Tag Archives: Business Growth

Do I need money to build a business ?

I often see this question asked in forums, and here is a “lean” NO answer that hopefully will help to keep startup costs down.

  1. You need a great idea to solve a problem that everyone else just moans about.
  2. You need a lean way to get to your marketplace and prove people are willing to pay for the thing you have created. The internet now provides many and varied tools to use, of course the skill is in navigating the huge choice and selecting which work best for you.
  3. You need to take your learning from your mistakes on board, and be willing both to share your depth of knowledge and be agile in changing direction when you need to.
  4. Good ethics take time to acquire, and need to be shown off through actions, as well as claimed through words. Look at those in or near your marketplace with a strong reputation. What do they do? How could you do that?
  5. You can start basic marketing using social media for not very much at all. If you can find a “good crowd” who will guide you, occasionally rap you over the knuckles, and point you towards good practice, you can start telling the world what you do, and why people should work with you. You are aiming to build your brand so people absolutely know what you do, and you spring to mind immediately when they are in conversation with others as their “go to solution” for whatever the problem is.
  6. By using “social sales” techniques, you can avoid the hard sell that everyone dreads, especially in UK market places. This means engaging in dialogue, trying to find out where the other person is going, and whether you can help, either directly or through your network. You won’t sell a lot in one to one dialogue, you are aiming mainly to build relationships and earn the right to be recommended.
  7. You need to be able to explain to potential partners clearly, concisely and persuasively why your idea works, thinking about how they win from working with you, so that you can build a team who can help you bring your idea to fruition.
  8. You need to solve a problem more cost effectively than the others in your marketplace, and do so in a sustainable, systematic and long term way, perhaps completely redefining how people approach solutions to particular problems.
  9. You need to be able to tell large numbers of people in one go, building a credible and ethical brand that others believe in. Your aim is to be someone your audiences look to for thought leadership and innovation in your area of expertise.
  10. By this point you should have a working business, having made many difficult decisions and changes of course along the way. If you now feel you can grow your business further, only now is the time to look for investment money. Match investment to clear objectives about how and why you will grow your business, who you need to bring in to do so, and on what terms. By now, you will have proved your resourcefulness to any potential investor, and they will have far fewer fears about investing their own hard earned money in you.
Voila ! Ten easy to say but hard to do steps, taking you towards innovation and enterprise !
And you might be surprised at the success stories coming from people borrowing quite small amounts eg on credit card to start their business. Bill Gates famously started Microsoft in a garage in the garden.
Yes, building a business takes time and effort, but then time is money after all !!