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Do you want more? 

If you are eager to continue the journey after the NY Start Up -compay you have plenty of opportunities. We have compiled a checklist for the next steps. Feel free to exploit it and remember that the most important thing in entrepreneurship is your attitude.

Step 1: Crystal clear idea

1: Crystal clear idea

When you start a business, first one has to decide what the idea is – what are you selling, to whom and how? How do you differ from competition? What is your “thing”?

A business plan or canvas helps as you consider the business idea and go over your strengths and skills. Studying the entire industry your company is possibly entering is beneficial. You give yourself a chance to see what kind of product or service might have a consumer demand. A successful entrepreneur invests in image – terms such as branding and productization are discussed. Remember, only having a good idea and enthusiasm are not enough – one needs customers who will return time and time again for the product or service.

The most important things about starting a business are attitude and enthusiasm: dare to network, dare to ask for help, dare to fail – DARE TO TRY!

Riku Korhonen, RikuCo Oy, JA Company program 2012–2013

Continuing someone else’s business?

Establishing a business does not have to start from scratch. One option to consider is buying an existing company. You may receive, for example, valuable expertise, customers and an established position in the market. Many businesses in Finland are facing a change in ownership or searching for a successor.

A business plan or canvas

You already have experience in creating a business plan from the JA Company program or the JA 24h camp. Was the plan useful? Is a business plan always needed? Others say “just start and do,” that the idea clarifies while doing business and getting to know customers. There is a trickle of truth to this – with trial and error you see what works and what does not.

We all discern activities in different ways. Creating an operative plan, which helps in understanding the whole, is important. You might test a “lean canvas” instead of a traditional business plan. A canvas portrays the entire business on one paper: clientele, competition, product or service demand, operation principals and cost efficiency. A good plan does not need to be lengthy if its idea convinces the investors, partners and customers. Plans assist in achieving goals. Plans are better if a Plan B is included, just in case something goes wrong. Risk is inherent in business, but not the actual purpose of business. A good entrepreneur thinks of ways to reduce risks in various ways.

Focus on the brand

A brand means the customer’s image of a business. Quite often, a customer bases his/her opinion of your product or service’s value on the brand. Productization is another way to speak about defining a product, service or personal expertise and making it known.

You should put emphasis on building a good image from the start. Branding or productization eases operative planning and creates a comprehensive story as a backbone for the business.

Consider how others work in your field and which images relate to them. What kind of images could you create in order to stand out from competitors? What is your personal style? Make your product or service unique! Think about your customers. To whom is your product or service suitable? Which values bring customers to you? Are you faster? More environmental? Do you take customer service to its peak?

Remember to fulfill your promises or the image of your business will be all talk and no action. A brand will not be built overnight; it stems from satisfied customers. It’s not the first customer who is the most important – it’s the customer who keeps returning.

Brand management relates to accountability, of which you can read more in Step 8 and about immaterial property rights in Step 10.

NY-vuoden jälkeen rekisteröimme heti oikean yrityksen eikä toiminta juurikaan muuttunut, koska jo NY-kurssilla toimimme oikeilla tuotteilla ja aidoilla markkinoilla. Parasta NY-kurssin jälkeen on ollut alumnitoiminta, johon voi lähteä mukaan vaikkei yritystoimintaa jatkaisikaan. Jalumnien kautta olen saanut paljon kansainvälisiä kontakteja ja laajentanut verkostoani. Vuosittaiset seminaarit ympäri Eurooppaa ovat olleet unohtumattomia kokemuksia!

Tiina Jaatinen, Virkkuukoukussa Oy:n toimitusjohtaja, NY Oma yritys -ohjelmassa vuonna 2009–2010

 Links 

The Federation of Finnish Enterprises yrittajat.fi.

Job and training opportunities uranus.fi.

if you are planning to sell or buy business yritysporssi.fi and yrityskaupat.net.

About business model canvas on NY Start Up -program page and leanstack.com.

Step 2: Out of the blocks

2: Out of the blocks

The ways to establish a business are different depending on the type of company. All companies have the following in common:

  • Selecting the company type
  • Registering the company
  • Opening a bank account
  • Acquiring insurance

Other actions in the beginning stages can be finding financing, registration proceedings and, in some sectors, permits. If you establish a one-person business and do not need capital, starting your own company won’t take much time at all!

Choose the type of business

When choosing the type of company, one needs to consider the nature of the business, number of personal and amount of capital necessary. If you are founding an enterprise by yourself, choosing a Toiminimi (Sole Trader) is often a common choice. A Charter is not needed; registering with the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, an official and public register of companies, will suffice.

The cold hard fact is that coming up with a name is the hardest part when starting a business.

Riku Korhonen, RikuCo Oy, JA Company program 2012–2013

If a significant amount of money is invested or you are not starting the business alone, the type of business could be Avoin Yhtiö (General Partnership), Kommandiittiyhtiö (Limited Partnership), Osakeyhtiö (Private Limited Company) or Osuuskunta (Cooperative). One option is franchising, which means you manage one or more business units that is from or part of a larger franchise or chain of business units. The franchise provides a ready-made model to follow. If your business changes in time, there may be the possibility to change the type of your business.

