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Start-up Advice

Don’t Let Money Be An Obstacle To Starting A Business – 5 Reasons Why

If money is your only holdup for realising your dream, do some research – you might find more opportunities than you’d expect.

Jayson Demers

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I’ve found that a surprising number of professionals – the majority, in fact – have dreamed about, or at least considered, the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur. So why aren’t there more self-started businesses out there?

One reason is that people are apprehensive – and understandably so. Starting a business is usually a massive undertaking, requiring significant time and money that people don’t believe they can spare.

They might be preoccupied with their current careers, or might prioritise spending time with their family over anything else.

Related: Smart Money For Small Businesses

But, more commonly, I observe, people are reluctant to start a business because of the money; they either believe they don’t have enough to start a business successfully, or are scared of the risks involved with putting the money down.

If the financial aspect is your own greatest concern about becoming an entrepreneur, keep these points in mind.

1. Money can usually be saved, if you put in the time

Most things you’ll buy in a business can be created, for free, with enough investment of time.

For example, you could pay a firm or an in-house professional to build your brand through marketing and advertising, or you could spend a few dozen hours learning how to do it yourself.

Similarly, you don’t really “need” to hire someone new. You can take on those responsibilities yourself and double your working hours.

Related: 12 Mega Money-Savvy Tips To Make You a Millionaire Before 30

Of course, it may not be the wisest or most efficient move to do everything yourself: Not only will your lack of expertise make it harder for you to be effective, but you could put yourself at greater risk of burnout.

Still, it’s worth remembering that you can trade money for time in most instances and still succeed.

2. Most things online are free

Next, don’t forget the enormous number of resources and opportunities that are available online, for free.

You can build a website for free (or nearly free) using website builders like Wix or WordPress; and the final product will be reasonably professional-looking.

You can create accounts and connect with audiences for free, at any time, on pretty much any social media platform or forum.

Related: 9 Answers You Need About Yourself Before Starting Your Own Business

You can even post classifieds and upcoming events, using free sites like Craigslist. The internet is full of information and free resources, so if money is an issue, consider taking advantage of them.

3. There are many sources of initial capital

Let’s say that you’re not willing to invest time instead of money (and for good reason), and that the free resources you’ve found can’t give you everything your business needs. You still need capital, and chances are, you don’t have enough to fund the business yourself.

Related: Simple Money-Making Ideas For Entrepreneurs

In that case, it’s important to remember the many potential sources of initial capital. If you’re willing to part with a percentage of your ownership in the company, you can work with angel investors or venture capitalists for an early cash injection.

If you’re making something tangible, you could use Kickstarter, or another crowdfunding platform to raise initial funds.

If you have friends and family members who believe in your idea, you could even ask them to contribute. There are multiple possibilities here, so chances are, at least one will pay off for you.

4. Early revenue should provide everything you need

You might also note that once your business starts generating revenue, you should have everything you need to keep the business running.

Related: 5 Books To Read Before Starting Your Business

Assuming you’re able to forgo drawing a salary from the business for the first few months of operation (thereby allocating your time to the business for free), you can redirect all the inbound cash flow you receive to other internal company developments.

Your business doesn’t need to be fully fleshed out to get you your first customer; in fact, you may not even need a website or a brand in place.

Go with a minimum viable product, and prioritise the establishment of an early line of revenue. The rest will fall into place.

5. Loans can close the gap

If you’re still struggling with money, or you start off successfully but run into an obstacle, don’t rule out the possibility of getting a loan.

Opening a line of credit is relatively easy and can provide you with all the cash you need to get through rough patches; and if your business doesn’t have enough credit or history to get a loan, you can apply for a secured loan, or a personal loan instead.

I’m not arguing that money isn’t an obstacle, or that money shouldn’t be a concern.

Related: How To Start A Business With (Almost) No Money

In fact, it’s a good thing that you’re fiscally responsible enough to assess the financial straits of entrepreneurship. However, money isn’t the solution to every problem, and starting a business could take less money than you think.

Accordingly, if money is your only holdup in starting a new business, consider doing some more research – you might find more opportunities than you’d expect.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.


Related: 25 Ways To Market Your New Business On Little Or No Money

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a content marketing agency, as well as EmailAnalytics, an email productivity monitoring app for Gmail and G suite. Contact him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Start-up Advice

Put On Your Wellies: It’s Time To Wade Into Risk

Entrepreneurs aren’t all leaping into the unknown like lemmings off a cliff, but they do need to consider it…

Chris Ogden

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You’ve had a great idea. You’ve looked into its development. You’ve recognised that it has potential beyond just what Auntie Mabel and Mike From The Grocer think. And you’ve clearly nailed a pain point that can make money. Now it is time to take the risk of running with it.

Every big idea comes with risk. You can’t step out into the world of entrepreneurial thinking and business development without it. Your idea may fail. It will also be time consuming, demanding, hungry for money, and hard work. It is unrealistic to expect that your project will leap out into the world and be an unmitigated success.

It is also unrealistic to assume that it isn’t worth taking this risk.

There are steps that you can follow to ensure that your risk is managed so you aren’t blindly leaping off that cliff…

Step 01: Do your research

No, canvassing your neighbours, friends and family is not doing research. You need to know that your idea will appeal to a broad market and that it will have significant legs. This may sound like daft advice, but you would be surprised how many people think an idea will take off just because Susan in Accounting said so.

Step 02: Understand the costs

Projects are hungry for money and investment. Realistically work out your budgets and how much it will cost to take your project off the ground and then stick to it.

A calculated risk is a far better bet than one that shoots from the hip and hopes for the best. You can also use this as an opportunity to draw a clear line under where you will stop investing and end the project. If it keeps eating money and isn’t getting anywhere with results you need to be able to walk away.

