‘Suck it up,’ they say when you merely mention that you have a dream of not working the same nine to five job you’ve been doing for the past five years. ‘That’s life,’ they say when you moan that the job you do helps fulfil your boss’s dream, and not yours. ‘Maybe one day you’ll win the lottery,’ they say when you say in passing that you’d like to earn a bit more money. And then you say you want to start a business of you own, a work-from home business at that, and well, that’s when the naysayers really come out to play. ‘Don’t quit the day job,’ they say as they also fight to hold back giggles.
You’re going to get a lot of this as a prospective start-up business owner, but rest assured, you’ve already passed the first, and probably hardest, threshold: having the courage to let your idea slip out of your head, through your mouth, and into the real world — it’s real now.
But now the real work begins: getting your idea off and running. Firstly, you must be clear on one, very important fact: the world today is technology driven. Although us humans are still yet to be under the command of robots we are under the control of technology. More to the point, our businesses are under the control of technology; if a business does not embrace the ever-changing world of technology, then a sell-by date sticker is instantly stuck on it.
For instance, you must focus on website design. Like the shop windows of businesses of past generations, the businesses of today must have a website that shows prospective customers everything they could possibly want to see, and quickly. And with searching and shopping from smartphones and tablets, otherwise known as mobile commerce, soaring in popularity, your business’s website must be responsive to mobile devices; simply meaning they must work clearly and coherently when accessed on them. So whether your business idea is one that’s been a hobby of yours for years, which is something that can be done, or simply something that you think will find a gap in a market, using the technological tools at your disposal is a must.
But it’s not all about the technology, it’s about you!
Know your goal — why are you doing this?
Listen to your heart — what idea makes it flutter every time you think about it?
Do the market research — where can your little idea fit into the big, wide world that it will be entering?
Utilise your USP — how best can your idea’s unique selling point be used as a tool to wedge itself firmly in the gap you’ve identified?
But don’t lose sight of the original goal — when you are in a position to do so, operate using the 80:20 rule: 80% working on your product, 20% marketing it.
The next step is scaling your company from start-up to leader in the field and taking yourself from ‘solopreneur’ to fully-fledged entrepreneur; for now though, well, baby steps. At the moment, just focus on getting yourself into that gap!