We have seen it time and again where a business moves from 3 employees with $1000 a month in revenues to $10000 a month. What happens next is that, they start hiring people to do jobs that they could have assigned to one of the current staff members with a pay raise. They move into more plush offices and maybe even decide they need more ‘company cars’. Before they know it, there are too many people in the company whose work does not necessarily impact the bottom-line or sync with the brand’s vision. Very soon they are praying for money to pay salaries and looking for loans and investors.
Bootstrap your business if you have to. If you want to be an internationally known photographer, start with your town. There are events happening everyday that need good photography. Talk to event management companies or friends and find out who is about to have a baby shower, a wedding or a party. Speak to your local church and find out which couples are getting ready for marriage and offer your services. This will help you gain enough traction and also spread word about your services. My mother once saw a company she wanted to supply automobile parts for, but didn’t know which parts they would need so she devised a plan. She followed their trucks to their loading stations and asked the drivers for the names of their mechanics. She then approached the mechanics and they told her which parts were usually faulty. This information helped her to tailor her pitch for the company. The alternative was to sit in her office and wait for business to come knocking on her door.
There is nothing wrong with starting with what you can manage for a while. A big company can either be big in terms of profits or in terms of staff size.
These do not always come together. What you must consider is what works for you. If you want to build a global coffee shop franchise with 5000 locations then build one. On the other hand you could also build like Sukiyabashi Jiro, a world-renowned sushi restaurant, with only two locations. The most popular location is said to have only ten seats in the building.
Ask yourself what you can manage effectively before taking on more than you can chew. Can you efficiently handle ten more full-time employees? They may only be interns but consider the cost of resources, time and energy before adding people to your team.
There are very few brands that started by creating 20 products and 30 brand extensions. There are countless examples of successful companies that started with one product. When we created the MiG Shuffle app for the iPhone in 2009, we could only afford to have a few images on it but we launched it anyway. At the time, our developer was living in the States. I had just graduated from university and two of our illustrators were freelancers whom I had to convince to come to my home before we could get any work done. We could have waited for an extra programmer and five more images but we shipped anyway and that has led to more projects in later years. Interestingly, with the exception of our programmer, I was the only one who owned an iOS device (first generation iPod touch). The recommended approach here is to make one product that is good enough to sell and ship it ASAP.
If you bake delicious cupcakes and have dreams of raising money for a TV show, I recommend you starting a home delivery service until you gain enough traction or save a substantial amount of money. The feitdirect.com website says “All FEIT products are made by hand. Numbers are sustainably limited – we will only produce what the available materials allow. Members will be given first opportunity to pre order FEIT products. “
Many of us have dreams that are bigger than our imagination or resources at the moment.
The best way to start is to take a few productive actions every day. For example, this book started out as a blog. Every day I would read and write, read and write, read and write and then I would do some more reading and writing. To chop down a big tree, you can start by chopping at the trunk a little every single day. After a while, the tree will come down.