Amanda Barrett-Utunen from New Zealand set up her own business Jumping Beans English Daycare after graduating from PIRAMK University of Applied Sciences. (PIRAMK merged with Tampere University of Applied Sciences in 2010.) She gave the following advice in her speech during the Career Evening 2008 organised by the SITR university network 5.2.2008 for the international students.
"By way of a summary, I would like to emphasise what I feel have been the main points to remember when starting up a business.
The first is financial security. I have been told many times that it takes at least two years for any business to get up and running. During that time, there may be periods when you find yourself paying into the business instead of the business paying you. This is not even just in the beginning. A business can have its ups and downs any time.no matter how long it has been operating. So make sure your own personal finances are sufficient to carry you through the slow patches.
Have a clear idea of what service you want to provide and how you mean to do it. Since I started up I have had a few suggestions from parents as to how I should operate! It is of course important to listen to the customer, but in all practicality you have to draw the line somewhere.
Remember all permits. If you're not sure, ask the governing body responsible for the type of business you are starting. In my case it was the children's day care division of the Social Offices.
Know yourself. You have heard of SWOT analysis. Recognise your strengths, your weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Be honest with yourself, but remember these will change as you change and grow with your business.
Nurture a network of organisations or individuals to help and advise. Don't try and do everything on your own. You will learn a lot as you go but use advice and help when offered.
Amongst a lot of good advice I got from the business course I attended, were these two points: The first: provide a better service than the customer is paying for. A satisfied customer will come back! The second is that actions speak louder than words. Be seen to be doing!"
SITR/ Maria Virtanen 15.4.2008