Want to go it alone and create your own business? If you think you have what it takes, consider starting a micro business.
Dal LaMagna, an entrepreneur based in Poulsbo, Wash., Says anyone can do it – if they do it the right way.
He speaks from experience. LaMagna started personal beauty tool company Tweezerman in 1980 with $ 500, turned it into a multi-million dollar international company, and sold it in 2004. He is also the author of Raising Eyebrows: A Failed Entrepreneur Finally Get It Right.
A microenterprise is a business with one to five employees. A sole proprietorship is technically a micro-enterprise. The best part is that it can be started with a few hundred dollars if the overhead and operating costs are kept low.
Thinking of giving it a try? LaMagna offers the following helpful tips:
Look for something you like that also offers lucrative market potential. If there isn’t a strong market for your product or service, it might not be worth it.
Be frugal. Don’t spend the money you don’t have and don’t buy anything you don’t need. In your first year in business, all income should be reinvested in the business. Spend money only on essential business tools, such as essential technology. Anything that improves and grows your business is a worthwhile expense. The main objective is to build up cash flow and reserves at the same time. Grow your business one day at a time.
Balance efforts in three ways. Think of your business as a triangle made up of three important functions: sales, production, and control of your business. Devote an equal amount of your time, energy, and resources to each of these three functions. From January to April, it may be prudent to aggressively beat the bushes and build a strong client / customer base. From May to August, focus on fine-tuning your services and leveraging your niche market. And from September to December, focus on setting up accounting and IT systems to control the workflow. Whatever systems you create, the idea is to set achievable goals that build the business.
Find free or cheap material. Many of the items needed to start and run a small business are available for free or at minimal cost. Friends or former coworkers may have a computer or printer they want to get rid of or sell for a fraction of what they paid for.
If you are buying equipment or technology, consider refurbished products. Refurbished computers (also known as refurbished and remanufactured) are as good as new right off the assembly line. When it comes to buying tech products, the prevalent myths are that new ones mean the best, state-of-the-art and often the best products, and refurbished products mean tarnished, poor quality. and mediocre. Sadly, consumers and small business owners believe these myths, a testament to the incredible work legions of copywriters have done to brainwash buyers.
Every year, companies introduce new lines of desktops and laptops. Still, the changes are minor and mostly cosmetic. The idea of upgrading technology every year to boast of having the latest tech gadgets on the market is ludicrous, not to mention an outrageous waste of money.
Typically, refurbished computers are less than a year old, which means they’re pretty much new. The difference between buying refurbished and new translates to huge savings – sometimes prices are cut in half.
Technological equipment is refurbished for a number of reasons. Maybe the computer was sent back because it was not working properly. Often the problem was nothing more than a cosmetic flaw, like a little dent on the monitor or the computer case. Or it could be that a customer received the wrong model but has already opened the box. The ECUs are re-fitted with different parts, if necessary, and tested and approved for resale by the manufacturer.
Get it in writing. Customers often assume that they don’t have to sign an agreement or contract with a very small business. This simple step not only makes you look professional, but also takes the hassle out of disagreing or misunderstanding the precise nature of the work being done, as well as when payment is expected.
Stay focused. Focus on what you do best. If you specialize in a specific industry, try to make a name for yourself within that industry. Once your reputation is established, consider branching out into new directions.
Dana Wilson is a freelance writer.