Every successful business starts with a great idea. And it could be anything – a dating app, an ecommerce site, or an online video game. But for this single idea to flourish and become profitable, it takes a lot of work.
Anyone can have a business idea. It doesn’t matter whether you have a master’s degree in business studies or you’re just a regular Joe who had a spark of inspiration on the bus one day. If you have no experience in the field of business, you might think this would be an obstacle to setting up your own company. You have no idea about marketing, finances, and all the other technical bits that come with it. How are you supposed to not only grow a business from scratch but also maintain it and keep it profitable?
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need experience to be a successful entrepreneur. All you need is a good idea and the will to see it through. Take a look at Richard Branson, for example. The British billionaire dropped out of school aged 16 and decided to set up his own mail-order music business. After a few years of putting in the hard work and learning the tricks of the trade as he went on, his company – Virgin Records – started to skyrocket towards being a global phenomenon. He is now one of the most recognizable and respected faces in the business world.
This proves that inexperience is not a barrier to success. Your business idea might not make you the next Richard Branson, but it could still become a thriving company that makes you a lot of money. You just need to be willing to make it work and learn some new skills along the way.
To kickstart your entrepreneurial journey, here are some valuable tips on how to start your own business with little to no practical experience.
Turn your inexperience into an advantage
If you’ve never dipped your feet into the murky world of business before, you would be forgiven for viewing this as a major drawback. However, you can turn this perception on its head and actually see your lack of expertise as a positive. Many business leaders who have been in the game for decades can be cocky and overconfident. Their past successes lead them to think they know it all, and that their way is the right way. However, the business landscape is changing all the time, and at a faster rate than ever before. New technologies and ways of working are emerging on a daily basis, and those who are perpetually stuck in the dark ages are doomed to be left behind.
Being a fresh pair of eyes in your industry means you will be open to new ideas or more willing to embrace new challenges. You will take all the advice and help you can get, rather than relying on your own past successes and echo chambers of people around you.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
There’s a good chance your excellent business idea came from your own dissatisfaction. Maybe you were unhappy with the service you received from another company and thought you could do better, or maybe you identified a genuine gap in the market that you wanted to see. This unique perspective from the customer’s eyes can be a huge advantage when creating your business. Your frustration at not being able to find what you are looking for in the market has led you to create your own solution. And therefore, you are creating a product or service with the customer in mind, not just with the intention to make money.
This is all the experience you need to build the foundations. Not years and years sitting in shareholder meetings and studying copyright law. Going back to our friend Richard Branson, who created a successful airline with no aviation experience whatsoever, he once said on this theme: “Think about changes you’d like to see as a customer – even if you’ve just noticed little details that need tweaking. Those little changes may add up to a big idea that leads to a new and truly disruptive product or service.”
Focus on your strengths
What are your most positive characteristics? Everyone has great attributes that they can be proud of and you are doubtless no exception. Whatever these strengths may be, ensure you use them to your advantage in whatever way you can. Perhaps you are the type of person that always sees a job through to the end, no matter how laborious or boring it may be. This perseverance and determination will work in your favor when facing the trials and tribulations of building a company from the ground up.
You might be a logical, strategic thinker. This will put you in good stead when drafting business plans and marketing strategies. If you’re a good communicator, decision-maker, or you have a way with numbers, put these skills to the forefront of everything you do.
Find a mentor
One of the best ways to learn any new skill or trade is to take first hand advice from a seasoned professional. And starting your own business is no exception. You need to find someone who already owns their own company, ideally in the same field as you, and pick their brains. They will be able to provide their own anecdotal guidance on how to start a company with no experience and deal with the tricky subjects of finances, sales pitches and growing your network. You might know someone already who fits this description, or maybe you have a secondhand contact through a colleague or family member who can help you.
If you are truly stuck for business people in your life, there are plenty of resources available online to those seeking business mentors. For a fee, these sites will put you in touch with the most suitable expert in your industry to guide you through the process.
Become more tech savvy
No matter what your business is, you can’t avoid technology these days. Even if all you want is to run a remote bed and breakfast in the Scottish mountains or a farm shop in the countryside. You still need to build and maintain your company website, run your social media accounts, take bookings and payments online, and deal with IT support when your tech inevitably goes down. If you are not the most technologically-minded person in the world, now is the time to learn. In fact, you won’t get very far in business if you don’t know your Twitter from your Instagram.
Once your business grows, you will eventually be able to hire dedicated IT staff for the job, but in the early stages of the company you will have to don the technical hat yourself. If you’re not au fait with social media, create an account on each of the major platforms and start figuring things out for yourself. For more complicated areas like websites and ecommerce platforms, there are plenty of reasonably-priced courses available online. If your business website needs a live chat support application for example, you can visit click4assistance.co.uk for a solution that meets your budget.
Learn from your mistakes
Going into business with no experience, it’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll get everything right on your first try. You will without a shadow of a doubt make mistakes along the way, some relatively minor and others more dramatic. This is normal in any business in the early stages. What’s important is that you don’t let these errors distract you from your goal and get you down. Learn from your mistakes, using them as lessons to help you avoid similar pitfalls in future. Business is a learning curve, so you should treat it as such.
Put the hours in
As Richard Branson proved, you don’t need to know everything in order to succeed. You just need a good idea and enough drive to bring it to life. You already have the first part of the equation, and now you’ll have to put the hours in. it could take months, or even years to get your business to where you’d like it to be, so don’t expect success to come knocking right away. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Your business will take over your life for the foreseeable future. You’ll be working day and night building website pages, ordering stock, drafting strategy documents and emailing potential investors. You may have to put other areas of your life on hold and start tightening your budget, but eventually all this hard work will pay off. You just need to keep your eyes on the long-term goal and don’t get distracted or disheartened.
By following the above advice, you will soon see that inexperience is not a huge obstacle when it comes to starting your own business. Although it might take longer to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, you will eventually come to perceive it as an advantage.
Image Credits: Karolina Grabowska
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