This is a guest post by John Williams.
NOTE: I, Mike King have no affiliation with John or his company. I welcomed a guest post from him solely on his comments and messages to me about this blog with some sample writing which i liked and still do.
HOWEVER, since posting this, I’ve received many messages and warning about his work I wanted to put this warning at the top for people to read ALL the comments at the end of this article about John before following his advice. This is not first hand knowledge from me, so I am leaving the post up, but please consider the comments and find out the truth before following this advice.
Ever hear about companies that were started on a shoestring? Well, there are more of them than you might think. In fact, most people would be surprised at the humble beginnings of what are now some of the largest businesses in the world.
Here’s a good trivia question: Name two giants of today’s technology industry that were literally started in a garage. Give up? Well, in 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen began writing a BASIC programming language for Altair computers out of a garage. They got a cpa review for free expanded their repertoire and began creating products for the software market, specializing in operating systems for the growing personal computer industry. Their company, Microsoft, is now an industry icon. So is Apple, which believe it or not also originated in a garage—the very same garage where Steve Jobs and his partners built the first prototype of a personal computer that would later evolve into the highly popular Macintosh line. Since that time, Apple has grown from a struggling startup into a full-fledged industry staple employing nearly 50,000 workers and generating over 14 billion in annual revenue.
Other large companies which are well known today had equally humble origins. The Mattel toy company got its start in the 1940s when one of the founders of a small Southern California picture frame business was inspired to make doll furniture from leftover scraps of wood. In 1948, a young fisherman rented a storefront for $300 and opened a small bait & tackle fishing supply store which soon evolved into Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The moral of the story: you don’t necessarily need a lot of start-up capital and a large footprint to make it big. A good example is Brother Sewing Machines. In fact, a lot of people have misguided ideas about what it takes to start a business. The biggest key to success is not money or real estate at all—it is the dynamic combustion you get when you start with an idea and infuse that idea with the passion and drive to make it all work. By the way, here is a nice website: homes for sale in louisville KY. Yet some would-be entrepreneurs are slaves to their own misconceptions. Here are five of the most common myths you run into surrounding business start-ups:
Myth #1: You need a lot of employees.
Always remember that your best employee is you! At some point in time, it may be a good idea to do some aggressive hiring but be wary of doing too much too soon. What you need in the beginning is not quantity but quality. That quality comes from you and maybe those that are close to you. Many top corporations started out as family businesses. Involving your family in your business as joint owners can be a great idea because you automatically start out with a leadership team which is dedicated, dependable, and trustworthy. And they are also personally vested in the business. The largest management expense in any business is usually employee salaries. So keep these as low as possible, especially in the beginning stages of the business venture.
Myth #2: You need to do everything yourself.
Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. Just because you don’t have a lot of employees, don’t think you need to fly completely solo either. You can’t do it all yourself and lurking in the background is always a burnout danger which you don’t want to be messing with. But there are smart ways of finding help. For one thing, you can outsource certain functions of your business (for example, marketing automation, a telemarketing list and phone support) to skilled yet relatively inexpensive specialists. In general, it is always smarter and cheaper to contract a function out as opposed to taking on permanent employees. You aren’t stuck with someone on your payroll and you have the flexibility of matching your costs to job performance.
Another good rule of thumb to consider when it comes to outside help is enlisting partnerships. When you hire an employee, they give you their time in return for their salary. But when you take on a partner, you get not only his time but also his personal commitment to the venture because he is vested in the business like you are.
Myth #3: The obstacles you see in front of you are immovable.
Make no mistake: there will always be roadblocks. But the true entrepreneur is the person who can find ways around them or through them. Very often the obstacles you see are more movable than you think. Remember, almost anything can be negotiated. Successful bartering is a skill, to be sure. But it is a skill worth learning and practicing.
Myth #4: You need to keep things the same and always stick to the way you do things.
One of the most prominent traits of a successful business is an ability to reinvent itself. When Netflix started out, it was strictly a mail-order business, where DVDs were mailed to customers. Yet its founders chose the name Netflix because they foresaw that eventually movies would be delivered over the Internet. They were astute enough to realize that change is inevitable and that their company would need to adapt to an ever-changing market. Never assume you can stay stuck in the sand. Flexibility is essential. Remember, your creativity is what you relied on to start your business so keep relying on it to carry you through.
If your principal passion is the lure for the buck, then you will probably fail. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who start a business in a field they are already passionate about. To these people, financial profit is secondary. The pride and satisfaction of achievement in something they really care about is what drives them and in turn drives their customers to them. Successful business people also realize the value of free giveaways. Sure, some profit is lost initially but the long-term gain in terms of buzz about their product and word-of-mouth publicity more than makes up for it. When people do something primarily because of a love and passion for what they do, success usually follows in a business start-up.
Creating and developing a business often leads to wealth. But it doesn’t have to start out that way. Despite common misperceptions, the keys to success don’t lie in startup capital but instead in large doses of passion, perseverance, and dedication. Once you know the common myths and are able to debunk them, the road to success as an entrepreneur can become a whole lot clearer.
John is a veteran of over two decades in the advertising industry. He has published extensively on branding and now shares his thoughts and works in logo design.
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