Make a Charter

A Charter enables you to register your company with the Registration Office. By registering, you get a Y-code, or BIC, for your company, which is needed to operate a business.

What is the Y-tunnus (Business ID or BIC)?

The Y-tunnus, or Y-code, is the Business ID or BIC. It individualizes a company. Your BIC is usually a prerequisite for you to do business. The Patent and Registration Office and the information there is public, allowing company information to be viewed. Search for companies at ytj.fi

Registering your company, online or by post with a form, is possible in many official establishments. The same information is sent to the Tax Administration including the Value Added Tax Register, Tax Prepayment Register and, if you company has or will have employees, the Employers’ Register.

Remember to find out if your company is classified as subject to a permit or declaration. You must register or declare before you start doing business.

Open a bank account and get YEL insurance

Opening a bank account for your enterprise will make your payment activity easy and smooth.

During the JA year, you might have been acquainted with the modern payment service Holvi.com. It gives you access to financial planning (budgeting), accounting and an online store. Holvi could be your business’s bank, as well.

The only compulsory insurance is YEL, which is an entrepreneur’s pension insurance. It must be bought if the expected annual income exceeds € 7 430.59 (as of 2014) and business activity lasts at least 4 months. YEL affects the amount of pension and the extent of Kela benefits. Remember to get YEL insurance within at least six months after you have officially started your business. A new entrepreneur gets a for reduced price during the first four years.

It is recommended to acquire other insurance depending on your company’s operations. Meet with the insurance company to discuss and estimate the risks and decide on the insurance. Remember to acquaint yourself with the terms of your insurance and ask for quotes from many insurance companies.

Insurance covers a large part of your company’s risks. The cost should be part of your budget and taken into consideration in pricing.

Do you need financing?

Need for money depends largely on your business idea – does the company provide services or products? Providing services usually does not require as large of an investment as product manufacturing might if you think about the required materials, machines and manufacturing space.

Consider your business capital needs carefully. Prepare yourself for surprises! You are able to concentrate on the essentials when you know your ‘cash register’ is on solid ground.

Elmar Paananen, CEO, Troll Capital Oy

Consider the amount of capital you are able to invest and how much outside financing is required. Capital from you (equity) can be money or other assets e.g. machines or manufacturing space. Borrowed capital is exactly that – a loan.

Banks and Finnvera, a special financing company, provide business loans. External investors or family members and friends may invest in or contribute borrowed capitol to a starting business. Draw up a written agreement even for small loans.

Ask for loan quotes from a number of banks since their terms often vary greatly. Which institution’s loan would best fit your business’s needs?

 Links 

You’ll find help to start your own business from The Federation of Finnish Enterprises and Finnish Enterprise Agencies guide Becoming an Entrepreneur in Finland (pdf).

Notification forms from Finnish Business Information System www.ytj.fi and also from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) and the Finnish Tax Administration. There’s also an easy to use service perustayritys.fi , where you can start a business in 15 minutes.

Ministry of Employment and the Economy offers a service on My Enterprise Finland to help found a business and acquire licenses.

Instructions how to name your company from Finnish Patent and Registration Office.

A startup grant for a new entrepreneur from Ministry of Employment and the Economy and Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. Finnish companies can apply for a grant type of financial support for the planning, development and training phases of commercially viable activities in developing countries from Finnpartneship.

Information for taxes from Finnish Tax Administration.

About employer’s insurance from Finnish Centre for Pensions. The Federation of Finnish Enterprises also offers information about insurances.

Holvi.com is a online payment service, where you can have an account with VAT, an easy online store and built-in invoicing with reporting.

For sending and receiving electronic invoices verkkolaskut.fi.

Step 3: Necessary paperwork

3: Necessary paperwork

When you have started your business and the money starts flowing, there is paperwork you need to take care of. Remember, you can always hire or ask for help!

Keep the books

All companies are obliged to take care of their accounting. Bookkeeping helps you follow the financial state, pay taxes and plan for the future.

As you sell your products or services and increase your business capital, make sure you leave a paper trail – keep all the vouchers, receipts and documents. Make sure all the documents and the receipts have VAT percentages and sums.

You may keep a simple account with income and expenses if you have a sole trader business. Other types of businesses must have double accounting, meaning every transaction must be accounted for. You, the entrepreneur, can outsource bookkeeping services from an accounting firm so you can concentrate on the rest of your business operations. The accounting firm can provide payroll computation and advice (e.g. on tax issues) in addition to accounting.

Queries and letters from officials are to be reacted with the parameters they allocated in order to avoid penalties, extra costs or other harm to your business.

Sinikka Kallioniemi, Financial Specialist, Revico Grant Thornton Oy

Accounting consists of revenue, expenses, capital, assets and liabilities. After the fiscal year, usually 12 months, a financial statement needs to be concluded with an income statement, balance sheet and annexes. In the case of larger companies, an annual report is submitted and the company selects an auditor.

Pay taxes

Each business is a taxpayer by law. VAT (value added tax), aka consumption tax, is another similarity. The consumer pays the tax with the price of the product or service and the business pays the government. Take note of the VAT when pricing your products or services.

