Start A Business With Little To No Money – From Someone Who Has Done It

I was at my wit’s end with retail management in 2002. Did I have a hobby or product I was passionate about? Did I have the money to invest in another opportunity? Did I have a college degree? No is the answer to all these questions. I was an associate at a technology store, making minimum wage plus commission. My manager knew I had the potential and experience necessary to co-run the store with him and wanted to make me the new assistant manager for a mere 9.25 per hour. My co-workers were infuriated I was his first choice because I only worked there for 3 months. In their eyes I didn’t earn it and in my eyes I didn’t want it! I let them squabble while I secretly planned my escape. It has been my most successful and rewarding, confidence boosting and educational leap of faith I’ve ever taken. Here are some keys that made it possible to soar above my competition with little resources.

Brainstorm ideas prioritizing low overhead

Low overhead refers to the cost to start and run a business. Learning to cut the fat is a business concept that will be used throughout your entrepreneurial career no matter how successful you become financially. You always want cost to decrease and profits to increase over time. If you already have an idea, how can you start and maintain your business for the least amount of money? Maybe the question is not how, but can you? Consider writing a budget listing your start up and maintenance expenses just as you would personally. Include the place of business, legal expenses to start a business, supplies, transportation, etc. Brainstorm ideas that makes these costs lower.

If you don’t have a pre-existing business idea you may want to explore low overhead businesses. Many are independent contractors in the service industry. This is how I began in business ownership, as the owner of a housekeeping company. If you plan to sell products low overhead solutions are to have pop-up stores or kiosks to begin, sell door to door or online. Multi-level marketing companies are often low start up cost and little to maintain. Do your research.

Become a “leading expert in the industry”

Get to know the business better than anyone. Because of your lack of resources it may seem that you lack the same bells and whistles as your competitors, but being knowledgeable and having integrity is the value your customers will really care about. Really spend time educating yourself on your expertise. Learn what you don’t know and commit to continuing your education, if only for 15 minutes per day.

Partner strategically

Again, because of your lack of resources you want to provide the best of what you do have. If that means partnering with someone who has the skills you don’t have, but need to run this business then consider partnering strategically. This could also mean looking for investors. In both cases you will want to create a business plan (a document) that clearly states both your roles and responsibilities.

Plan

Without a plan you plan to fail is such a true statement. I came up with a few business ideas before succeeding and the difference was planning. My housekeeping company I secretly planned while I worked for a technology store began on a poster board from a dollar store. This was before I knew what a business plan was, but it served the same purpose. I wrote down every task I needed to do before opening for business; researching the rates I should charge, maintenancing my van, obtaining a business license, creating a website, ordering business cards, etc. Next to each chronological task I put a realistic deadline. This poster board was the difference between success and failure. My goal was to open in 3 months and I opened in 1.

Never bite off more than you can chew

If you don’t over promise, you won’t under serve and if you don’t under serve you won’t have a customer who had a bad experience tell 100 friends. Every customer experience is an advertisement so treat each one with that in mind. Customers aren’t the only reason for keeping your work load manageable. With little resources you are probably your full time service worker, social media manager, salesperson, tax preparer, etc. You get it. For your own physical and mental health make balance a priority and really understand how your schedule should be planned.

Exercise flexibility

Hurdles will arise. Are you going to run right into them because you planned on running straight? No. You’re going to decide to jump over or go around. This happens a lot in business, things not going as planned. You need to think on your toes! I have so many examples of times this happened to me in housekeeping. I had a meeting with a local media outlet that was going to distribute a package deal online (like Groupon) for me for free, but at a very largely discounted rate. The benefits were the exposure of my company to the public and that I would receive my percentage of the sales in a lump sum. I agreed to it, but was set to sign the contract another day. Something made me think to reach out to the last housekeeping company that provided them the same service and I’m glad I followed my gut instinct! He told me that they bit off more than they could chew as a new housekeeping company. The pay was so little and they were over booked (like 6 months out!), dreading each job they took. The plan was to do the deal, I already said I would, but I canceled my meeting to sign the contract and saved my self the suffering that could have cost me my passion or my business entirely.

Check yourself regularly

Always going full-speed ahead doesn’t insure success in business. Check yourself before you wreck yourself! This is part of working smarter, not harder. Plan to stop regularly to evaluate how things are going, what’s working and what’s not, find oversights, what needs immediate attention, make adjustments to your plan, make some time for yourself to do something you enjoy and restore your enthusiasm for the business.

Why My Crazy Mum Would Make A Grand Business Owner

It is important to take time to yourself.

So I do, as often as possible. And recently, we had Sunday dinner at my mum and dad’s house. My mum makes amazing Sunday roasts. Then she usually has a glass or three of wine, and tells an amusing story.

Yesterday’s story was about potty training toddler-me.

The first thing you need to know about my mum is she’s a bit bonkers. Always has been.

The second thing is, she genuinely doesn’t give much of a hoot what people think of her, and I love that about her. Apart from the people she loves, everyone else can do one.

The third thing is, she’ll try new stuff out, regardless of how patently crazy it is.

Mum came up with a great idea to get me out of nappies and onto a potty.

It involved a doll and a packet of raisins.

I’m sure this is where my uneasiness about dolls, mannequins and puppets comes from…

Anyway, on the allotted day, mum brought me into the bathroom in which was said potty. And on top of that potty sat a doll. And beneath that doll, in the potty, was a handful of raisins.

Her thinking was the raisins were more-or-less in proportion to the size of the doll, and about the right colour, and… well, you get the idea.

Apparently my little face was a picture of horror. And scepticism, because even as a toddler I was a critical thinker.

