The final stage of preparations for the fifth edition of Takeoffs of the Year is underway. T-Mobile has asked winners of the previous editions about their beginnings and came up with some interesting findings. Seventy-eight percent of respondents started their business while still employed, on parental leave or during their studies. They thus made use of the possibility of not paying any mandatory levies in the first year and paying advances for mandatory levies in a reduced amount later. At first, they only devoted their free time, a maximum of ten hours a week, to their business endeavours. The time that the majority of the winners of Takeoffs of the Year spent on their businesses was equal to or less than what they would spend working part-time. They struggled most with sales skills, i.e. marketing, price-setting and negotiations with suppliers.
What did beginning entrepreneurs lack the most at the outset of their business projects?
The number-one response was the lack of sales skills – a full thirty percent of respondents struggled with marketing. They also had problems with setting prices, negotiating with suppliers and focusing on the right customers. The second most frequent answer was, as is common among start-ups, lack of capital and investments. The third most frequent response surprisingly was lack of information and difficulties finding it. As the vast majority of entrepreneurs started their businesses while employed and while taking care of a family, the fourth most frequent response was lack of time. The chart of the most frequent answers also includes problems dealing with authorities and getting support from their families.
Where did they expect the greatest support would come from?
The vast majority (60%) of respondents agreed that they had problems with money. They thought that it would be easier to find investors, raise financing from banks or receive bigger tax relief. One-third of them lacked information, whereas they had difficulty finding appropriate information on public-administration portals – only 2% of respondents received information from state authorities.
Every year, around four hundred beginning entrepreneurs who have just started their businesses or are planning to enter the market register in the Takeoffs of the Year project. Several dozen of them are selected by regional juries. The winners will then receive not only tangible prizes but also support from experts in all fields necessary for starting a business: management, marketing and PR. During the following year, they can learn everything that is needed to effectively run their businesses.
Successful projects competing in the Takeoffs of the Year include, for example, the Novodobá sanitka (“Modern Day Ambulance”) project of Romana Tvarůžková from Ostrava, which has branches across the Czech Republic; Roman Sterly with his Sportcentral.cz portal (Plzeň) and Kamila Jahodová’s Fraise.cz textile factory in Děčín. Dozens of people are employed by Takeoffs winner such as Kamila Jahodová, Libuše Čehylová (Libuschka textile accessories, Prague), Magdalena Hájková (MagsBags.cz offering bags for snacks, Brandýs) and Jana Laštovičková (Hobby špagáty – “Hobby Cords”, Vysočina region). According to the respondents, hiring their first employees was the biggest step; they had no idea of how hard it would be. They also complain about the complex legal environment. If they were to start again, they would certainly put greater emphasis on their respective business plans and ensure that their families’ finances were in better order before engaging in business.
T-Mobile Czech Republic, a member of the international telecommunications group Deutsche Telekom, is with its more than 6.2 million customers the number-one operator in the Czech market. T-Mobile is an integrated operator: in addition to converged telecommunications services, it offers TV and comprehensive ICT solutions. It provides outstanding services in the high-speed network, which was proved repeatedly by benchmark testing performed by umlaut (former P3) with Best-in-Test seal.
T-Mobile Czech Republic places emphasis on taking a responsible approach to the environment and society. It adheres to fair business practices, helps beneficial applications and services to see the light of day, supports non-profit organizations, small businesses and individuals, and lends a helping hand whenever crisis situations arise. The company’s employees serve as volunteers in many places across the entire Czech Republic.
More information about the company is available at www.t-mobile.cz, www.t-press.cz (the portal for journalists), www.t-mobile.cz/pomahame (information on the company’s CSR activities) and www.rozjezdy.cz (T-Mobile Takeoffs of the Year – a program to support small businesses).
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