5 Tips For Starting A Small Business From Scratch

It takes an idea, commitment and a good bit of courage for an aspiring business owner to start a business. 

It also takes time, money and a little bit of luck to really make it work.  But, even if an entrepreneur is starting a business solo, he or she doesn’t need to feel alone.

New business owners can learn from others who’ve been through it before and use their experience to help make their own path easier.  

Hunter Hoffmann, Head of US Communications, http://www.hiscox.comHiscoxHere are some tips to help aspiring small business owners get started, keep going and create the business of their dreams:

  1. Dream big: It’s okay to think big – small business owners should play to their strengths and try to build the business that they’ve always wanted. Bethany Lyons, co-founder of Lyons Den Yoga, in Hiscox’s new docuseries, Courageous Leaders, advises that looking at the cost of not pursuing one’s dream is a really great way to get incentive to get up and make things happen. For Bethany, a good job with good money wasn’t enough because she just wasn’t fulfilled and her life seemed stagnant. That’s when she decided to be proactive and become her own CEO.
  2. Small business owners don’t need to go all in right away -Using some of their savings to fund a new business is the easiest way to get a new venture off the ground, but if they don’t have any money put away, that’s no help. But, new business owners can get going and keep the risk low by keeping their day job while business ramps up. Many successful entrepreneurs started their business while holding on to their day job for an extra six months, a year or longer. A new business owner’s growth will probably be slower, but they’ll also cut down their anxiety.  Burning the candle at both ends can be tiring, so they’ll need the energy to pull this off and a work schedule for their side job to keep on track. But, they’ll have the space to grow their business smartly until they can finally quit their job and focus on their business full time.
  3. A dollar saved: New small business owners don’t need to act like the people on Extreme Couponing, but it doesn’t hurt to find ways to cut costs wherever they can. This may mean cutting corners around the house, too. Bethany Lyons put her apartment up as a line of credit when she decided to start her own yoga studio. Start by making smaller sacrifices like skipping the coffee shop and getting a caffeine fix at home.  Don’t shell out rent for an office space when working from home is sufficient, and although a fancy new “business” computer might be tempting, an old laptop will probably work just fine for now. When it means a small business owner can afford their own salary next month, the sacrifice will be worth it.
  4. Get a helping hand:Entrepreneurs should talk to everyone they know until they get a positive response or a referral to someone who can actually help them. Almost all of the successful, wealthy entrepreneurs started in the same place– they had an idea and needed the capital to make it a reality.  Angel investors have the potential to turbo charge a new business’s growth if the person behind it can make them believe in their visions. This doesn’t mean they’ll just throw money at any crazy idea – they get pitched all day and only choose a few select companies to invest in.  Small business owners must make sure their elevator pitch is tight and be ready to answer all the hard questions investors are definitely going to throw their way before putting down any money.
  5. Build an army of supporters:Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly popular and a great way for entrepreneurs to fund their dream. However, 92 percent of small business owners polled in the 2014 DNA of an Entrepreneurstudy did not consider it as an option. Using reward incentives on sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter is a great way to entice pools of potential investors to get financial help. All that’s needed is a compelling argument to go with a quirky or innovative idea and an entrepreneur can begin to crowdfund their small business idea.  But, success is definitely not guaranteed – anybody using these fundraising sites should have a back-up plan in case they don’t reach their fundraising goals.

Even if new business owners work their hardest and follow all of the advice they can, nothing is ever going to go perfectly.  Some failure is inevitable on the road to success and instead of getting discouraged, they should endeavor to learn from their missteps to help build and grow the business. After all, courage is taking action that one believes is right or necessary in spite of the risk. Hopefully, these tips help minimize risk for new and aspiring small business owners as they start out.

Hunter Hoffmann is Head of US Communications at Hiscox Small Business Insuranceand is responsible for media relations, social media, internal communications, content marketing and executive messaging.