Saturday, December 01, 2012

Creating a Small Business

Everyone these days know someone who is, was, or will be job hunting.  How about starting your own business? I took a break from fiction to start reading, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future.   It's about combining your passion with something useful in the world.  The author Chris Guillebeau says this book has two themes: freedom and value meaning that all people want is freedom and providing value is the way to get it.  To write this book he looked at 1,500 respondents online and offline who started micro-businesses and who met at least 6 of his criteria: The "follow-your-passion" model, low startup costs, minimum of $50,000 in net income, no special skills other than on the job training,  willing to discuss their business income and expenses, and fewer than 5 employees. 

Interestingly, this writer says not everyone can build a business around his or her passion, the focus has to be on providing value, making sure the product or service will help other people. On page 18 he outlined the 3 simple things needed to start a business:  

1. Product or service 2. Customers  3. A way to get paid

By page 35 there were 6 steps to get started: 1. Decide on product or service 2. Set up a website ( free at 3. Develop an offer 4. Ensure you have a way to get paid (PayPal) 5. Announce your offer to the world 6. Learn from steps 1-5, then repeat.

He also makes a very important point to help us think about the product or service that we want to sell.  Hone in on what people want.  We all want more love, money, acceptance/attention, and free time and we want less stress, conflict, hassle and uncertainty/debt.

Here is another interesting book title that seems to be similar to The $100 Startup, Mash-Up! How to Use Your Multiple Skills to Give You an Edge, Make Money and Be Happier, by Ian Sanders and David Sloly. This book is supposed to show you how to  mash-up your skill set to create the work life you want.

Also useful to help you decide on  a product or service for a small business is this article by Alexa Hirschfield who posed these useful questions:

1. Does this business have a reason for being? 2. Does it already exist? 3. If not, why not? 4. Is there a customer for this? 4. If so, who are they, how many of them are there, and how do we know?

Bringing it all together is Guillebeau's one page business plan found on Life Hacker.

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