Well hello there!
I trust your week has gone well so far. Today, I am continuing this series on starting your own business. First, here is why the topic includes ‘start with’. I strongly believe in multiple streams of income, especially now that my eyes have opened. I encourage all women to have more income sources especially if they are in full time employment.
However, I also believe in the power of focus when starting a new venture. Hence, I advise my coaching clients to start with one idea first, grow it into a self-sustaining business before moving on to the next. For instance, I started with hampers. Did you know I had a business called The Pink Shop? 🙂 Then I added corporate training through Corporate Training Solutions. After a year, I started The Fabulous Woman Network. The Pink Shop is the only business I have stopped, or perhaps put on hold. The others are still active and I keep exploring new ideas under both.
Note: I had no idea of what I was doing. Errmm actually, that may still be applicable. However, in hindsight, starting one business at a time was definitely a good idea.
Question 1: are you my hypothetical friend who has a gazillion great business ideas? I am like you too. As I type this, the following are a few of the ideas I have
- Dance studio
- Housekeeping agency
- Catering business
- Teaching English online, etc
I am not into any of these although for some of them, I get requests and pass them on to others.
Question 2: are you stuck in trying to decide which one to start with? Well, let me answer with a question as apparently that is what Africans do haha! What is your low hanging fruit? Your low hanging fruit is the idea that you can easily start with given the resources required.
I learnt this concept of low hanging fruit from a few of my virtual mentors like Amy Porterfield. Imagine you have a pear tree in your yard. The fruits, hanging low, in the middle and up are all ripe and inviting. When plucking, you will start with the lowest one you can reach because that is the easiest. That is your low hanging fruit.
For instance, let’s consider the list of business ideas I have listed above. My model of a carpentry business may surprisingly be the easiest for me to do. I already have the resources plus contacts. I haven’t investigated entry requirements though. The AirBnB is also a low hanging fruit because I already have all that I need. The only thing left is to apply/sign up.
To apply this to your choice of business idea:
- List all the possible business ideas that pop into your head. Don’t hold yourself back. Allow your mind to flow freely. Remember, ideas are free. You may visit last week’s blog to help you identify possible business ideas.
- Next, spend time to consider the need for each plus what you will need in order to start with each. Consider resources needed. Do people need or want this? Or is it a problem. What kind of certification (e.g. Food & Drugs Board) would you need before you can start? Fact: you may not know all the right questions to ask, let alone the answers. Just do this to the best of your ability for now and update as you experiment.
- Dig deeper; ask people you know in the various industries about what you will need to start. Before you say, ‘Ama, for fear of competition, they won’t tell me oh’, hold it. Have you asked ALL the people you know? I once spoke at a church when this issue came up. I was so happy when one business man shared his experience. He asked 5 people in the import business to teach him how. They all said no. But you know what, he didn’t give up. Eventually, one of them said yes to him. Now he is making $$$ in this business.
- With the above information, you can now pick the easiest to start with. Please don’t overthink it. The least you will get from starting a business is excitement, experience and knowledge. The most? Well, limitless fulfillment!
One more thing before I let you go, think big and start small. I believe this advice is applicable to many of us in our endeavours. For instance, if your idea is to own a suit factory, start by making a suit for one person, then 2, 5, 10, etc. If you want to feed chicken to your entire city, start by feeding it to one family, then your neighborhood, suburb, city, etc
Also, it is very OK if your big is not big enough for others. I have personally felt down in the past by some comments to the effect that I don’t think big. I know that as my weakness, I don’t ‘know’ big enough to think big enough. Here is a quote from Maya Angelou that has given me peace about this issue. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Period!
Look, everyone including the most admired person on earth started from somewhere. I just finished reading ‘Believe It’ by Jamie Kern Lima https://amzn.to/317j9G7 L’Oreal recently bought her company It Cosmetics 1.2 billion US Dollars. Do you know where she started from and continued working for years? Her living room! The way this book kept tearing me up eh! By the way, I highly recommend this book to all women, especially women entrepreneurs.
So ladies and perhaps gentlemen, this is my take on how to choose which business idea to start with. I am curious to know, has this been helpful? Please share some feedback in the comment, I look forward to reading from you.
PS: Do you need help to plan, execute and achieve your business goals? I have created Group Coaching For Startups to help you do just that. Over 40 women have benefited from this program already. Currently, I am recruiting the 5th Cohort which starts in the first week of April. If this is for you, read and sign up here: Group Coaching For Startups.
Photo by: Vera Obeng Photography