The Art of the Zero Start

bwagy

Ben Young, serial entrepreneur, speaker, author and founder of bwagy shares daily ideas on his blog in small digestible bites, aimed to make you rethink business, marketing and the world around you. check out http://blog.bwagy.com

The art of building a business from absolutely nothing with no money.

Zero absolutne

I have built four small businesses from a zero start. The first three I sold successfully the fourth failed to get off the ground.

So I thought hey why not share some of my experiences.

Firstly why would you take part in a zero start?

  • If you have no capital
  • Your idea is too risky to raise debt financing
  • It forces you from day one to be creative about achieving objectives
  • To prove an idea works with minimal capital
  • To give yourself a huge challenge

What are the personal pros/cons?

  • Forces time management
  • Stimulates fight or flight response, really need to drive the idea to fruition
  • Can develop workaholicism which impacts on the rest of your life
  • Doing things you never thought capable
  • Can be a time sink if you do not manage your time effectively
  • Can get stuck in the mud and forget the strategic macro level
  • Helps you realise what is truly important to you

Overall I think it has been a huge learning curve for me, forced me to grow up and provided challenges I wouldn’t have gained elsewhere. I would highly recommend everyone to give it a go.

I think that doing this can be a bit of trap for some people so I highly recommend some steps to take to avoid this.

Here are the Top 10 Must Do for Entrepreneurs starting a zero start:

1) Have a board of directors (whether they be friends or family) Report to them as you would a real board of directors. They will help you recognise (and admit) problems in a faster manner.

2) Take time out. Have your limits. Keep home time, family time, your own time. This is essential.

3) Eat healthy, exercise, keep up with your favourite recreational activities. When your sick and have a day off you lose earnings. So suddenly life / health balance is vital.

4) Review/Reflection. Force this every week, month and quarter to check your up to par.

5) Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and report to board of directors.

6) Watch your cash. Cash is king. This needs to be your top priority, a business without cash is nothing.

7) Quit and quit often. I fail at lots of projects a year, it helps to recognise something is failing and quit early.

8) Persevere, in contrast to 7, persevere with your business, its up to you to drive it to fruition.

9) Delegate, as soon as possible bring on others to delegate responsibilities to.

10) Read. Read as many reputable business books as you can. This will help you draw new perspectives and learn.
Costs

How can you be creative with money to get your business off the ground?

  • Minimise your fixed costs (till you get significant cashflow), ie trade work for office space, use a home office. Try and make all others variable costs.
  • Use free software and online tools.
  • Pay your suppliers on time, you will get more efficient pricing from them and give you leverage when you need it.
  • Bundle your technology costs, mobile, internet, phone. Save by bundling where possible.
  • Stretch every dollar, business meetings have tea instead of a coffee, use public transport, skype for meetings.
  • Give equity to key suppliers in exchange for services, not only builds better relationships but keeps them with a vested interest.
  • Share the love, if you can’t deliver what a customer wants, send them to someone who can, this may return.
 
Sort by

Post your comment

Want to have your say?

It's quick, easy and 100% free.

  •  

Features

Endorsed Events

  • SpringBreakFIJI SpringBreakFIJI

    Secure your motivation for the year by locking in SpringBreak in Fiji, your own exclusive island

  • The Fijian Cup The Fijian Cup

    The Pacific Touch Rugby festival (Fijian Cup and Kava Cup) is underway on November 2, 2017 and with support from Touch Fiji and...

  • Rock Island VANUATU Rock Island VANUATU

    From a fully chartered resort, an incredible line up of Kiwi musicians and Rock legends flown in you'll find nothing close to...

  • Summit FIJI Summit FIJI

    Summit FIJI aims to revolutionise how businesses can approach conferences, corporate retreats and team building weekends