Why you can start a business, even if you don’t have any money
When I decided to start my own business selling candles, I knew it was going to be a challenge. I had very little money to invest and I wanted to create my own range of candles. So what did I do? I did research and a lot of it! There are numerous well-established companies selling candles that have huge marketing budgets, Yankee Candles, being just one of many.
Know your motivation for starting your own business
Before you start your research, you need to know your reasons for starting a business. Be honest, not everyone wants to save the environment or help people. If that is your reason, great, as long as you are being real with yourself. However, if the real reason is that you have had enough of working for other people or you want to be wealthy, that’s o.k. When you know the drive behind why you want to start a business, you can start to think about the type of business you want to start. Ensuring your business is aligned with the goals that really matter to you, whatever they may be, will make it easier to push yourself through challenges and stay motivated.
Finding a business idea
When you know why you are starting your business you can start to figure out what type of business you want to run. There are various ways to do this, I recommend brainstorming, you can do this alone or with friends. Not only will brainstorming help you to come up with business ideas, it will also help you to find out if you are someone who prefers to work solo or if you thrive when surrounded by other people.
3 questions to ask when starting a business
In order to carry out effective research, I started with a list of questions.
1. The most important question I asked myself was, how could I differentiate my candles and make sure there was a market for them?
The key to success regardless of the industry or business sector is to think about what problem your business can solve for clients or customers. You need to provide either a solution, no one else does, or a better way of achieving a solution for challenges, your clients or customers want to resolve.
2. Ask yourself, can you do things faster, for less money or can you do them better?
For my candle business, I knew, from my research that there was a gap in the market for candles that were not made from wax, which can give off toxins and are not environmentally friendly. I found another ingredient, soy that could be used to make safer, environmentally friendly candles for a reasonable price.
3. What do you need to get started?
Getting started can be difficult, especially with limited finances. Consider what you can do that will not cost you anything. I set up my website to promote my candles before I started to search for a manufacturer. In fact, starting was easy, I used a free service for my website and e-commerce store and only paid a minimal amount for my domain name. A couple of hours later I had a beautiful website and I was ready to role, although I needed the candles to sell of course!
Find a support network or a mentor
Even if you like to work alone, it is vital to find a support network or mentor. Starting a business is the easy part, keeping going on difficult days or when you hit a brick wall is hard. Maybe you were motivated by a story you read about an entrepreneur who started a business and made seven figures in 6 months or the best friends who set up a business with nothing and sold it for millions a year later. That motivation will fade quickly and having a supportive network or mentor to keep you on track is not only advisable it is invaluable.
Every successful entrepreneur has had dark days full of doubt and insecurity. I promise that just being able to speak with someone who feels the same or who has come out the other end, can be the difference between giving up and pushing yourself to keep going. Having a support network or mentor will also help you if you are going alone, running a business will mean self-sacrifice. Your friends, who are still employed will continue to invite you out, yet for at least the first 6 months I certainly had to turn down every invitation. I missed birthday parties, an engagement party, and many summer barbeques to spend the time building my company. It could have been a very lonely time, yet I always had my other entrepreneurial friends who were making the same decisions and self-sacrifice for their potential business success.
This is why I started Women in Digital Business, I wanted to share the quickest ways to start and run a successful business and provide a network for women who needed support and direction. I joined a Google run initiative I Am Remarkable and became a Gold Facilitator, running workshops to help support women from underrepresented backgrounds to promote themselves and progress more effectively in their careers. To give myself a fresh challenge I decided this year I would start a crowdfunding campaign. Raising funds through NatWest, Back Her Business, my goal is to provide the financial backing that would ensure that women, from underrepresented groups, got a head start with their business.