of success, it is imperative to first figure out your key goals and objectives. To the new entrepreneur even this may seem complex and daunting but with the right support and a community of people with similar aspirations, you can be assured that the journey will definitely be rewarding.