7 easy things to kick start your online business without wasting $10k.

Different to my previous blog post, you can take this seriously and implement this into your business. You probably hear/read these kind of blog posts all the time, the difference maybe that I have both failed in business because I didn't do some of the following and I have also been successful in following these principals. This isn't BS that I made up to get traffic it is real world stuff that, will help you get started.

  1. Follow the lean start up methodology
  2. Open yourself up to critical feedback
  3. Presell your idea/business before it is ready
  4. Understand a problem and solve it
  5. Leverage google and all that is FREE whilst you test your business
  6. Hack your first product/business together (Don't go for perfect)
  7. Use smart easy to use services & don't lock into any contracts

1) Follow the lean start up methodology

Be a sponge, fail and learn from your mistakes (Read this book - The lean start up) then grow to feel comfortable doing this relentlessly over and over again. The below video is a nice high level brush over of the book which I found on youtube.

2) Open yourself up to critical feedback

Something I see far to often is people coming to me with 'ideas' they have these million dollar idea's but never actually make them happen because they don't know where to get started and they think that if they start talking about their 'idea' someone who does know how to execute will steal their idea and commercialise it before them. I would say this, unless you are a scientist or someone who is very technical the chances of you thinking of something that someone hasn't already done/is doing is very slim, get your idea out in the world and start getting some critical feedback, try and 'kill your idea'. Below are some simple things you can do today to try 'kill your idea' if your business idea stands up or grows as a result keep going for it.

  1. Google search for 2 - 3 hours on the specifics of your business.
  2. Have a beer with your mates and ask them to shoot holes in your idea, start the conversation with this "I have this idea can you tell me if I am crazy or not?".
    • ^^ Note: just because they might say you are crazy, which they will doesn't mean stop, you need to look at their feedback very subjectively and understand why they say the things they do. This will be the first of 100's - 1000's of people calling you crazy, embrace that shit!
  3. Go through Drew Corby's Idea boot camp a FREE 5 part business strategy course aimed at refining your business as a concept.

3) Presell your idea/business before it is ready

How can you get any more proof of people valuing your solution to their problem than them giving you money to relieve the pain ? Go to market with a very open and honest pre-sales campaign to test and gather feedback on your business, in the worst case scenario here you can refund the people who purchased from you because you couldn't deliver. There are many different ways in which you can pre-sell your business services or products.

For new innovative products check out:

  • https://www.kickstarter.com/
  • https://www.indiegogo.com/

For everyday commerce businesses:

For service businesses:

  • Put together a contract which begins with ample time to get ready and take a deposit.

^^ Doing pre-sales of any sort, enables you do drastically limit your downside and instead now of wasting time and money you are getting paid to develop your business. When you do this you end up providing your customers with a better solution and experience because you have some resources to deliver more value. 

I will caution it with this tho; there is a fine line between pre-sales and overcommitment solve that with a very open line of communication.

Our own pet project starting a business using the pre-sales method.

Our own pet project starting a business using the pre-sales method.

 

4) Understand a problem and solve it

Something that baffles me, is when people come to us with a business idea and want to build a website, one of the first things I will ask them is 'tell me a little bit about your business and how it came to be?'. When the response is this; "Well I read a blog post and the guy said to see what was trending on google searches and then pick a sub niche in that area, so I did and went out and bought some products now I need to sell them", my response is generally a very blank face and slightly sick in the stomach.

Business doesn't happen over night, sure you might be able to jump on amazon or ebay and sell a couple thousand dollars worth of product in pot luck but if you are looking to build a business that goes further than that, you need to go deeper.

Rather than asking this questions "What products sell really well online?" try this one "What problem do I know really well and therefore have a competitive edge over anyone else operating in the industry?" do some research and then ask this follow up questions "How can I solve that problem and how much will people pay for my solution?"

 

5) Leverage google and all that is FREE whilst you test your business

It is interesting how overlooked and undervalued the things that we take for granted are, the conversations you may come across talking about how people start their business simply by searching on google in our world for a reason. I personally learnt how to build websites and the fundamentals of doing business online through repeatedly pounding things into google... 'how to do this, how to do that, what are the best way to do X, etc etc.... The art of building a profile around your idea through the aggressive use of google is staple to learning in our modern age.

Something that can enable you to have a very strong and educated conversations around particular ideas with people of influence whilst starting your business is to ask google before you ask the person/people you normally go to for advice. We often have our clients come to us suggesting different business ideas, or asking industry specific questions and although we do work with e-commerce businesses everyday from around the world, if you are selling backpacks to school kids in Sydney we are not going to know the competitive environment/landscape of other businesses in that space. Gather that specific information as much as you can and these use your other Free resources such as conversation with people and team like us to build effective strategies.

 

6) Hack your first product/business together (Don't go for perfect)

Use the start up mentality of getting products and progress out always at the mvp level, whether it is your logo, your website, your products for sale or anything else in your business get it out into the world and try to start making money/creating value as soon as possible. This will help you get to 'perfect' a whole lot quicker.

Take this for example: we launched our side project 'The Verb Idea' a basics white tee shirt business a month or so ago, we took this mentality and started with a very basic Shopify store and expected people to give us feedback on it. We gathered a huge amount of feedback in the first couple weeks, some of which was very critical. Now our understanding of how people perceive our business is a hell of lot clearer than what it would of been if we had spent another month with it behind closed doors trying to make it 'perfect' before we launched.

 

7) Use smart, easy to use services & don't lock into any contracts:

In 2017 you don't need to create custom solutions for getting started, when thinking about your first website look for the best way to get set up and achieve an 80% complete/success mark and then build on top of that. Also with the kind of software readily available to us today, do not be afraid of building something for a particular stage of your business and then letting go of it and starting again. Getting started you should be able to licence all of your software with no lock in contracts with a relatively low combined monthly cost. Below I have dot pointed a great online business software stack to enter the market with a low cost and a low barrier to learning anything too technical.

^ This above basic software stack will have you doing business online with less than $100 per month. If you want any help installing or setting up anything here contact us, that is what we do and we would love to work with you on this.

I would love to hear any feedback you may have on the blog post in the comments below, let me know what you think!

 

Oliver Du Rieu

62, King Street, Melbourne, VIC,

Entrepreneur, leader and life live'er