Step 03: Know when to walk away

As mentioned before, this can be defined by a line you’ve drawn in the proverbial sand (and budget) but no matter where you draw this line, you have to stick to it. Often, when time, money and energy have been poured into a project it can be incredibly hard to walk away.

You think ‘but I have put so much into this, just one more’ and then it gets to a point where the ‘just one more’ has taken you so far down the line that walking away feels impossible. Leave. Learn the lessons. Apply them to your next project.

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Start-up Advice

Mind The Gap

The entrepreneur’s guide to finding the gaps and building the right solutions.

Chris Ogden

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Innovation may very well be the key to business success but finding the gap into which your innovative thinking can fit is often a lot harder than people realise. Some may be struck by inspiration in the shower, others by that moment of blinding insight in a meeting, however, for most people finding that big idea isn’t that simple. They want to be an entrepreneur and start their own high-growth business, but they need some ideas on how to find that big idea.

Here are five…

1. Network

It sounds trite but networking is actually an excellent way of picking up on patterns and trends in conversation and business problems. The trick is to note them down and pay attention. Soon, you will find patterns emerging and ideas forming.

2. Look for pain

Just as networking can reveal trends in the market, so can spending time reading. The latter will also help you find common business pain points. These are the touchpoints that frustrate people, annoy business owners, affect productivity, or impact employee engagement.

Be the Panado that fixes these pains.

3. Luck

luck

This is probably the most annoying of the ideas, but it is unfortunately (or fortunately) very true. Luck does play a role in helping you capture that big idea. However, luck isn’t just standing around and random people offering you opportunities. Luck is found at networking events, it is found in research and it is found in conversations with other entrepreneurs.

4. Luck needs courage

You may have found the big idea through your network, a pain point or pure blind luck, but if you don’t have the courage to take it and run with it, you will lose it to someone else.

Being bold in business is highly underrated because most people assume that everyone is bold and prepared to take big leaps into the unknown. However, not all brilliant entrepreneurs were ready to throw their family funds to the wind and leap into an idea – they were courageous enough to figure out a way of harnessing their ideas realistically.

5. Pay attention

This is probably one of the most vital ways of finding a gap in the market. Often, people are so busy that they don’t really pay attention to that niggling issue that always bothers them on a commute, or in a mall, or at a meeting. This niggling issue could very well be the next big business opportunity. Pay attention to it and find out if that issue can be solved with your innovative thinking.

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Start-up Advice

5 Things To Know About Your “Toddler” Business

As you navigate this new toddler phase of your business, here are five things to bear in mind.

Catherine Black

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Ah, toddlers. Those irresistible bundles of joy bring a huge amount of energy, curiosity and fun to any family – but there’s also frustration and worry that comes with their unpredictability, as they grow and start to become more independent. If you own a business and it’s successfully past its “infancy” of the first year or so, it’s likely it will also go through a toddler stage of its lifecycle.

Pete Hammond, founder of luxury safari company SafariScapes, agrees with this. “Our business is now three and a half years old, and we’ve found that we’re not yet big enough to justify employing a large team of people to handle the day-to-day admin tasks, yet we still need to grow the business as well,” he says. “As a result, our main challenge is finding the time to step back and see the bigger picture. Kind of like when you are raising a busy toddler and you spend most of your time running after them!”

As you navigate this new toddler phase of your business, here are five things to bear in mind:

1. This too shall pass

Everything in life is temporary – and that goes for both the good and the bad. It’s as helpful to remember this when you’re facing the might of a toddler temper tantrum, as it is when you’re facing throws of uncertainty in your business. If your new(ish) venture is going through a rough patch in its first few years, it can be easy to think about giving up – but don’t. As long as you have an overall big idea that you believe can add value to your customers, keep pushing through the rough parts until you come out the other side.

2. Appreciate what this phase brings

The toddler years mean that the initial newborn joy is officially behind you. But these small humans also bring their own kinds of joy, as you watch them learn new skills, say funny things, and give affection back to you. While your two-year-old business may not hold the same exhilaration for you as it did during those first few months, there are now different things to appreciate about it: Maybe you’re expanding your product range, or employing new people who can take the workload off you.

3. Establish boundaries

Toddlers thrive on boundary and routine – and your toddler business will too. As it grows into a new phase, try and establish limits in terms of the type of clients you want to work with and the type of work you’ll do. It’s also a good idea to make a decision about the hours you’ll work and when you’ll switch off, which will help you establish a good work-life balance.

4. Take a break

Every parent with a toddler needs a break every now and then, even if that means a walk around the block (on your own!), a dinner out with friends, or even a few days away. The same is true for a demanding small business: every so often, remember to take time out to rest properly, where you switch off your laptop and completely unplug. You’ll return much more inspired and resilient to deal with the everyday uncertainty that it brings.

5. Give it space to make mistakes

While the unpredictability of a young business can be stressful and tiring, it’s also a time for trying new things without the risk of huge consequences if they don’t quite work. After all, it’s much simpler to change your USP if you’re a small business employing a few people, rather than a big company where 50 people are relying on you for their salary, or where you’ve received a huge amount of investment capital. While you may fail in some of the things you try with your business (in fact, this is almost guaranteed), see it as a toddler that’s resilient enough to pick itself up, dust its knees and keep moving forward.

During this phase of business growth it’s also essential to have the right type of medical aid cover. There are medical schemes such as Fedhealth which has a number of medical aid options and value-added benefits to ensure that your health and wellness is taken care of too. After all, the healthier you and your staff are, the more productive your business will be – during the toddler (business) stage and beyond.

While this phase can be frustrating, it’s a sign that your business is growing and adapting, rather than remaining in its infancy, and that can only be a good thing! So embrace the difficulties, learn from them, and watch as your business strides forward confidently into the next exciting phase.

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