Value added tax is usually paid according to the revenue and purchases every month, or every three moths if the turnover is less than € 50 000. If your company’s turnover is less than € 8 500 after one fiscal year, VAT is not paid.

In addition to VAT, depending on the type of company, you will pay either personal income tax or corporate tax. If you are registered as a trader with the Tax Administration, you must take care of your monthly tax prepayments. The Tax Administration determines the tax prepayment amounts for you according to your estimates.

If your business is small (less than € 25 000 annually), you may utilize the longer reporting and payment periods.

Save for a rainy day

Business does not always yield profit. Entrepreneurs are eligible for income-tied unemployment benefits. Joining an entrepreneur’s union from the very start of your business is a good idea. If you become unemployed but have been an entrepreneur for 18 months anytime within the past 4 years before the unemployment started, you are entitled to daily allowance payments. If you have been a member of a union for employees, you may apply for income-tied unemployment allowance after 12 months..

 Links 

NY-Yritys.fi is a portal for JA Company Program is where you can find help for financial management (in Finnish) and also materials and links.

What is VAT? In Youtube-video How does VAT work? you’ll get a two minute fast intruction.

Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy offers info about auditing and accounting.

More about taxes from Finnish Tax Administration site.

The unemployment fund for entrepreneurs and the self-employed The Unemployment Benefit Fund for Entrepre­neurs – AYT .

Step 4: Knock on every door

4: Knock on every door

No one can operate alone as a business or entrepreneur. A network of supporters is one of the most important assets in business and the key to success. You can develop your business through feedback.

Create as big network as possible  they are important when you’re founding a business and in a future work life!

Tomi Rytkönen, ADPineapple CEO, JA Company program 2011-2013 2

You surely have already created your own network during the JA course. Utilize them but also develop new ones. Keep your past relationships alive: friends, acquaintances, family, neighbors, schoolmates and colleagues. Did your JA company have an advisor from a company or are there entrepreneurs in your circle? Could you work together with a company? Make the best of your contacts!

Whenever you are in contact with anyone in a position to help, pull them aside! It’s good to be curious, so don’t be afraid of asking stupid questions!

Concentrate on your talents

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Concentrate on your passion and excellence, and get help with the rest. Find new partners to cooperate with and outsource functions e.g. hire a good accountant! This will leave you the time to focus on your key skills.

Network network network!

Information and assistance is readily available. Business advisors and the TE Office in your area can help in addition to the services provided by Yritys Suomi.

A variety of entrepreneurial organizations offer help and support to starting businesses. Through these organizations, you can create networks and meet potential clients. Get familiar with Suomen Yrittäjät (The Federation of Finnish Enterprises) and Nuorkauppakamari (Junior Chamber). Suomen Yrittäjät offers members free advice service over the phone and different networking events and courses. Via Suomen Yrittäjät, you can directly influence the state of entrepreneurs in Finland. Nuorkauppakamari’s members can develop leadership skills in projects and network both in Finland and abroad.

JA Alumni provides the participants of the JA programs a chance to network with other entrepreneurial youth.

Two years after the JA course, I joined JA Alumni because I wanted to make more friends, business contacts, better myself and learn new things. It was a wonderful choice because now I have unbelievably great friends all over the world. In Finland, I have found a network of like-minded alumni with whom I’m able to work.

Saku Loukonen, JA-YE Alumni Finland. JA Company program 2007-2008

 Links 

Information and services for your enterprise from Enterprise Finland.

Get to know the development associations and organisations of your own field and ask them for help. For example Diges ry is a national association for developing the creative industries in Finland and NeoGames ry is a member-based non-profit game industry organization.

Read more about The Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

Step 5: Get clients

5: Get clients

You, as an entrepreneur, have many opportunities. They won’t become a reality by themselves; you have to pick up the phone and go to people. Put yourself out there and take a chance.

Be brave and confident. Remember Step 4 and the importance of having a good network!

From marketing to making sales

In order for a business to work, it needs customers. One of the most important entrepreneurial skills is selling, which is the bottleneck for many beginning entrepreneurs.

Selling is hard work. Contact past customers and gather new ones constantly. Market you product! Phone your clients and make an appointment to present your idea, product or service face-to-face.

Advertise yourself and your ideas by going to a variety of events, fairs and seminars. You’ll have the opportunity to display your product or service and meet entrepreneurs and leaders from different fields. Make contacts where the customers are located.

Research tells us that emails are the second worst way to reach a person. Even though it’s easy, it’s easy for a customer to not read it and delete it. The top spot still belongs to traditional client meeting and a sales promotion.

Most effective ways to reach a consumer – top 8

1. Face-to-face meeting
2. Sales promotion or fair exhibitions
3. Phone call
4. Personal letter
5. Personal email
6. Social media
7. Email
8. Mass letter

Ollis Leppänen: Liiketoimintasuunnitelma roskakoriin (2013)

Count carefully because gains and losses consist of small parts. Good sales are vital- without them there is no company.

