So we had our “little idea” and we wanted to start.
But how? We didn’t even know how to start. We needed some more information.
The Hunni and I took what little we knew and wrote a list. From that list we started researching information to fill in the MANY empty gaps, and here is what we found.
- The internet was a great place to get prices and information without having everyone know that we knew nothing.
- We started calling phone numbers found on websites and “The Yellow Pages” and started asking a lot of questions. I DO NOT LIKE THE PHONE!!!!!! so for me this is and always will be hard. Also I DO NOT LIKE SOUNDING STUPID!!!!! and I had to ask many stupid questions. Many, many, many, stupid questions. The funny thing is that in most cases, the people were very kind and helpful. Not all. And those were the hardest numbers to call back, but I just kept thinking, “I’m not going to let one grouchy, grump stop me.”
- Thankfully, we had family and friends that we could call. Either, they gave us advice or they could refer us to someone they knew who might be able to help us. NETWORKING! This was the biggest help. HUGE! So far, I don’t think we have used one service or bought one product from an “unkown” company. Everything has been through a referral or direct contact. Thank you everyone who helped us!!!
- We then sketched out a rough flow chart. It was just to get us going. A plan. I recently found our original flow chart, and I had to smile. We had about eight steps on it. It all flowed so easily on paper. It all seemed so straight forward and easy to check off each step. Regardless of how incorrect and simplified the original flow chart was, it was a plan. A plan we need to go on to the next step.
Starting Your Own Business
Step 1: The Idea. That is all it is at first. Just something in your head–usually inspired by a couple of different things. You may have something sketched out on a notebook, or on the back of a napkin, or stored in some file on your computer, but it is an idea. Now an idea left alone will never turn into a business, but you can never have a business without an idea. So Step One is “The Idea.”
Step 2: Collect information. The internet is a great place to start, but you will also have to pick up the phone and do some “cold calling”. But perhaps your greatest assets are your friends and family and their contacts. Use them. Most people are kind and helpful. Some aren’t. So what. Collecting information is a very important step, but you can’t stay there all your life. You have to move on. You will never be able to research every aspect. At the same time, I don’t believe you will ever be able to stop collecting information.
I hope you are enjoying your Business 101 class from a novice who has yet to sell a product. I once read a story. . . .(here is the story with the lesson attached). . .I read a book by one of my favorite authors, Alexander McCall-Smith, entitled, “Portuguese Irregular Verbs.” Did the title bore you? It was supposed to. In “Portuguese Irregular Verbs” three college professors go on a vacation. While viewing a tennis match, they discuss how simple the game really is. So armed with the book, “The Rules of Lawn Tennis” they take an afternoon and study the techniques and rules and physics of tennis. The next day, the three professors go out to play a well researched game of tennis, only to find that just because they understood the physics behind each stroke did not mean they could actually reproduce the stroke. Of course because this book is a very tongue-in-cheek book, the professors decide that the game was flawed. (That was the story, here comes the attached lesson.) Just as you can’t master the game of tennis because you understand the physics and science of every motion in each tennis stroke, so you can’t learn a business through research alone. You must start.
This post claims to have two parts (Part II and Part III). Perhaps it should be entitled “Starting Our Own Business Part II and Part II 1/2 as this next subject isn’t really a step. It is just more a phase we discovered. And that is “The Nay-Sayers and the Encouragers.” Now I am a woman, and I am very relationship driven, which means, relationship are how I view my world. So maybe you aren’t as effected by Nay-Sayers and Encouragers like I am, and if so, you don’t need to read this part. But I am. And as we told people about the “little idea”, as we researched information, as we explored possibilities, we would run into both Encouragers and Nay-Sayers. There are dumb ideas. You might have a dumb business idea. I might have THE DUMBEST BUSINESS IDEA. It is a very real possibility. Starting a business is a very public way to publicly fail. And our business may very well be one of those companies. Starting a business is exposing yourself–both strengths and weaknesses. You will have to deal with Nay-Sayers and Encouragers as well. It is a fact of life.
The Hunni and I have laughed together and said, “Either we just started a business, or we just took the most expensive, hands-on, business class ever!” And thankfully, one of the first people I shared my “little idea” with was not just an Encourager, but gave me the name of an excellent artist. Thank you Running Mama!
So this concludes Parts II and III of Business 101 from the novice who has yet to sell a product,
“So what business are you starting,” you ask. “Stay with me, and we will get to that!” I said. You are one steop closer to finding out!!!