Happy New Year! It is now 2010 and I hope you are looking forward to a great and wonderful year ahead. This is the time of the year when I am often asked, what’s a good business or investment to get into?

So for my very first column of the year, I wanted to share something basic but very often overlooked about succeeding in Business or Investing in general and that is, before you invest in anything, you must  invest in yourself first.

Sounds simple enough but many times, we place all our efforts and even our hard earned money in opportunities that come our way without knowing what it is we are getting into. Most of the time, we hear and see a new business or investment fad and immediately start thinking of putting money into it. And because we so badly want to progress in this world, we let impulse and greed take control over reason, raise our hopes and inevitably shake our heads later when the opportunity turns out to be another dead end, or worse, another scam. Is this the cycle that you continuously experience every year? So if you are asking what’s a good business or what’s a good investment to get into this 2010? My answer is start investing first in the one thing that you have probably overlooked for so many years…Yourself.

For those who want to start businesses, educate yourself first. The following areas are where you should start:

  • Sales and Marketing Skills

This is perhaps the most important skill to learn first. I often say that Sales is the purest form of business. Without it, you can never be in business. If you are a shy person and don’t think that selling is something you can do, think again. In my Sales and Marketing seminars you’d be happily surprised to know that the shy persons will always outsell the outspoken ones.

  • Capital Raising Skills

A lot of people think that they need capital to start a business, although that may be true for some businesses, would you know how to source capital without getting into debt?  Increasing your knowledge in this area will help you in your business ventures.  This is an important skill that every aspiring entrepreneur needs to learn.

  • Cash Flow Management Skills

A business is like a car.  Sales is money coming in or the gas that fuels the business while Business Expenses is what will deplete the money coming in. Cash Flow management is simply about knowing how to keep your business running smoothly even when the money coming in is not enough to sustain the business operations for a few months as sometimes experienced by many entrepreneurs.  If there is one skill that is critical to the survival of your business, this is it.  That’s why I make it appoint to equip my students with the proper tools and systems for cashflow management—it can make or break your business.

  • Human Resource Management Skills

As your business grows, you will need good people to help you run it. Forming your dream team is a must and improving your people handling skills will help you build this team.  For this, you will need to know basic knowledge in Human Resource Management.  From there, you will be able to develop systems to guide your employees, as well as programs to develop and motivate your team.  Applying what our HR training consultants have taught in our seminars, many companies including my own have greatly benefited from the best practices shared.  I’ve learned over the years that it pays to invest in your people too.

For those who want to do better in financial investments, the following areas are where you should look at:

  • Money Management Skills

The most important part of investing is not about how good you pick what to invest in. It’s about what you do with your money when things go bad. In other words, what is your exit strategy and what’s your plan B? As an investor, this is the most crucial thing for you to learn first.

  • Fundamental Analysis Skills

When you decide on what to invest in, you have to understand the underlying reasons for choosing that investment in the first place. For example I chose to invest in real estate because fundamentally, this particular area is a prime area and also because 5 to 10 years from now, this area will continue to increase in value due to continues development improvements by the private and government sectors.

  • Technical Analysis Skills

An important part of investing is also knowing the past price movements of whatever it is you are buying (or selling) Investors use these past price movements to determine trends in the markets which when properly combined with fundamental analysis can greatly improve your investments and the timing of when you get in and out of them.

  • Discipline in following a plan

Lastly, one of the hardest things to master about being an investor is to develop the discipline to only invest when the probabilities of investing is optimal. Too many times newbie investors will have no discipline and will invest based on gut feel and intuition resulting in catastrophe more often than not.

So you see, when you start asking yourself what’s a good business or investment to get into in 2010, do not just look at what people tell you to get into. Instead invest first in educating yourself and developing your skills in these areas. Then determine for yourself if these business or financial investments are indeed worth it.

Invest in yourself in 2010 because you are worth it.

Author box:

Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center.  He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila.  A sought after speaker for business and forex, he is scheduled to conduct his signature seminar series on Business Start Up and Entrepreneurship this January 16 to February 13, 2009.  To know more about these seminars, you may visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or call (632)6874645.  You may email your comments and questions to:   markso@zerocapitalclub.com

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