Saku Loukonen, JA Alumni Finland, JA Company program 2007-2008

How to encounter the customer

As mentioned before, client meetings are one of the most beneficial ways to market your product. It’s harder to turn something down when it’s offered face-to-face. Many also want to buy from a person, not a faceless company. Make personal customer relations a priority.

  • Briefly introduce yourself and what your business does – ignite interest. The next step will teach you to present or ‘pitch’ your idea
  • Be interested in your customer and his/her comments. Customers are the best teachers!
  • Keep why you called and what you are trying to achieve in mind

Remember to be responsible in client meetings, as discussed in Step 8.

Have you discussed with your clients about them having a potential problem which they would be to ready pay you for solving? Have you made sure your problem solving was appreciated by your clients in a way that they will order again and tell friends? Have you made sure that you respect your chosen clients so much that you are ready to serve them with a smile in the future? If you have, you are ahead of 95% of other beginner entrepreneurs.

Timo Herttua, Senior Product Manager, Rovio Cloud Services, JA Company program 2004-2005

Use technology and social media to your company’s benefit

Today, the Internet reaches most private people and businesses. Make the most of social media’s numerous channels and tools, from Facebook to Linkedin to YouTube.

Many online services are free to use. For example, write and send newsletters with ease using Mailchimp, create and publish surveys with Surveymonkey and Sumpli’s service handles meetings and events for you.

Client management is one of the essentials in business. Keep your client list in check and updated right from the beginning of operations. Excel is good, but some web-based services are excellent for keeping track of client activity.

No one has done anything ground-breaking alone. Get the people around you who take you forward, who give you energy and to whom you can also give back! This, my dear, is what they call adventure!

Mikko Jaatinen, partner, Nordic Business Forum Oy, JA Company program 2001-2002

Think about the best ways to reach your customers. Which marketing and distribution channels work for your target group? How do you make purchasing easy for customers? Utilize your network and get advice about using social media. Whichever tools you select, do not forget that social media needs on-going attention. A company’s Twitter account is for nothing if you’re not active and you never tweet.

Whatever means you apply, make sure the customer finds you. Does your website, email signature and social media profile have your company’s contact details?

Go global!

You are likely good at languages and the Internet is full of potential buyers. Why not reach for international clientele?

Many render guidance, education and financing to international companies. Assistance is given by public organizations, private consultants, such as the Chamber of Commerce, ELY Centers and numerous of development centers. Financing can be applied from e.g. the ELY Center and small loans from Finnvera.

Utilize social media when going international – it places you in the global market automatically. For example, Twitter has 230 million users including businesses. They share information about their services or products and build relationships with clients and partners. When you decide to position your company in the world of social media, consider starting in English.

 Links 

Make the best use of the time and effort you spend on the phone Inc.com -site.

Not getting response from your emails? Learn more The Simple Framework For Emails That Get To Yes.

Social media services for your company:

Networking and publishing:
– Facebook
– Linkedlin
– Twitter
– Issuu (free digital publishing platform)
– Slideshare (platform for presentations, infographics, documents and more).
– Youtube
– Vimeo (free service to watch, upload, share videos)
– Popular blog-services BloggerTumblr and wordpress.comVuodatus.net is a Finnish service.
– Myspace (profile and blog)
– Prezi (online presentations)

E-communication:
– Apsis (newsletters and emails)
– Survey Monkey (tool for surveys)
– Mailchimp (free service for newsletters)
– Doodle (scheduling tool)
– Sharepoint (cloudservice for sharing and working with a team, organizing your projects etc.)

Customer relationship management (CRM):
– Goolge Apps -account is free and it’s not mandatory to buy Google Apps for Business services to use free services. Google offers Marketplace Apps tools for customer relationship management, but free Google services benefit your company as well.
– Highrise
– Severa (manage individual projects from sales to billing)
– SugarCRM

Project management platforms:
– Basecamp
– Yammer (helps employees collaborate across departments, locations and business apps)
– Skype

Cloud storages and services:
– Dropbox
– Google Drive
– Microsoft Cloud

Planning international business? There are services for the company planning to go international:
– ELY Centres, funding and training
– TEKES, funding
– Finnvera, loans, financing and export credit guarantees
– Finnish Customs, help for import, export and paperwork
– Finpro, a national trade, internationalization and investment development organization in Finland.
– European Small business portal, portal gathers together all the information provided by the EU on and for SMEs, ranging from practical advice to policy issues.
– Finnish Chambers of Commerce, information and help
– Finnfacts, promotes Finnish expertise around the world online and through the international media.
– Enterprise Europe Network, internationalisation services and knowhow
– Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, provides companies with public services related to export promotion and internationalisation

Step 6: Rock everybody!

6: Rock everybody! (and remember to smile)

Rock on with a great pitch and elevator speech! The term “elevator speech” comes from being able to convince a listener during one ride in an elevator. It’s helpful when you ask for financing or meet a potential client or partner. Pitching also helps to test the clarity of your idea or business model.

The idea behind the pitch is to sell your thoughts to the listener. Being able to present your company and its goals in a tight package is the objective. The pitch is a compact and positive display of your company with a punch. Everyone can describe their idea in length, but concise explaining is an art form that needs practice.

