Starting a business – valid lessons from a 7 year old.
It’s the kiwi dream right? A house, 2.5 kids, a white picket fence and ……. Starting a business?
I’ve worked for big corporates and smaller businesses, and gained some valuable experience in what it takes to run a successful business along the way, my husband owns his own business, my dad ran a successful transport company …… its in my blood, so when I was sitting on the couch with my new born child wondering, what next? I decided to start my own business.
I was allured by the flexibility of working my own hours, making lots of money and well, being my own boss and not having to answer to anybody …… sound familiar? but here’s the thing that you might not know and you need to know before you even consider starting your own business., nothing comes that easy!
Whats your motivation in starting a business?
In general people spend 1/3rd of their life at work, you could say it’s like your other relationship, so it makes sense that it’s doing something you love. If your sole reason for starting a business is to make money and you have neither the experience or passion for what your business is selling, then my advice ….. DON’T DO IT!!. Starting a business requires planning, preparation, and to begin with a lot of hours, if your heart is not really in it, then like any relationship it’s just not going to last the distance.
Some hard lessons in starting a business
I am an entrepreneur at heart, when I was about 7, I started an “exclusive” and “secret” neighbourhood club and asked all the local kids to join, I think I charged them about 50c at the time ……. I had a cool flag, and an obstacle course set up out back, I thought it was great value for money for them, that everyone would want to join and that I was going to get rich (well enough for a few mixed bags of lollies anyway) that was rich when I was 7 ……
My first lesson in starting a business: sometimes the bigger guys will dictate how things are going to run, they have bigger pockets and more punch so if you are going to make a living running your own business the first thing you need to know is who your competitors are and the rules of the industry….. As soon as my parents found out I had taken money from the local kids, they made me pay it back. Apparently there was some definite industry rules that I had broken and it was not cool to be making money of the local kids! Make sure that you are familiar with your industry laws, and if you need any certifications or qualifications to be doing what it is you are doing. I fancy myself as a pretty good doctor to my 4 year old, but if I decided to open up a practice, I might be looking at some very serious charges without the right qualifications and license to practice!
What makes you stand out from the other competition? Why did the local kids want to join my “club” and pay money for it when they could just hang out at the other neighbours’ house for free? The other valuable lesson I took from that experience was that not everybody wants what you are offering, some of the neighbourhood kids said NO! Back then before cell phones, internet and telemarketers, I had to beat the feet, knock on doors and speak to my potential clients! ok, so I was only 7, but the theory is the same, you need to know how to connect with your customers and encourage them to say “YES”, so what was a 7 year olds unique selling point back then? …… it was an exclusive, and “secret” club. My target market were other 7 years olds, and 7 year olds love “secret” stuff – pitching to your audience is critical. Things have been made a lot easier in this digital age, but you are still at risk of being lost in a big crowd, and if you want to stand out, you might just have to speak to your potential customers. Starting a business requires that you know who your potential market and customers are, and what they want.
The first 3 questions to ask and answer before starting a business
This article was never intended to be a complete guide to starting a business, but more to ask those first poignant questions before you waste your time starting:
- Why do I want to start a business?
- What is my unique selling point, how do I stand out?
- Who are my customers?
If you haven’t answered these 3 basic questions yet, then you are not quite ready to start a business, spend a bit more time on these and make sure you can answer these before proceeding any further, otherwise you really are starting a business like a 7 year old, without much thought or a plan.
I will be publishing more articles on the next steps of starting a business soon, in the mean time you might like to read some more information on starting a business and can find some useful free resources for your next steps here: Read more about business start ups
Maree Wallace is the owner and operator of Business Allsorts, a company dedicated to helping small businesses with all aspects of creating, managing and growing their business. For more information on the services they provide and how they might be able to help yours, visit their website: businessallsorts.co.nz