Start Out Before You Start Up
You’ve got an idea, you have joined some Facebook business groups, you have started reading all about the world of entrepreneurship and have been flung into a million directions with terminology such as WordPress, Stripe, ABN’s, shipping, XERO, Influencers, Branding and Sales funnels; your head is literally about to explode, information is coming out of your ears, in fact no, coming out of every part of your very being!
It is daunting, it can be super-scary for many and for all too many, can be the moment when costs spiral out of control and systems and processes are but a distant consideration.
Where did it all go wrong? The excitement has gone. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
We have spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours speaking with business owners, start-ups and those with an idea and there are some common mistakes being made which we would love to help prevent. We believe in lean start-ups, process driven start-ups and building sustainable, enjoyable, profitable businesses.
So our 3 ‘start out’ tips for surviving start up are;
1. Is there a market for your product or service? This doesn’t mean ask your mates if they think it is a good idea – they will not want to hurt your feelings or tell you any hard truths. And this also includes asking them what they would pay for the item. It is irrelevant unless they would actually buy it. It is too easy for people to say, ‘yeh I would pay $50 for that’ and you run off and base your business around selling products at that price without actually ever selling one. You need to do your homework on pricing and the best way to do that is to go out and sell it – see point 2.
2. Do not spend a penny on websites, branding, logos, fancy packaging until you have sold your product or service. Keep it simple. In most cases you can sell without any of this. Some products may need a large financial investment therefore work on a prototype first and test that on your market before you manufacture large quantities. Sell them to as many people as you can to begin with and ask for feedback. Record all feedback. If you are a service-based business, this is far simpler. Test your service as many times as you can until you reach the point that you know exactly what you are offering, how much, how you deliver it, have the processes in place to handle it and have a handful of testimonials or a portfolio with which to show off. And most importantly in both cases, you have turned over some cash!
3. Avoid looking left, right, up down, behind and going dizzy! This is so common. Your idea is forming, you are reading and learning so much, there are heaps of people inputting from all directions and you are in overwhelm with where to turn next. So you jump at what appears to be a quick fix or something you don’t really need but you don’t know it. You get sidetracked, go down a few rabbit holes, pop out and feel like you have a blindfold on. Cue screams! We get it, totally we do. Our advice – make a list of all the things you think you need – website, social media, office space, a logo, card readers…the list will be long. Now consider where you can sell your product or service offline eg; at a market, door to door, at a local café, in a community centre, at a school, to friends as offline, can be far more affordable than online and a far quicker route to market. Now look at your ‘need’ list. Do you NEED to do social media if you are cleaning for friends to begin with? Do you need a website if you are selling at a market? Do you need business cards if your customers store your number in their phone? It’s all about prioritizing and looking at your ‘need now’ ‘can wait’ or ‘nice to have’.
There you have it…our tips for overcoming overwhelm, overspend and overthinking it. Don’t start up until you have started out.
For more tips, ideas and inspiration or to book a no obligation call to chat through your start up idea, drop us a line!