Entrepreneurs need a positive attitude and strong faith in what they do. Customers must be convinced you know what you’re doing!

Tomi Rytkönen, ADPineapple CEO, JA Company program 2011-2013

You won’t get a second chance to pitch to the same person, so rehearse your speech well before. Keep in mind, your pitch is more like naturally telling a story than giving a speech.

How to pitch

Place yourself in the role of the listener and consider what are the qualities your business possesses that definitely need to be heard. You must convince the listener during the first minute or it won’t happen at all.

Your pitch has to describe what the problem is and how you solve it. What is the use for your listener? You speech must be easily understandable and memorable. If your grandmother and friends understand your pitch, you’ve on the right track!

Remember to smile when you present. You may move around a little if it helps you to concentrate and be comfortable. Standing still might make your legs shiver. Learn your pitch so well so that you don’t even need a paper or Powerpoint.

Remember, less is more! If you can’t get your point across in three minutes, you are trying to tell your audience too much!

Be prepared because you never know what is needed in the pitch. Keep in mind that the meaning of your elevator speech is to ”grab” a client or investor. Later on, the client will considering the purchase and may ask specific information about the product or service. You must be prepared to answer.

 

 Links 

Easy to use Pitch Builder.
The way to suceed is to master the “elevator pitch.” Sean Wise explains how: The Elevator Pitch (youtube-video).

A word as a pitch? An article from Harward Business School: Forget Your Elevator Pitch — What’s Your Dumbwaiter Pitch?. There is also an article how to use a smartphone to make an impression.

Step 7: Learn from your mistakes

7: Learn from your mistakes

If you don’t try, you’ll never fail, but you won’t succeed either. Coming up short is not only inevitable – very few are born champions – it’s also a necessity for developing and learning.

A good entrepreneur knows the importance of noticing mistakes and finds a way to rectify them. If you don’t gather experience from failure during your life, you will not never be better than mediocre. You learn much more from mistakes than success – learning the wrong way will reveal the right way and the reason for it.

Life is about growing. Develop into something better. Keep in mind, failure is a natural part of growing – let failure excite you, not let you down! Give. You get most when you give. When you learn something new, teach it to someone who has use for it.

Mikko Jaatinen, Partner, Nordic Business Forum Oy, JA Company program 2001–2002

Through the JA Company year, you must have made mistakes and learned from them. Maybe your JA business didn’t exactly fire from all cylinders, but the experience gave you an opening to evaluate what went wrong. Was there too little time? Were you able to sell? Did you emphasize the wrong things? Did the business idea on paper not work in practice or was the pricing off?

Be proud of your failures – surely you are not alone! Nowadays even a national day of failure is celebrated.

Every day is a new beginning!

The entrepreneurial life not only demands the ability to tolerate and learn from mistakes but also requires tenacity and persistence when things are not going according to plan. J.K. Rowling was told, ”Children’s books will make you no money,” and Oprah Winfrey was told, ”You are wrong for television.” Steve Jobs’ Lisa-computer almost bankrupted Apple and Angry Birds is its inventors 52nd game. If it’s mere smooth sailing for your company from the very beginning, good for you! If not, welcome to the club of the mortals who do not succeed with the first try.

Persistence does not, obviously, imply you should pound your head against a wall. If something does not take off, you might want to reflect on what went wrong before the next attempt.

 Links 

Onlinecollege.org has a list 50 famously successful people who failed at first. Similar points show MotivationSuccess video Famous Failures.

Step 8: Be responsible

8: Be responsible

Starting as an entrepreneur, it is important to paint a trustworthy image of yourself and your business. It indicates trust in your word and reliability in your agreements. Your company’s reputation does not grow from slogans and high-tech websites- it is shaped by your actions.

Promises, no matter big or small, must be kept. If you have promised to ship a product before a certain date, make sure the customer gets the merchandise as promised. Be on time to sales appointments and keep your word on reduced prices, even if you notice that it’s not the best deal for your company. The most important customer is not the first one, but the one that comes back.

Quickly answering inquiries is a good sales advantage. Do not let clients or partners wait; take care of it instantly. Many top leaders and experts, despite being very busy, answer correspondence immediately. If they can make the time, why can’t you?

Make sure that you remember the things that you have agreed. If you don’t use a calendar, start using one now!

Do what you like! When you wake up in the morning and leave for work with a good feeling, you know you have the right job.

Tomi Rytkönen, AD Pineapple CEO, JA Company program 2011-2012

A good entrepreneur takes responsibility, even if a matter supposedly unrelated to her/him goes wrong. For example, you agreed upon an appointment months before and the other party forgets. It was your counterpart’s mistake, but if you had sent a reminder the day before, you might have a new client.

Make responsibility part of the brand

In addition to your personal responsibility, one should highlight accountability in business practices. Responsibility should be evident in the work force, treatment of people and environmental considerations. Responsible operations help your customer to happily purchase your product or service with a clear conscience.

Financial responsibility means e.g. legitimate accounting, fair salaries and complying with the collective labor agreements. Irresponsibility, on the other hand, might mean the late payment of salaries or tax evasion.

