I have heard a lot of people say “I’d love to start that business, but I don’t have capital.” This challenge is understandable tbvh; how can you possibly create a successful business from scratch that can compete with established brands?
Well! Not only is it possible, but sometimes starting from zero can be an advantage – at least it was for me.
Fam, We’re living in a golden age for entrepreneurs. The internet has provided unparalleled access to customers and resources regardless of your socio-economic background, and large amounts of cash aren’t required for success, y’all will agree with me on this.
Imagine an app developer in the UK who designs, develops and releases an app in a mobile store – all with minimal resources. Compare that to a big software company that could throw millions of naira dollars at an app, dedicating a 50-person team to its development and still potentially mess it up. Does the customer care who developed the app? All that matters to them is that the app does what they need, and does it well. I hope you are following?
I am of the belief that energy is far more valuable than money. The person with energy and enthusiasm will go out and change the world, no matter what it takes. I have no doubt that if I’d had unlimited resources, I would be a lot less creative. When I started my fashion design business, Akeula wears, I had no resources. I didn’t have money to throw at advertisements. Instead, I used social media and was trying to leverage on the few clients that I had as at then, so that they can be my brand ambassador and keep telling people about me. I was a student then, but when I would get home, I’d work on my business. The money I was making them meant a lot, and I do spend it judiciously on my assignments in school, my well-being, I’d save some and still reinvest some back into the business. Without any outside investment, I was able to start building my business.
How You Can Start Your Business Today
A friend once told me she wanted to start a business making shoes, but she had no money. She has acquired the skill and didn’t know how to get started. I replied that it’s really simple to start: Look for someone that represents your target market and influential and then propose to offer a discounted service or free (if you can afford). Start by helping one person. If you do a good job, he/she will start preaching the gospel of your service. Word will spread and you’ll start collecting prospective clients, at this point you can start charging for your services. Once you have money coming in then you’ll be able to reinvest it into your business, an approach I’ve taken with all my businesses to date.
As you plan for the start of a business and think about who you can help, keep these ideas in mind.
- Validate your idea. Before working on your product or service, make sure there’s a market for it. Reach out to your potential customers and ask, “Do you need this? If not, what do you need?” To be successful you need to have a deep understanding of what they need, and then provide it.
- Start promotion early. Once you’re sure you have a viable idea, begin promoting it. Do this immediately, before beginning to sit on the machine or handling the equipment. Set up a landing page explaining what you’re building and give people somewhere to sign up for beta access, create a fantastic brand identity that can promote your brand even when you are not there.
- Keep learning. In politics, the players do say that “power is power” but in business and entrepreneurship, knowledge is power! Make sure you do thorough research about the industry you want to go into.
Avoid Costly Mistakes
- Start with the important tasks, not the easy ones. One of the main mistakes I see in new businesses is that people start with the easy jobs or the ones they enjoy most. Great products can fail this way.
- Don’t ignore design. It’s a sad truth, but people do judge a book by its cover. You may be focused on creating a revolutionary product, but it’s not going to succeed if it looks cheap. If you’re not completely confident in your design skills, bringing on a professional designer should be a priority.
- Don’t be put off by all the legal requirements. I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t legal advice, but I see too many people paralyzed worrying about incorporating or registering the perfect business name. Rather than worrying about making sure all the details are 100% correct, get your business moving! If you’re not making revenue, then that should be your first step.
There’s Always A Lean Way To Start
Whatever business you’re looking to start, whether you’re providing a physical product, a digital product, or some other service, the principles are the same. You already have everything you need. You can always start lean with minimal resources.
Get started today!