Like a lot of teams these days, our work family has a group on WhatsApp so we can stay connected. It’s mainly for work but let’s face it, we like to keep each other informed on trending Tik Toks! A couple of days ago, our social media lead shared a meme with Elon Musk’s picture and some writing on it. OK, first of all, we really admire Elon Musk—he’s a true innovator and an entrepreneur who pushes boundaries (bonus points because he’s partly Canadian) so this immediately caught our attention.
Although we’re not sure if Musk really said this, in the meme, he says:
“Instead of baby showers, let’s host business showers. When a friend starts a business, we all come together, congratulate them and bring resources for the business.”
This had us all thinking: how often do we celebrate entrepreneurs or risk-takers who quit their stable jobs so they could follow their entrepreneurial dreams? If we’re lucky, we have a handful of supportive people in our lives. Most people we know think we’re crazy for throwing away a stable career – and they don’t say it out loud but we know they expect us to fail!
It’s hard enough taking a chance on instinct or a dream, but it would be SO much better if we lived in an environment that supported us and made the start-up journey easier. There are many things we could do to help an entrepreneur kick-off their start-up, starting with even sharing our own expertise.
So, yes, we did what you know we like to do: we put together a list of resources that could help a start-up or small business owners in the early stages of his or her entrepreneurial journey:
- Funding. Frankly, there’s no way you’ll make it through this journey without some money backing your business. Even the initial costs of setting up a company, regardless of the nature of business, require a decent investment for registration, domain registration, website design, inventory (if you need it) etc. So either you need to dig into the secret stash you saved for a rainy day (all those uber rides in peak weekend traffic – totally worth it!) a bank loan, or you need helpful family and friends who are willing to support you. If you’re lucky and your company is truly innovative, you might even get an investor or an incubator like Evolve to help you out. It’s important that you’re prepared for this.
- Office space. Yeah, we know that Apple was founded in Steve Wozniak’s garage and Zuckerberg came up with Facebook in his dorm, but here’s the reality: if you’re providing a professional service or selling products, you will need a brick and mortar space to eventually be legit and gain access to your customers. Although this isn’t absolutely urgent, it is something to plan for. If you’re keeping your start-up costs low and could actually create your product or launch your business at home (if the nature of your business allows it), still dedicate a room to use as your home office. It will help you be disciplined – and in initial days that is key! Alternatively, you could also look into shared offices which could be a great way to expand your network, too. That’s where some of the best business alliances are formed!
- Marketing and design. All businesses need marketing. Whether you’re selling direct-to-consumer through your website or doing a grassroots campaign going door to door, you need a way to sell. Marketing will help create brand awareness, convert leads to sales, persuade potential customers, and also inform consumers about your product. Here’s a few ideas that are quick and simple: begin with a beautifully designed website that clearly communicates what you do in your brand’s voice (if you haven’t figured out what your brand is, marketing services can help you there too), then move on to logo design, business cards, advertising etc. At Evolve, we offer start-up incubation services to many companies and one of the perks is they get access to the expertise of our full-service marketing team who’ll help them through all this at a fraction of the cost. If you can’t figure it out yourself, hire freelancers or find a company that can provide you with all these services.
- Expert advice. All start-up journeys involve mistakes but a lot of them can be avoided or improved upon if you rely on someone with more knowledge and expertise than you. Look for a mentor to guide you through the process and can advise you to help with decision-making. They’ve been through it all and what you would spend weeks struggling over could just be tip of the tongue for them! At Evolve, we’re primarily a business advisory, and our founder, Tom Greenwood, works with many entrepreneurs and business leaders to grow their business.
- An accountant. Budget, budget, budget. It’s seriously important. Keep track of all your expenses and give yourself a limit on how much you’ll be spending. If you’re not good with finance, get an accountant who can manage all the expenses for you (and possibly help you claim some benefits when you file your taxes). This is imperitive as you can avoid a lot of wastage with someone to guide you. Once you’ve figured it out and rolling in 6 figures, you can afford to let things slide. At this point though you know it best – every penny counts!
At Evolve, we love small businesses and entrepreneurs with big dreams. We even invest in the companies we really believe in! If you’re a start-up that needs help, look into our business cultivation and start-up incubation services and see which one best fits your needs. We work with businesses all over the world so your location doesn’t matter. If you’re looking for someone to guide you throughout your journey, our business advisory service may work for you. Give us a shout if you need our help!