Starting a business with practically nothing is not easy, but it does have certain advantages to starting a business equipped with substantial capital and years of experience. There are many things to consider when starting a business and it is easy to get discouraged. For this reason in my post today I will set you off with the first two steps. Focus on these two steps and when you are ready, go on to the next two steps, and so on. Do not overburden yourself trying to accomplish too much, too quickly. This is where many others fail. To succeed in each step you need to first have succeeded in the previous steps. Without sounding too much like Mr. Miyagi or Yoda, let us begin.
Step 1 – Have confidence in your experience
The statement “I don’t have experience” is vague and probably incorrect. Unless you have lived your entire life in a box you have had experiences. What you probably mean is that you do not have business experience, but also that is wrong. Do you shop? Do you use services such as public transport? Have you ever seen an advertisement? The truth is you are surrounded by business every day and whilst this fact was probably hidden in your subconscious all this time, you already have some experience in starting a business. These are called customer experiences, and they shape everything a business is, from its products and services to its marketing and even its profits.
Have you ever planned a party or given a present? These are also valuable experiences for starting a business. Sourcing suppliers for a party (e.g. the caterer and the entertainment) or, on a smaller scale, giving a present (e.g. the electronics store and wrapping the gift), getting in touch with the suppliers and buying their products or services is very similar to part of your work in starting a business as an owner. Figuring out how to get everything to work and how all the little bits are going to fit together so that the party (or the present) is a success, is vital. In the same way, the supply logistics of your business are what ensures that the customer experience is positive in your business.
So stop thinking that you have no business experience whatsoever. You probably do and the skills you already have will help you very much in your adventure of starting a business. Be confident in what you can achieve, focus on what you DO know, and take steps on finding out what you DON’T know (more on that in later posts). For this journey to succeed you need to rely on your own abilities first and find the necessary confidence and courage within you.
Step 2 – Starting a business
You probably were not expecting this step so quickly and that is where many people fail to become business owners or entrepreneurs. They overthink things, to the point of never actually taking the first step. I mentioned earlier that your position of having no money is, in some ways, an advantage, and here’s why; by starting a business you have nothing to lose, but time. Another advantage is that you are relatively limited to the businesses you could start and that is good because sometimes having too many opportunity paralyses us.
I would strongly recommend an Internet-based business such as selling 3rd party products or offering services (depending on your skills these could be accountancy, child care guidance, web design, logo design, etc.). If you don’t have a computer or Internet access, then go to your local library as they usually offer free use of their computers and the Internet. If that’s not an option then ask a friend for help or find another solution. Running a business successfully is all about succeeding in face of constant challenges.
Use a free website builder, there are so many available. I personally recommend WordPress or WIX as I have found them to be the most user-friendly for first-timers. Read their tips about designing a website but don’t focus too much on getting it right. Keep it simple and clean (without a lot of distractions). Think of a name, again, don’t overthink it. Think of a short (3-10 letter) name which is easy to pronounce and to remember. If you are stuck you can use BusinessNameGenerator.com for help. For a logo, I would recommend using your business name and tweak it slightly by putting a letter or two in a different colour or italicising part of it. Again, keep it simple and clean.
Everything you have done so far can be changed. The important thing is that you have created something. Hopefully, you will now have something on the lines of www.ohmygodihaveawebsite.wordpress.com!
The website is probably bare. We will work on that in the next part of this series. For now, look at other websites which are in the same line of business and look at other popular websites which have nothing got to do with yours. Just observe certain patterns, such as the BUY NOW buttons or the way they feature their products or services. Take notes if you prefer. The more knowledge you gain the better prepared you will be for the next steps.