Social responsibility means showing consideration for people. An enterprise caring about the employees’ job satisfaction and observing their supply chain for misconduct, such as child labor or illegally low wages. Social responsibility can be seen as volunteer work or fair trade collaboration, as well.

Ecologically responsible companies strive to prevent pollution and climate change. The environment and costs can be saved by, for example, using renewable and recycled materials. You may decide not to print brochures and use electronic means to communicate instead. Environmentally responsible means of production may even bear new ecological innovations!

Step 9: Remember to relax

9: Remember to relax

Entrepreneurship takes discipline and persistence. The starting phase of the business is the time to work especially hard to build up your customers and reputation. Your company’s financial results have largely to do with how you are feeling about your life.

Take on all possibilities, but learn to say no.

Tomi Rytkönen, AD Pineapple CEO, JA Company program 2011–20122

The good and the bad of having your own business is that the company’s success is usually directly related to your own efforts. This does not, incidentally, mean working yourself to death. Allow yourself a proper night’s sleep and breaks from working. Delegate– you can’t do everything yourself!

Working either 24 hours a day or eight hours a day is your decision. The quality of your work is notably better if you feel healthy and alert. Go for a run or walk! Good ideas tend to come better with some fresh air than stuck in the office.

Try Europe and foreign trade minister Alexander Stubb’s way to endure at work:

“I proceed from 8+8+8 – thinking. Eight hours work, eight hours, one way or another, free time and eight hours rest. All stems from rest – leaving rested in the morning”
(Source: 925 Design.fi)

 Links 

Watch videos on Design 925 -site, how famous people are managing in their jobs.

Step 10: Looking at the future: Will I make a living?

10: Looking at the future: Will I make a living?

When you have started a company, you will surely have its success on your mind.

As an entrepreneur, you follow the company’s profitability and operations regularly. If you made a business or canvas model, it tells where and how your company makes. Recognize the functions which a easily and quickly profitable in the beginning in order to get the business running. If at any point the business plan is not working, fix it! Invent new ideas and let go of the ineffective ones.

After the first year, it pays to evaluate the company’s operations and profitability from the following angles:

  • Has your product or service found the target group? Does it have competitors?
  • Is the pricing right?
  • How have you advanced sales and have you succeeded in marketing?
  • Has the clientele stabilized?
  • Does the product or service need to be changed or replaced? Should you widen the variety of products? Reduce the number of products or services to concentrate on the best selling one?
  • Is the location of the enterprise suitable?
  • Has your company met risks and were you prepared for them?
  • Was the financial plan accurate? Have stayed within the budget?
  • What kind of changes has there been in your industry? Are there new competitors? How has the market place developed?
What you learn as a youngster, you master as a grown-up,” applies to entrepreneurship perfectly. The possibilities to develop oneself are limitless and one is able to utilize these skills in everyday life.

Riku Korhonen, RikuCo Oy, JA Company program 2012-2013

Own your ideas!

Finns are bad at protecting their ideas. If you come up with a good product or concept for a service, it should be protected! This provides security and you will ease your enterprise’s operations in the future.

Ideas, services and products can be protected by a patent, utility model, design protection and copyright. Registering your domain on the Internet is protecting your enterprise since registering makes sure that no one can use the same web address.

In a similar manner, you protected your enterprise’s name when you registered your business with the Patent and Registration Office.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) should be protected as well. Find out which protection method suites you and how you should apply. You should handle IPR related matters in the early stages. Assistance can be found at the Patentti- ja rekisterihallitus (Patent and Registration Office) and from the ELY Center’s innovation experts.

Excited about entrepreneurship?

You might want to become an entrepreneur based on your own hobby or interests. For many, it is a way of life regardless of the branch of business.

Consider what kind of entrepreneur you want to be. Do you have your “own thing” and an enterprise is an attached necessity? Or do you wish to capitalize on entrepreneurial skills on a larger scale?

When you master the entrepreneurial basics in one field, you are able to utilize your skills elsewhere and better yourself continuously. Again, keep in mind your networks: you may start a new project with new acquaintances, start new business and close or sell old ones. You could even become an advisor or instructor to young entrepreneurs!

Don´t give up!

Entrepreneurship is enterprising, meaning daily hustle and bustle, not never-ending paperwork. At times one might feel like things are going south and your enterprise is going nowhere. When this happens – take a little break to think everything over.

Remember, your enterprise does not necessarily make you a living instantly. Your own business is only one source for income. You can also be employed by another company. Through that, you can get new ideas and insight for your enterprise to develop your own operation.
Good luck!

 Links 

IPR University Center is an institute established jointly by five Finnish universities. The Institute coordinates and promotes education of and research into issues of intellectual and industrial property rights.

More information about patents Finnish Patent and Registration OfficeThe European Patent Office (EPO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

You can find fi-domains from Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) site.

Link tips

The links in this guide can be found in two places: Links related to the topic can be found  at the end of each step . All links can also be found in this section categorized by the topic.

What is required to be an entrepreneur? Do you have what it takes to be one?

