I am well-known as a supporter and adviser to small and start-up businesses, and so unsurprisingly I receive a great many incoming enquiries from businesses in this demographic looking for help and advice.
In most cases the conversation goes the same way.
They say they have just started a business and need customers – can I help? I then ask for their website address, because I want to get an insight into how they choose to showcase their venture and I am often told “I don’t have a website at the moment” When I ask why, the answer I get nearly always relates to budget. Or lack of.
When you set off on your start-up journey this way, you are telling the world that you have such little faith in succeeding that you are already mitigating your losses for when you fail. You don’t want to spend too much, so you don’t have to lose too much, just in case.
New business owners tell me they want to invest in social media instead, because it is free. They feel that their time is less valuable than their money, so they don’t mind if that ends up being wasted. And yet, if only they understood that time is the one thing you can’t make more of.
I say to those people ”What would you do differently if you knew you couldn’t fail?”
If you want to start a business, and take it seriously there are costs involved and if you are not prepared to meet some of those costs, then it’s not a business but rather an activity that passes the time. It is a common misconception that by choosing an online or service based business, that you can start off with ‘no overheads’ – but this is untrue and misleading to others. At the very least you will need to market your business, pay for subscriptions, software such as Microsoft Office, build a website and a brand.
If you are going into business thinking you can operate from a Hotmail email address, use a free website template, do your own marketing without any help and have zero business costs to get your business up off the ground, then ask yourself, if you have such little faith in it being a success then why are you starting a business in the first place?