Many years ago I sat in a start up forum of about 10 people looking to start a new business. It was at this event that I got some of the best advice I have ever received in business. Start your business downhill.
The analogy works quite well, and if you put into practice the advice behind the analogy your business would have a much stringer chance of surviving the early tough years.
So what does this actually mean in practice?
Well starting your business down hill means starting your business with momentum, and this can come in many forms. In this article I plan to run through a few examples I have utilised, and others you could if you are starting a business.
I started my finance broker by spending many years working for a corporate company learning the trade. I utilised established companies to gain experience, and qualifications, not only in finance but in recruitment and management. I developed my skill sets that would help me run the business. I also set the business up in a geographically advantageous area. An area where the market knew me for what I did. Of course you need to be aware of any contractual restrictions to you setting up in competition to a current employer.
I also started my business within another business. This provided cheaper office space, and the clients of the business I am based within [An estate agent] have a correlating requirement for our services, allowing us to leverage an existing businesses experience, reputation and existing success and client bank. All of this allowed us to gain clients quickly, and become quite successful in a relatively short period of time.
Other ways you may wish to start your business down hill are to start initially part time in your spare time whilst still working. As long as there is no competitive conflicts with what you do, and your employer doesn’t have any intellectual rights over any work [Check your contracts] this can be a good way financially to start down hill. Initial months and years of a business can be financially tough, and these pressures commonly cause issue for families at home as relationships become strained. So having an income, and working your business idea as a side hustle can allow you to not only test whether the market you believe is there, is actually there and you can be successful within it. As your business grows you can try and reduce your hours at work, and slowly bring them down to a zero point when you go full time in your business.
In summary, the 3 main ways of starting down hill can be put in to 3 categories.
- Experience. Utilise existing employers, some would likely become your competitors, and gain experience, and find USPs in the market you can sell to. Become an expert on someone else’s time and cost. Some of the most successful businesses are launched off the back of employees feeling they can do it better.
- Finance. Make sure you are in a strong financial position. Have your debts under control and low. Reduce your monthly income. Live lean. Utilise spare time to launch your business where possible, and stay employed for as long as possible- even if that means phasing in to part time work, and moving in to the business full time.
- Leverage. Utilise other experience, and client bases. Look for synergies. Look for collaborations. Look for people and businesses who can move you on quicker than you would alone, and form these partnerships with businesses which can benefit from you as much as you can from them.
If you are able to put all of these above in to force, you will truly start your business down hill, and will give yourself the best opportunity of succeeding in any market place.