You’ll find help to start your own business from The Federation of Finnish Enterprises and Finnish Enterprise Agencies guide Becoming an Entrepreneur in Finland (pdf).

Job and training opportunities uranus.fi.

Continuing someone else’s business?

If you are planning to sell or buy business yritysporssi.fi and yrityskaupat.net.

Business model

About business model canvas on leanstack.com.

Founding business

Notification forms from Finnish Business Information System www.ytj.fi and also from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) and the Finnish Tax Administration. There’s also an easy to use service perustayritys.fi , where you can start a business in 15 minutes.

Ministry of Employment and the Economy offers a service on My Enterprise Finland to help found a business and acquire licenses.

Instructions how to name your company from Finnish Patent and Registration Office.

Insurances

About employer’s insurance from Finnish Centre for Pensions.

The Federation of Finnish Enterprises also offers information about insurances.

Financial support

A startup grant for a new entrepreneur from Ministry of Employment and the Economy and Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. Finnish companies can apply for a grant type of financial support for the planning, development and training phases of commercially viable activities in developing countries from Finnpartneship.

The unemployment fund for entrepreneurs and the self-employed The Unemployment Benefit Fund for Entrepre­neurs – AYT .

Finance

Holvi.com is a online payment service, where you can have an account with VAT, an easy online store and built-in invoicing with reporting.

For sending and receiving electronic invoices verkkolaskut.fi.

Accounting

Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy offers info about auditing and accounting.

Taxes

Information about taxes on Finnish Tax Administration.

What is VAT? In Youtube-video How does VAT work? you’ll get a two minute fast intruction.

Networking

Information and services for your enterprise from Enterprise Finland.

Get to know the development associations and organisations of your own field and ask them for help. For example Diges ry is a national association for developing the creative industries in Finland and NeoGames ry is a member-based non-profit game industry organization.

Read more about The Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

SOME

Not getting response from your emails? Learn more The Simple Framework For Emails That Get To Yes.

Social media services for your company:

Networking and publishing:
– Facebook
– Linkedlin
– Twitter
– Issuu (free digital publishing platform)
– Slideshare (platform for presentations, infographics, documents and more).
– Youtube
– Vimeo (free service to watch, upload, share videos)
– Popular blog-services BloggerTumblr and wordpress.comVuodatus.net is a Finnish service.
– Myspace (profile and blog)
– Prezi (online presentations)

E-communication:
– Apsis (newsletters and emails)
– Survey Monkey (tool for surveys)
– Mailchimp (free service for newsletters)
– Doodle (scheduling tool)
– Sharepoint (cloudservice for sharing and working with a team, organizing your projects etc.)

Customer relationship management (CRM):
– Goolge Apps -account is free and it’s not mandatory to buy Google Apps for Business services to use free services. Google offers Marketplace Apps tools for customer relationship management, but free Google services benefit your company as well.
– Highrise
– Severa (manage individual projects from sales to billing)
– SugarCRM

Project management platforms:
– Basecamp
– Yammer (helps employees collaborate across departments, locations and business apps)
– Skype

Cloud storages and services:
– Dropbox
– Google Drive
– Microsoft Cloud

International business

Planning international business? There are services for the company planning to go international:
– ELY Centres, funding and training
– TEKES, funding
– Finnvera, loans, financing and export credit guarantees
– Finnish Customs, help for import, export and paperwork
– Finpro, a national trade, internationalization and investment development organization in Finland.
– European Small business portal, portal gathers together all the information provided by the EU on and for SMEs, ranging from practical advice to policy issues.
– Finnish Chambers of Commerce, information and help
– Finnfacts, promotes Finnish expertise around the world online and through the international media.
– Enterprise Europe Network, internationalisation services and knowhow
– Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, provides companies with public services related to export promotion and internationalisation

Pitch

Make the best use of the time and effort you spend on the phone Inc.com -site.

Easy to use Pitch Builder.

The way to suceed is to master the “elevator pitch.” Sean Wise explains how: The Elevator Pitch (youtube-video).

A word as a pitch? An article from Harward Business School: Forget Your Elevator Pitch — What’s Your Dumbwaiter Pitch?. There is also an article how to use a smartphone to make an impression.

Hyvä paketti yrityksen vastuullisuusasioista löytyy NY Vuosi Yrittäjänä ohjelman portaalista ny-yritys.fi (NY-yrittäjän työkalupakki / Vastuullinen liiketoiminta)

Learn from your mistakes

Onlinecollege.org has a list 50 famously successful people who failed at first.

Similar points show MotivationSuccess video Famous Failures.

Remember to relax

Watch videos on Design 925 -site, how famous people are managing in their jobs.

IPR (intellectual property rights)

IPR University Center is an institute established jointly by five Finnish universities. The Institute coordinates and promotes education of and research into issues of intellectual and industrial property rights.

