Hey, entrepreneur. Welcome to this week’s installment of The Entrepreneur’s Corner. This week, Emmanuel Leslie Addae; Entrepreneur and Co-Founder/CEO of Talents In Africa and Africa Skills Hub takes us through his tips on starting a business without capital. There are seven pillars that Emmanuel believes that an entrepreneur can start a business with, even if he/she doesn’t necessarily have capital.
success is possible, but the only antidote to that success is having the guts to start!
-Emmanuel Leslie Addae
Don’t Start A Business, Start An Experiment
Often, when we think about starting a business, we have some grand idea in mind. We often think about the business and our business model as something that will allow us to sell a product. However, that approach is flawed. What should come first is the product. According to Emmanuel Leslie Addae, products sell themselves. For example, if you see a really nice local-made shirt, you might ask the owner where they got it from. That generates business for whoever made the shirt because the product itself is good. So, Leslie’s tip is to create samples of your product and start with people you know. Let them give you feedback. Plus if they love the product, they are organically going to recommend it to other people.
Sell Before Your product Is Ready
Emmanuel’s second tip is that you should start selling before your product is actually ready. This practice, he encourages because you might not necessarily have the funds to materialize your business idea in the way that you want. It’s better then, to start selling your product if you can. For example, if you are organizing an event but you don’t have the funds to rent a space or to properly organize, what you can do is to create an event on Facebook and start marketing it. At that point, you can start selling tickets to the event and then use that money to get things in place the way that you want.
Start First, Perfect Later
When you are thinking of starting a business, you need to let go of perfectionism. You can’t wait to have everything in place before you open up that shop or before you launch that website. Just do it. Start it; even as imperfect as you think that it is, and then build on that. If you are not starting your business because you are waiting to get the details right, you are just wasting time that you could have used to establish yourself.
Avoid Fixed Costs
Leslie advises that in the beginning stages of a business, you stay as far away from fixed costs as possible. In the beginning, you haven’t established your cash flow yet. You can’t have some cost being catered to every month. You don’t want to rent a space that you’re going to have to pay for every month when you are just starting out your business. If you need a space to operate out of, Leslie says that “If you have a home, you have an office.”
Start With Cash-Flow As A Priority
When you are starting a business you shouldn’t be thinking about some massive idea that is supposed to instantly make you rich. No, you need to think in more realistic terms. And that means that when you are starting out, you need to think about every single day. You need to start your business in a way that you can get something out of it on a daily basis. You need to be thinking about the cash flow of your business. Of course, you should have a long-term plan, but ensuring that you have something coming in everyday will give you the stamina for your long-term goals.
According to Emmanuel, you should think of business partnerships as relationships. You rarely think that you are so self-sufficient that you don’t need a boyfriend/girlfriend. You should always welcome partnerships; choose partners with skills that complement yours. And when a partnership doesn’t work out, you move on to the next. Don’t do it all alone. You should be thinking of partnerships as inevitable in order to stay successfully in entrepreneurship.
Build On The Free Stuff
We are currently in a time where there are so many free resources available to us for use, as a result of the sheer number of technology-based platforms. If you are looking for more ways to grow the reach of your business, think digital. In fact, YouTube on its own is a source of revenue for some creators. Instagram is a great tool for marketing and Facebook provides incredible reach for business. You need to adapt to the times and utilize every advantage available to you.
The Entrepreneur’s Corner is a weekly series that brings you business tips and insights from people with real-world business experience.
I’ll leave you with one of Emmanuel Leslie Addae’s favourite quotes;
You don’t need More Money, You Need A better Strategy.