Starting Your Business Smaller Can Make Your Success Bigger
For many people with a great business idea, the delay in taking the plunge into entrepreneurship is because of the lack of time or money to get their idea off the ground. In most cases, there are viable means to modifying the business idea into something that can be started part-time and with less capital than the original plan. Starting out smaller can be very advantageous, allowing you to keep your current job, bootstrap the startup to fit your out-of-pocket budget, learn more about the industry, and test the market for your product or service with limited risk.
There are very few business ideas that cannot be modified into a simpler, more niched startup. Sometimes, though, it is difficult to see or accept a smaller piece of an idea when you are certain your big idea is going to succeed! There are several ways to look at it — for some, not being able to launch the whole plan at once seems futile and a waste of time. Some worry that starting out with a smaller idea will leave them stuck in that niche for the duration. But really, if you can’t start up your original idea because of financial or other restraints, at least getting a smaller piece of it up and running puts you on the right road.
You can plan around the success of that smaller endeavor to get you where you want to go. If money is a problem, keep your day job and launch a part-time venture that will earn enough to eventually fund your grand plan. If you have several smaller ideas, launch all of them and work your plan to grow the pieces together into the company you want to run. If time is an issue, keep in mind that committing a mere three hours per week equals nearly a month of full-time work over a year! The time is going to pass whether you get started on your own business or not, but starting now will get you that much closer to working only for yourself. There are a million good reasons to get started sooner rather than later, but few good excuses to wait!
So, how do you miniaturize your business idea into something you can start on a smaller budget or part-time? First, consider all the components of your business idea. For example, if your dream business is to be a real estate developer, that venture can be divided into multiple steps, each of which offers several viable small businesses, such as:
Site Selection — Write a how-to manual, offer consultant services
Site Inspection — Obtain an inspection license for PT work, consult with property owners or other developers in preparing a site for inspection, manage
Tax Incentives — Write informational product about how and where to find tax breaks on specific development projects, consult with developers to maximize tax benefits
Demolition — Provide demolition services, site cleanup services,
Rehabilitation — Provide any number of specific construction services, such as drywall, painting, floor installation, and the like; create a contractor review service, provide quality inspections; independent salesperson representing construction materials
Cost Management — Provide consulting services as a CM (construction manager), consult for CM software
Filling the Space — Get Real Estate license, broker’s license; start property management firm
As you can see, a big dream like running a property development firm can provide dozens of smaller startup ideas that allow you to gain experience, knowledge, connections, and, most importantly, capital to eventually build your own development firm. This method can be used to break most big business ideas down into smaller opportunities that will get you on the right track to your entrepreneurial goals. Think about opportunities under various business models — selling products, providing services, online-only, etc. — and consider any “problem” areas that you could develop a solution for.
Another option is to start up any smaller idea you might have that will earn some capital to build up your resources for your big idea. Think about the work experience you have had or subjects that you are particularly knowledgeable about. One young entrepreneur started an online video game help service — customers paid a small fee to receive hints and tips for conquering the newest video games — and over one year saved enough of the profits to startup the mobile detailing business he wanted to own!
The most successful entrepreneurs tend to be very flexible and creative in getting where they want to go. Keep your eye on your ultimate goal, but be willing to modify and change directions as opportunities present themselves. Whatever you decide to do, get started on your planning as soon as possible!