That's the surest way to start a business.
Yes you are going to need a business plan, a great website, a market strategy and a great product/service. And you should work on them. But the only way you can be sure you will have them is to START.
Start from where you are.
If you don't have a business idea. Start brainstorming for one. I have a list of business ideas, about 40 ideas and growing almost daily. Some are crazy, some are ridiculously simple, some are expensive, some are almost impossible and some are amazing. I'm not going to share them with you. You have to find yours, yourself.
Ideas are everywhere. Open your eyes, stop evaluating and start observing. Be like a spectator and see all the opportunities all the current players are missing. Don't be like the referee, watching out for their errors. It might be hard at first, but it becomes much easier as you make a habit of it. Of seeing ideas and noting them.
Once you've gotten a business idea that will not require you borrowing a huge sum of money (preferable if you get one that won't require you borrowing at all) then proceed to start marketing. Yeah. Start reaching out to people that might need your service.
That was how I began my Excel consultancy. Once my colleague at work, who saw me on a Saturday working to finish an Excel program to automate office reports and was extremely impressed, suggested I begin doing it as a business, I immediately asked my graphics friend to print me biz cards. I began telling people I am an Excel consultant. Most people don't even know where I work or what I do, they just know me as the Excel guru. And the strange part of the whole starting story was that I wasn't that good then. The Excel program I was writing that Saturday was my first real Excel VBA program.
But when people started taking me very seriously, I had to double up to their expectations. I began buying VBA books and helping random people online with their VBA programs. And pulling apart other people's VBA programs to absorb as much as I could.
And now, I call myself the best in Nigeria. Whether I'm truly the best or not is irrelevant. It's more of a prophecy I'm making. I'm going to make sure I'm the best and also make sure all Nigerians know that.
So once you start telling people. People will start telling what they really want. What need they expect your product or service to satisfy. And that is worth more than the best business proposal you can ever come up with on your own. And the day you begin adjusting your product to meet people's needs is the day you have truly begun a business, a viable business. One that is meeting a real need.
That was what turned me into a finance freak. People kept asking me if I did financial modelling and I kept saying no. Then when too many people were asking me that particular question, I became worried. And began learning finance from scratch because I wasn't after a quick fix or half-baked skill. I didn't want to be like a bricklayer who has no idea how the house was designed but just lays the bricks. I wanted (and still wants) to be the best Excel consultant, and if my clients want me to be a financial modeller too, then I'll also become the best at it too.
I have progressed miraculously well. Even had foreign financial analysts as clients. Helped a US stock analyst to fix his analysis program. Passed a tough Valuation Analyst 3 hours interview test. Even have my own popular stock analysis sheet, built by me from scratch.
And now I'm finalizing plan to go full-time as an Excel consultant.
Rewind to 2012, to that Saturday. I never imagined I will be thinking of quitting my job to be doing stuffs on Excel. I never would have dreamed of having foreign clients. And I never saw Excel as something that will someday take over my life.
Then why did this all happen?
Because I did START.
I started from where I was that day. I didn't make any business plan and still don't have one. I didn't think of funding or office or marketing or where customers will come from or what the future holds. In fact, I didn't think at all. I simply acted: START.
And that's my this week special for you.
If you want to start a business, just start.
I'm dedicating this to my everly friend as my little way of assuring him that all will not just go well, but better than he has ever imagined. As long as he STARTs.