Key Question: What do I do with these ideas for a business?
The Online Workshop - Case Studies
If you are struggling with yourself, that is a good thing. Please, don't be in any way cavalier about telling people you are going to start a business. It is a huge decision and should not be taken lightly. You'll be changing your lifestyle significantly and the statistics are against you. That you are reading this paragraph on this website, however, increases your probability of success. If you want to substantially increase that probability, work through these case studies:
1. PC Flowers & Gifts: Bill Tobin is for all the cyber-savvy people whose family and friends still say, "You won't make money on the Internet." Yet, Bill is an entrepreneur's entrepreneur. This is a must-watch show for anybody thinking about a technology-based company.
2. Albert Black, On Target Supplies & Logisitcs: Albert says it does not take much money to start; it takes a lot to grow.
3. Madison Park Greeting Cards. Judi Jacobsen found out she could paint when she was 30 years old and the mother of four young children. With $200 and a partner, she started Madison Park Greeting Card Company. Families often ask, "Are you sure you want to do that?" If your family does, please watch this episode!
4. Cowgirl Enterprises. Donna Baase started in her home, then found a small office. But she outsources just about everything. This may be a good model to begin to consider early.
For more, go to section about Money at Step 1.
1. Understanding Oneself - the Basics. Who are you? How do you define yourself? What are your most basic, core talents?
2. Understanding One's History - the Past. Where did you come from? What is your work history? In what settings did you find yourself most energized? ...most creative?
3. Understanding One's Values - the Present. How do you spend your time each day? What occupies your mind? With whom do you spend your time? You're thinking about a business...do you have a name for it?
4. Understanding direction - the Future. What do you dream about? What do you see yourself doing ten years from now? ...five years? ...just a year? Write it down.
For more questions, go to the section about Money at Step 1.
Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid, said that if you dream of something worth doing, simply go to work on it and don't think about all the reasons why you shouldn't do it -- there are plenty -- and to name a few, personality and emotional conflicts, money, and/or family distractions.
Just think of what you have to do next, detail by detail. Even though the end is a long way off (and he believes there are at least 5000 steps to take before you begin to realize a dream), start taking the first ten steps, then 20.
You will be amazed at how quickly you will get through those 5000 steps.
You can easily say to yourself, "I have a dream."
You also need to be able to say to somebody close to you: "I have an idea for a business. And, I have motivation. I know I want to be in business for myself."
Every episode of this show is a story about a person's journey and struggle to overcome fear and to have courage. First for us all is the courage to start a new venture. Then we need courage to face the new day and overcome any fears to run and grow that business. There are lots of start up stories throughout this website. Every story is about the struggle to grow. Here are a few...
Hattie says during the opening of every single episode, "Everybody has an idea for a business!" We have asked thousands of adults and it actually seems to be true.
So, think long and hard about your idea. You are in good company.
1. Understanding Oneself - the Basics. Not everybody is cut out to start and own a business. But each of us needs to grasp our own special calling for work. Each of us has our own unique gifts for work or for creating something of value.
If you need help to discern your gifts, we recommend reading the first chapter of Hattie's book, Beating the Odds. It is about your personal magic. It is online -- just a click away -- and there is our discussions just about the struggle to decide to start. To see if you have the mind of a business owner, please take some time with this little quiz.
How did you do (with the quiz on the prior page)? Do you still think your idea is worth pursuing?
2. Understanding One's History - the Past & Your knowledge: Next, let's look at how much you really know about this subject. Before you announce your idea for a business to the public, be sure you have done some real research. This is one of the most important decisions you will be making in your life.
So, how does this idea fit into the marketplace:
3. Understanding One's Values - the Present: How do you spend your time? So, you have come this far. Now tell us, will you start a business from scratch, try to buy into a franchise, or try to buy a business from within (with an employee-to-owner option)? If you are not sure, please take some time now and review the first three very short chapters from segments within the show called Business Basics.
So, what kind of business will it be? Do you know the business type? Do you know the National Trade Association for that business type and do you know their publications and others for that industry? Are you a subscriber? If not, why not? It is a "must-do."
If not, please do some research on the web. It is easy to do and it is a "must-do."
4. Understanding direction - the Future: Taking steps today for tomorrow. OK, we are going to test your commitment to this idea. If you can, please go to one of the Internet domain-name registers (there are hundreds). We have used Network Solutions (netsol.com) and GoDaddy. Check your business name. Your business name encapsulates the spirit and direction of your idea. If you do not have one yet, try a few out. Enter a name in the field provided. It will assume "Your-Name-of-the-Business".com.
It may well be reserved by somebody else. Now, you have to be creative, but you are also getting valuable research information. Take a look at those web sites that have your name!
Once you have a domain name that is accepted (keep trying), spend the money -- anywhere from $8 to $35 per year -- and secure your worldwide web address (a domain name or URL). This is a little acid test -- are you seriously thinking about doing it or not?
If you can't spend that little amount, please, please do not quit your 9-to-5 job.
About the money. Many people think they should get money from someone to start their business with a simple idea. No so. There is money at each step along the way in starting your business, but at this step it is basically your Personal Savings. You had better begin saving some money. This is not easy and it is going to cost you time, energy and hard-earned dollars to start.
You've got to put some skin in the game.
According to research done by VISA Business Card Primer, relatively little money is used to start most businesses. The Small Business Administration says most businesses are started with less than $10,000. This is good to know; however, to grow, it'll take cash and time.
Now when you share your very special ideas with someone whose judgment you trust you go to the next step.
Remember the musical, Man from la Mancha? Remember the theme song,