Friday, September 23, 2011

BIG Ideas= BIG Effort

I talk to a lot of people in my line of work and fortunately i really enjoy doing that.  From time to time, i would talk to individuals who had really big ideas and even bigger dreams.  I'd listen attentatively as they described a business idea to me in great detail and with great enthusiasm.  There was always one glaring obstacle to overcome.  They had no real idea of how to make their dreams a reality..

To those of you thinking about starting a business, here's my best piece of advice.  START SMALL!  This little nugget of knowledge alone will give your business a substantially better chance of survival.  One of the main reasons why my business has stayed afloat (aside from my natural charm and quick wit! :-)) is based on this simple concept.

Think about it.  Let's say you're thinking about opening a coffee shop.  Thinking about it????  Good.  Now, let's consider all of the start up/overhead costs associated with this type of venture.  For starters, you have to find retail space in the best possible location (location, location, LOCATION).  Then you have to build out that space to capture the atmosphere you're trying to create.  You have to find vendors to supply the coffee.  You have create a menu, test your products and ensure that you're in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations for the coffee business. 

Then you'll have to hire a staff, train them and schedule them as to optimize payroll expenses.  You have to pay rent, utilities, taxes and liability insurance.  On top of that, you have to do some marketing to get people in the door and most likely you'll have to hire an accountant or bookkeeper to keep track of your finances. 

There are other considerations and expenses that aren't included above of course, but you get the idea.  Here's the takeaway.  There's a lot of work to do that will take a tremendous amount of effort, time, skills, experience, expertise, money and other resources and all with no guarantee of success.  And if you're idea is even bigger than a coffee shop, the burden increases exponentially.  Your break-even point would be so astronomically high that you probably wouldn't see a profit for the first 3-5 years.  You'd probably give up before you even tried!

Allow me to clarify one thing.  I'm not suggesting you dream small.  You should absolutely DREAM BIG.  I'm just saying START SMALL and build your capacity until you're able to reach for those big dreams. 

So you might be thinking "what kind of business can i start keeping this idea in mind?"  Here's a suggestion.  Start with what you know and especially with what you know well.  If you're an artist, consider selling your art.  If you're exceptionally good at playing a musical instrument why not offer lessons.  If you're a great cook, think about offering a dinner delivery service or become a traveling chef.  If you're really in to coffee (which i am not btw), why not start by making special brews for your friends or co-workers.  We each have unique talents, skills and abilities that others would be happy to pay for.  You just have to figure out what yours are, cultivate them and offer them to the world!

**Warning!  Shameless Plug!**  If you're someone who has an entrepeneurial spirit and you're thinking about a business idea (big or small) and you're in need of some guidance, please contact me at  I've learned a lot since starting my own business and from the businesses I've worked for and this knowledge may be of use to you as you begin your endeavor.  I'm just saying, everyone could use a helping hand or at least someone to bounce ideas off of.

Continue to DREAM BIG my friends, but also remember to START SMALL.  Your dreams can come true!



Becki Grace said...

Excellent advice, Oslo. As a new small business owner myself, I have a lot of big goals for my business. But the old adage "Don't live outside your means" rings true. I can only expand my business as much as I can recoup my investment. It's a small, slow growth, but it is more rewarding than anything else I've ever done... because it's MINE! =)

P.S. I'm only working 3 days a week and still making as much as I was making at 21st Mortgage! LOL

Oz said...

Becki, thanks for posting a comment! I think you hit the nail on the head. The key is to stay within your means. Know your boundaries before you can start expanding them. You and your business are living proof that that approach works. Thanks again!