More information about patents Finnish Patent and Registration OfficeThe European Patent Office (EPO) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Book tips

 JA’s booktips 

People in JA office and  young people in JA-programs have read books about entrepreneurship that are worth to recommend:

collins-jim-hyvasta-paras

Good to Great (2010)
Jim Collins

Keskinkertaisuus ei kannata. Miksi olla jossain asiassa maailman toiseksi parhain, kun voisi olla paras. Kirjassa esitellään Siili-konsepti, jonka avulla yritys voi löytää uusia toiminta-alueita, joille laajentua tai siirtää toimintaansa. Kaikki lähtee innostuksesta. Hyvä kirja, suosittelen. – Arsi

9789526794600_200

Taivas+Helvetti (2013)
Terho Puustinen & Mika Mäkeläinen

(arvio tulossa)

BONNIER_kannet_print

Pölli tästä (2011) &
Pölli tästä 2 (2012)
Jari Parantainen

Parantainen panee miettimään asioita käytännön esimerkkien avulla. Lyhyitä tekstejä on helppo lukaista vaikka kauppajonossa. – Leea

Rich-Dad-Poor-Dad-Robert-T-Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad (2000)
Robert Kiyosaki

Mainio kirja siitä, miten rahaan kuuluisi suhtautua ja mitä rikastuminen oikeastaan on. Yrittäjyydessä pelataan paljon rahan kanssa, joten on hyvä tietää rahasta. Jokaisen yrittäjän “must read”. – Mikko

9524753375

Johtajuuden 21 kiistatonta lainalaisuutta (2009)
John C. Maxwell

Luottamus, kunnioitus, esimerkillisyys, valtuuttaminen… johtajuudessa on monia asioita, jotka tulee huomioida. Yrittäjäkin toimii johtajana omassa yrityksessään. 21 lainalaisuutta herättävät ajatuksia kuinka voin toimia sekä johtajana että ihmisenä paremmin. Tärkeimpänä kolahduksena itselleni oli, että ihmiset eivät välitä siitä, kuinka paljon tiedät, ennen kuin tietävät kuinka paljon välität. Ajatuksia herättävä teos. – Arsi

Nautitaan raakana (2012)
Henkka Hyppönen

(arvio tulossa)

9513173267

Liiketoimintasuunnitelma roskakoriin (2013)
Ollis Leppänen

Onko sinusta yrittäjäksi? Ollis Leppänen on kirjoittanut loistavasti, mitä aloittavan yrittäjän tulee ottaa huomioon yritystä perustaessaan. Mitä jos liiketoimintasuunnitelma ei olekaan se kaikista tärkein asia? Kirjassa on paljon herättäviä kysymyksiä ja oivaltavia esimerkkejä siitä, onko sinusta yrittäjäksi. Suosittelen! – Nita

The-Go-Giver 

The Go Giver (2008)
John Burg & John D. Mann

Tarina antamisesta. Inspiroiva ja hyvä muistutus siitä, mistä yrittäjyydessäkin on pohjimmiltaan kyse. Erinomainen kirja jossa menestyksen siemen. Helppo ja nopea lukea, mutta vaikutus on pitkä. – Mikko

emesson

Suhdemarkkinointi 4P:stä 30R:ään (2004) &
Many-to-many markkinointi (2005)
Evert Gummesson

Kirjailija on kirjoittanut kaksi teosta, jotka liittyvät markkinointiin. Toisessa kirjassa esiteltiin suhdemarkkinoinnin tilinpäätös, joka auttoi hahmottamaan yritykseni kannalta keskeisimmät suhteet, joihin panostaa, ja toisaalta suhteet, jotka eivät tuota lisäarvoa minulle tai yritykselleni. Teoksista sain ajatuksia myös markkinointisuunnitelman tekoon. Suosittelen lukemaan molemmat kirjat. – Arsi

EatThatFrog

Eat that frog! (2006)
Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy on ehdottomasti yksi suosikkivalmentajistani ja -kirjailijoistani. Erittäin käytännönläheinen tapa käsitellä asioita. Kaikki hänen tuotantonsa (myös äänikirjoina) on tutustumisen arvoista. “Eat that Frog” kertoo parhaimmat tavat menestymiseen ja miten saada enemmän aikaan vähemmällä ajalla. – Mikko

5484700_2

Asiakaspalvelun pikku-jättiläinen (2010)
Tom Lundberg, Juhani Töytäri

Oletko kuvitellut asiakaspalvelun olevan helppoa? Tämä kirja auttaa avaamaan silmäsi. Hyvän asiakaspalvelijan täytyy osata lukea hyvin ihmisiä. Asiakaspalvelutyötä tehneelle kirja sisältää muutamia itsestäänselvyyksiä mutta joita on hyvä palauttaa mieleen. Mukava ja helppolukuinen kirja. – Arsi

PosLogon

Ajatusten Aamiainen (1999)
Juhani Töytäri, Positiivarit Oy

Tulee joka arkipäivä sähköpostiisi ilmaiseksi. Parhaimpia tapoja aloittaa työpäivä on lukea tämä sähköposti ensimmäisenä. Sisältää hyviä ja positiivisia tarinoita, sitaatteja ja hyvän mielen. Aikaa lukemiseen menee maks. 5 minuuttia. www.ajatustenaamiainen.fi – Mikko

Have you read all of them already? Want more?

More tips and essays from Tiimiakatemia.

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