My dad denies all knowledge of this, and my mum collapsed in a fit of giggles shortly thereafter, so I’ve no idea what really went on that day.

The point is, though, that although this idea was clearly bonkers, mum thought it was worth a try. And so it was.

Almost everything is worth a try (unless there’s overwhelming, peer-reviewed evidence to the contrary, or there’s an obvious danger to life, limb and sanity). The same goes in business, too.

I hear all the time from business owners: “That won’t work. It won’t work for us.”

My answer is always the same: “How do you know? Have you tried it?” And the answer back is invariably: “No. I just know it won’t work.”

Right. With your crystal ball and your magic wand.

They don’t know. But they are uncertain, and that’s what stops most people from trying anything new, which is a real shame.

The only certainty in life is that one day we’ll shuffle off. And we’ll get taxed. That’s it. Everything else? It’s up in the air, and although that’s unsettling, it’s also exciting isn’t it?

I recently did some ads for a client in a magazine. She wasn’t sure whether it would work or not – she’d tried once, a few years ago, and it was time to give it another go.

In fact, it didn’t work very well. For a number of reasons, it just wasn’t the right platform for our particular offer. But we tried it, we measured it, we tweaked it – we gave it the best shot. And it’s not money wasted, because now we know her budget is better spent elsewhere, and that’s where we’re focusing.

She was willing to give it a try, and try it properly. Which is more than most business owners will do.

Trying something new can be scary. It’s a leap into the unknown. It might not work.

Well, so what?

At least now you know, and you can focus your budget and energy where it’s more likely to do good.

Isn’t it better to try something different, when you know what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working? It’s more fun that way, too…

My clients are not mediocre. They run small businesses – but they’re businesses that bring in six and seven figures (and more). Not because they’re necessarily better products or higher beings, but because they try stuff out. They take action. They get doing. Even if it doesn’t work, they don’t give up. They stop doing the thing that doesn’t work, then they try something else, and they keep trying until they make it work.

Virtual Office Space Provides New Business Owners With Authentic And Substantive Benefits

In this ever expanding internet age we are discovering new and innovating ways of streamlining the way in which we conduct our business. The world is a very big place and yet we are able to work with anyone from anywhere at any given time and that is what makes this day and age an incredibly exciting time to do business; and of course to be alive!

One of the most interesting developments in business is the introduction of the virtual office; A commonly misunderstood and severely underrated way of operating a new business. If you were to have tried to pitch the idea to an entrepreneur in the 80’s they would have thought you insane! To have an office that you don’t work from and doesn’t physically exist? – Granted without the internet the concept sounds rather farfetched but all of that aside the benefits of renting virtual office space are highly propitious.

A virtual office space is a business location that only exists in the realm of cyberspace. This is the kind of setup that allows business owners and their employees to work from absolutely any location they choose by using technology such as their mobile phones, laptops and computers via access to the internet. Renting virtual office space can provide you with a significant amount of flexibility and financial savings in comparison to the traditional office space setup. Virtual office space also allows the business owner to employ anyone they desire without the restrictions of having to hire those who live within a certain area. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity and allows you to extend your search and broaden your horizons entirely.

When it comes to conducting meetings, this can be done via tele and video conferencing and all documents can be shared and transmitted electronically. This highlights some of the greener elements that make virtual office space a more viable option to those who are looking to ‘do their part for the environment’ – by saving on money, fuel and resources.

There are a number of companies out there who are in the business of providing virtual office space to new businesses. This allows people to possess the prestige of an important sounding address in a reputable business district without having to commit to actually renting or getting a mortgage on a physical office location. These companies also provide a number of additional services such as a professional phone answering service and even the occasional rental of office space and conference rooms (as sometimes it is necessary to have your employees in the same room together, especially when spit-balling a new and important project for example).

The best thing about virtual office space is that there is very little commitment! You can trial a virtual office space without having to sign up for a 30 year mortgage. This offers you an ideal opportunity to try it out and see if it suits the way in which you wish to operate your business. No strings, no bricks, no water.

The Importance Of Having Time For Yourself When Running A Business

One of the notable benefits of owning a business is being able to take time off whenever you need it. But a lot of business owners spend and devote countless hours to making their business succeed. Time and devotion to the business are obviously important in order for it to be successful, but one only has so many hours in the day to work from. There are a lot of good reasons to take time off for yourself even when you want your business to be a success and this article will discuss a few of them.

#1: Nothing Is More Important Than Your Health And Well-Being

Your health is important on many levels such as your physical health, mental health, and social health. When you spend so much time on your business and none for yourself, each of these three areas becomes affected. Your physical health suffers because you haven’t given yourself any rest. Your mental health suffers because of all the stress you put on yourself by working so many hours. Your social life may suffer because you haven’t spent any time with friends or family. Your health suffers in so many ways which will hurt you in the long run. Thus, you must make sure that you make time for yourself so that your health and well-being will prosper in the years to come.

#2: Giving Yourself Time Off Gives You The Opportunity To Recharge

As previously mentioned, working a lot of hours without rest causes your mental health to suffer. As your mental health suffers, you cannot think straight and thus, you can’t always operate the business at the full efficiency that you need. It is always better to take time off so you can step back and see things from a big picture perspective.

Perhaps you’ve been working a long time on developing a marketing strategy in order to improve sales but you haven’t been able to put all the necessary pieces together. Taking time off would give you a chance to recover and perhaps gain some inspiration as to your strategy. You might decide to evaluate your strategy from a different point of view or you may decide to simplify things once you return from your time off. The important thing to remember is that giving yourself time off is a great way to think straight so that you can come up with the best business ideas and strategies.