While the exact percentage of small business failure rates has been parsed to death, most experts presume that the number is fairly high, often pegged at around 90%. The question then becomes how can one justify undertaking an endeavor where nine out of every ten attempts end in ultimate failure? The problem we at Solomon Success see is accepting the premise as an all-or-none scenario. It certainly doesn’t have to be that way. The sometimes ignored alternative is to start a side business based, with little outlay of cash, around a hobby or passion. You could even sell merchandise, if you like, but on a smaller scale and bootstrap your way up the ladder without taking on the financial pressure of business loans.
The huge (and admittedly obvious) advantage to going the side business route is you don’t have to shortchange your work or family obligations. Start by devoting a small amount of time each week. Two or three hours might be all you can justify in the beginning but that’s okay.
If you have a particular hobby, an obvious choice is to build a website around the topic and start blogging or posting information on it. The ultimate goal is to create an interested community of like-minded people. Like the movie Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will follow. The truly amazing aspect of the Internet is that there really is no niche too small any more. In fact, with big tent companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon staking out huge swaths of territory, the greatest chance for success might lay in the cracks in between. Love fly-fishing in Montana, the movies of Bogart, or raising German Shepherds? Start a website about it, offer a free newsletter, and focus on collecting names. Eventually you can market to that list.
If your heart is set on selling something besides pixels and information, take heart. Craigslist, eBay, and your own website might still be a great place to start. There’s no law that says you have to rent a space and hire employees in order to be a “real” businessman or businesswoman. The bottom line is to make money. Glitz, glamor, and a splashy storefront are simply unnecesary. Remember the following Biblical quote from Zechariah (4:10)?
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
A side business is the perfect way to test ideas and products without risking financial ruin.
The Solomon Success Team
Flickr / JSmith Photo