One way or another, you’ll come across article headlines that make starting a business sound so easy. However, is there really a one-size-fits-all guide that everybody can follow to become successful in business? Maybe there isn’t. Otherwise, we’d all be rich! So the next question is, is there an easy way to start a business?
Start Something that’s Already Been Started
Coming up with an idea is probably one of the toughest parts of starting a business. So why not grab someone else’s idea? (Legally, of course).
Franchising is a marketing strategy where a franchisor (business owner) branches out his business to franchisees or hopeful business owners (that’s you). Through this strategy, you will have the license to use intellectual property from the brand and sell its products or services.
So in a way, franchising is selling something familiar so that you don’t have to worry too much about building a brand. Instead, you can focus on social media marketing for business franchises and other things that need a lot of time. However, the not-so-easy part is that franchising can be expensive.
Let’s take McDonald’s, for example. 2018 statistics show that the estimated cost for an initial franchise investment for McDonald’s can reach up to $2,235,000. Additionally, the money must come from personal, unborrowed resources.
This cost, however, includes practically everything you need, like:
- Opening inventory
- Travel and living expenses while training
- Initial franchise fee
- Miscellaneous opening expenses
- Base rent
- Additional funds
- Signs, seating, equipment, and décor
Hence, you can say that the “ease” comes with a (colossal) price.
Open a Store minus the Rent, Employees, and…the Actual Store
If you don’t like the idea of opening up a building or renting space for a store, the best route that you can take is the online business or e-commerce industry.
Now, aside from not having to pay upfront for rent and other expenses, the biggest perk that you can get is the number of potential customers. 2019 statistics show that 4.3 billion people in the world use the Internet, and 293 million are from the USA. That’s a lot, right? So the next thing you’re probably thinking is, how many of them make purchases online?
Unfortunately, there’s no way of telling how many because of strict privacy laws. However, in terms of how much, the sales of e-commerce in the USA reached a whopping 504.6 billion US dollars last 2018. Furthermore, it is projected to reach 735 billion US dollars by 2023. Suffice to say the industry is booming and will continue to grow.
However, with that number of sales, you should expect to have a lot of competition. Also, online selling requires extra effort, depending on the strategy that you will take.
According to Medium.com, small business websites cost between $5000 and $7500, and e-commerce websites cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Depending on which type of site you choose, more often, the costs will include:
- Content Management System
- Web design
- Social media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Site Maintenance
Moreover, some of these components have monthly-recurring costs. So, if you’re not prepared to spend some greens, these can all pile up. Though, at the very least, it’s still not as much as McDonald’s $2,235,000, right?
Now, if you find the first two options too expensive, “selling yourself” is the cheapest way to go. If you’re good at website building, painting houses, writing articles, teaching, or some other skill that people will be willing to pay for, you’re right on track. The next thing you need to worry about is how to sell yourself or to get your foot in the door.
Fortunately, these days, there are a lot of websites where you can create a profile for free and immediately offer your services. Some sites like Fiverr will recommend creating a video profile so that your potential clients will know that you’re a real person.
Although, if you’re not a fan of the idea of selling your services online, then you can take the traditional fliers and posters route to put your service out there.
Moreover, if you want to sell your services, you will still have to solve three problems, which, according to Forbes, includes:
- People problems (hiring employees, communication, turf wars, etc.)
- Process problems (customer service, delivery, marketing, etc.)
- Profit problems (selling, costs, expansion, etc.)
So while selling your skills can be a cheap way of starting a business, it requires more effort than the first two ways. However, it can also be the most fulfilling as you are literally your own boss and employee.
Reality Check: There’s No Easy Way
The idea of becoming a business owner can be seductive because if you really want to be financially wealthy, then being an employee forever probably isn’t the way to go. Therefore, you must prepare yourself for the challenges that you’re about to face. After all, there’s no easy way to becoming successful.