There are enormous numbers of would-be entrepreneurs with great ideas but no capital to launch a business. While it is unrealistic to expect to develop and start up your idea for free, there are ways to keep the costs down through the early stages of developing a business.
Most entrepreneurs tend to envision the big picture of their ideas. An innovative product that will change the way the world gets things done, a new service that will become a standard in everyday life, or some other version of the next big thing. They picture a startup that takes off rapidly and alters their own financial position for the better within a matter of months. They are absolutely confident that if they can just get their product to market, success will be inevitable.
Unfortunately, success doesn’t usually happen accidentally, and even the greatest products don’t sell themselves. No matter how good the business idea, it takes time, dedication, and, yes, money to get it off the ground. However, the best companies can be started smaller and cheaper, and built into the thriving venture the entrepreneur envisions. Whatever your business idea, consider ways to modify the big idea into smaller pieces that can be started individually or added on as the business grows.
If your idea is to sell a retail product, consider starting with an online-only store. If you plan to manufacture a product, consider outsourcing production during startup. If you want to open a restaurant, consider catering events using a rented kitchen (churches are a great option for short-term kitchen rental) to build capital for expansion. Modifying your idea means it will take longer to get your big idea rolling, but at least you will be on the right track. And, it is far easier to scrape together a few thousand dollars than tens of thousands, especially when you are just starting out.
Starting out smaller increases the necessity of developing a clear road map of where you want your business to go and how you plan to get there. All startups should be thoroughly researched and planned before launch, but those with plans for growth won’t get far without the effort. In order to build a microbusiness into a thriving company, every decision for the business should push closer to that goal. Set clear, aggressive objectives that are based on solid research. Understand the purpose each objective serves for growth. This will result in a relatively quick road to your goals.
With good planning, you also greatly increase your chance of securing outside funding. Starting small will allow you to build the business’s track record in terms of credit worthiness and sales growth, and a good plan will get you in the door with potential investors. Even better, if you can show that your business is following a well-developed plan and has met multiple milestones, your potential investors will likely have increased confidence in your ability to accomplish your future plans. And, risking your own assets to get that far is an important factor that most investors consider — if you won’t invest in yourself, why should they?
Developing a solid road map and getting any sort of business, no matter how small, off the ground requires some cash. For most ideas, a few thousand should be more than enough, if spent effectively. You will need the tools to plan and set up your business the right way from the start. The trial and error method of building a business will cost far more in the long run than getting expert help in the first place. Start saving now and think about ways to modify your big idea into a manageable startup. Starting small is better than waiting, and you will build your dream business in no time at all.