10 WAYS TO START A BUSINESS WITH LESS
March 5, 2019 0 Comments
A few months ago, I posted an article on “How to come-up with a business idea” and be great managers. Now, the next challenge is how to get started.
Here are some ways on how to start a business with less:
1. Create a new business model.
It was in 1997 when Derek Sivers approached several record stores to ask them to sell his band’s CD. They turned him down and told him they’d only sell music that are produced by the major record labels.
Now to sell his own music, Derek decided to put up CDBaby.com. He started from his own bedroom and spent only $500 to set it up. The internet was a bit quite new back then (1997), so it took him a lot of work to make this happen.
After three months, his fellow musicians in New York noticed and asked, “Hey, can you also sell our CDs through that?” Nobody else wanted to sell ‘independent music’, so he took their offer.
Derek became “the go-to-guy who was selling independent music through the internet.” In 2008, he sold CD Baby for 22 million and has made about 100 million in sales for 150,000 musicians.
The idea – Find a new (and more cost-effective) way of doing business that is advantageous for both you and your customers.
What are new trends in your industry? What are new technologies that can you leverage? Is there an ‘underserved market’ that you can exploit?
2. Consider a home-based set-up for your small business.
Nowadays, you don’t need to pay for an impressive (also expensive) office to wow your customers. Most clients would be glad to meet you in a Starbucks nearby. You can do this when putting up a service, trading or a consulting business.
The advantage: Shorter commute for clients and shorter meetings. (Plus the coffee is better than the one in the office pantry!)
The idea – You can build your credibility by showing the quality of your work, not just on how expensive your ergonomic chair looks like.
3. Make use of free websites or blogs like WordPress, Blogger, Wix or Multiply.
My friends (husband and wife) started their watch business using a Multiply site. That’s where they carefully learned the “ins and outs” of being in the watch business. Today, they own several watch stores in malls and their business is doing very well.
The idea – To get there, start somewhere.
4. Partner with a Supplier.
Our initial tendency is to buy or stock up the products that we want to sell. But what if there’s a way to partner with your supplier?
What if you can create a system in which you can ship your product from your supplier’s warehouse directly to your customer’s door step?
The idea – You can save money on inventory, delivery, storage and communications.
5. Be a Subcontractor.
Serve an existing company. Do a part of their work for them. They might even be willing to provide the tools and support that you’ll need to get the work done.
The idea – If you’re reliable and easy to work with, they’ll find it more convenient to pay you, than for them to do the work on their own.
6. Be an Industrial Partner.
This may not be for everyone, but if you have a solid industry experience, this is a good option that you should consider.
Instead of putting out money, an industrial partner offers his expertise (as a capital) to the new company. He can receive around 15-20% share or ownership on top of his management salary.
Reminder: Being an expert in your field won’t automatically make you a good business owner. Running a business is a discipline that you’ll need to learn. Read books, attend seminars and carefully study how successful entrepreneurs made it. Better yet, find a business mentor.
7. Put up a Consultancy.
Are you known to be good at what you do? Do you have a proven track record? Do you enjoy helping people? If you do, you can offer your expert advice.
There are too many people who are good at pulling people down. We need more people who are willing to focus on helping others succeed.
The idea – Meaningful success somehow comes when we stop trying to be successful and focus on helping others succeed.
8. Use the ‘Beta’ approach.
App developers are known to use the “Beta” approach before fully releasing a product.
During this period, you’ll be able to see how ‘a market responds’ to a product. You also get the chance to make crucial adjustments to your product or service that can ensure long-term success. Plus, you get loyal users (or followers) during the process.
The idea – A beta release is like a ‘small show’ done by an artist in the corner cafe before going into a major concert or tour. When putting up a business, you can go “beta” first.
9. Pay for Results.
Now, while you can’t afford to pay or hire regular employees, a good way to start is to find people who are willing to work on a ‘per job’ basis. You can hire them permanently later as your business grows.
10. Maximize Social Media.
Not in a spammy way please. Avoid alienating your friends who are online. Don’t post too much of what you’re selling in their newsfeed. You don’t want to be like the guy who loves to talk about himself in the party – be interested in ‘others’ as well. (others = your customers)
Before posting, make sure it doesn’t just add to the noise. Instead, give something of value to them. When the time comes that they need you, they’ll know where to find you.
The idea – If done right, the use of Social Media can help you build your brand and connect with new customers.