(This is a guest post by Sara Stringer)
Some years ago I was putting in the normal eight hours each day and then coming home for another six to work on my side project. With enough time I began making as much money as my day job so it made sense to take a deep breath, hope for the best, and go out on my own.
Cutting off the stability of a day job meant that there were many expenses I had taken advantage of due to the extra income. If I were to do it all over again, I would have kept a tighter control over my initial investments.
I’d like to run through some of those mistakes and what I would have done differently so the startup capital wasn’t so strained…
A. Launch Small (Online)
Online is essential to compete in business and one of the mistakes I made was undertaking the task of designing my website from scratch, spending seemingly hundreds of hours researching marketing, and countless hours into social media platforms.
If I started again I would most likely use one of the many website building platforms so less money and time went to the site development this way I could have been up and running faster. The same for the marketing and social; it would have made more sense to pick one or two items from the list, put them into action, learn, and then expand rather than taking so many on at one point which stretched budgets very thin.
B. Setup a Proper Office Environment
Most of the early days of the new business was at the coffee table; it worked but was very uncomfortable, hard to access the essentials making a mess of the table, and always presented distractions from getting things done.
If I were to start again I would make sure to clear a nook for a small office, invest in a great office chair, have an additional monitor to multi-task, and all my print material close at hand. When you’re fulfilling orders and it really starts to ramp up, a label printer can come in handy, especially when it’s close by so you can easily pump out those orders without running back and forth.
C. Get Away from the Business
Networking is about who you know and if you know the right people it can mean all the difference in business. The right people can open the doors to new opportunities, provide great feedback, and refer you to others which can help get the business started on a high note.
If I were to start again I would try to find a way to get away from the business at least once a week to attend local business events. There you get to meet others that are on your same level, build that connection, and also learn a great deal more than most resources since they are in the trenches. Networking does require some skills but once you do it enough it becomes second nature.
D. Find the Vertical and Complimentary Products
One great product can bring you to great success but like the old saying goes it’s not too great to put all your eggs in one basket. In enough time you’ll most likely expand but waiting too long could be too late.
If I were to start again I’d immediately begin researching the marketplace & competitors to find products that compliment what I was offering and those items that make logical sense to up-sell. Having these two types of products in the lineup gives plenty of options for your customers but also creates stability for your business. By introducing these two types you will also increase your profits without too heavily an investment since it’s based on solid research (plus you could always dropship).
I can’t say that all of these will be investments you’ll make in your business but I hope they help you realize there is a lot more to it than creating a product and putting it out on the market. Plenty of expenses will go towards the little things and it’s those items that can disrupt the capital needed to make your moves so do your best to be logical about your entrepreneurial budget. Best of luck!