Sterling Effort

Starting a business is easy!

May 7, 2011 by Ash in Business with 4 Comments

Lots of people want to start their own business but too many of us make excuses such as:

  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t know enough
  • I don’t have enough money
  • I don’t have an awesome idea

If you witness anyone using these excuses, punch them in the face. The problem is that these people are missing the most important fact. Your first business is very unlikely to be the one that makes you rich. It shouldn’t take a million hours of your time and there is no reason for it to cost a significant amount of cash either. If you think you need an original idea, I suggest that you do some reading about how the most successful entrepreneurs got to be where they are. They became successful by starting out with mundane businesses that did things just slightly better than the competition. My point is that people pay too much attention to the USP (Unique Selling Point). Business is not about being unique. Business is about spotting a need and fulfilling it. Sometimes your uniqueness is simply your level of customer service or the fact that you’re the only business in the region offering your particular product.

Until recently, I had been trying for a long time to think of new ideas but whenever I came up with something, it always proved to be economically non-viable. I thought I was never going to get anywhere because everything seemed impossible but then out of nowhere, an opportunity just landed in my lap. I was approached by a small local retailer. Without getting into details, their online shop had been non-functional for two weeks due to a lack of professionalism on somebody else’s part. They were frustrated because they were losing sales and this was just the latest in a string of problems they’d been having. Their concerns seemed to be falling on deaf (or incompetent) ears so they came to me to fix some problems and migrate the shop to a new server. I treated their business like it was my business. I worked hard to solve the problems in a short time and put in some extra work for free. This was because I was focused on building a professional relationship instead of making a quick buck. They were impressed with my work and now they pay me a monthly fee to manage the site. I get paid separately for extra development work and I also receive a sales commission. I spent my first month’s earnings on a logo design for my new business to give it a more professional feel. Now that I’ve opened my eyes to this type of work and got to grips with the accounts etc, I’m already finding new opportunities and it’s very exciting!

In short, I accidentally started my first business by doing an ordinary job better than the competition. It cost me £0 to set up. It took a few hours to choose a name, register for self employment and learn how to do accounts. There was nothing difficult about any of this. Now, I know there is nothing terribly exciting about my little business and I’m not saying it’s easy to set up ANY company but it’s certainly easy to set up SOMETHING that puts your skills to good use and allows you to create some extra cash for yourself. Try it. Try it or I will punch you.

Have any of you started your own business? I’d love to hear what you do and how you got started. Let’s prove that starting a business is easy!

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4 Comments

  1. Harri @ Miss MoneypennilessMay 9, 2011 at 8:54 amReply

    Definitely! Being small, nimble and technologically adept is a great means of outmanoeuvering larger and more cumbersome competitors even within what might appear to be a saturated market.

    The internet has reduced the barriers to entry for any budding entrepreneur. Marketing, for example, needn’t cost anything but your time thanks to Facebook, Twitter, websites and blogs. I’d also recommend the British Library Business and IP Centre (near Kings Cross Station) for anyone contemplating starting their own business. It’s an amazing resource and a great place to start doing your background market research.

    Best of luck with the business!

    • AshMay 15, 2011 at 10:58 pmReplyAuthor

      Thanks Harri :) I forgot to reply as I got caught up in all the mayhem of getting all my business stuff sorted! But yeah, I agree. Exciting times we’re living in.

  2. Jennifer BarryMay 15, 2011 at 10:40 pmReply

    Hi Ash, I agree that starting a business is easy. I’ve started a couple almost by accident. The challenging part is to keep it going, and make it profitable.

    You absolutely have to fill a customer need, but you also have to find customers who are willing to pay enough to get their needs met. For example, I’ve done web design work in the past, but I found that most people are only willing to spend the equivalent of $5-$10 per hour to get what they want. There is a huge need, but little money in it.

  3. AshMay 15, 2011 at 11:07 pmReplyAuthor

    Thanks for the de-motivational talk! :) Seriously though, you make an excellent point. The website example is spot on. People want to pay budget prices for high quality work. I see this happening in web design and to other people I know in other creative industries. This is why I want to move towards software consultancy. It’s easier to fleece people in that domain!

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