You’ve heard that it takes 20 years to become an overnight success. While it may not take quite that long to succeed in your own business starting from scratch, it will take patience and persistence to do well. However, setting up a one person business or starting your own business can be particularly rewarding if you hate your day job, love to help other people, and want to make a real difference in the world.
Before you start, there are three questions you should research:
1. Do you want a brick-and-mortar business or do you want to operate one without a physical location?
2. Should you start a One Person Company (OPC) Private Limited or some other type of company or proprietorship firm?
3. How will you market your business to generate clients to buy your products or services?
One Person Business Recommedations
Let’s take a look at some possible answers.
1. Physical location
If you have enough capital, you could buy a franchise or get a loan to rent an office or retail space. However, if you are starting on a modest budget, you might want to start with a non-physical business. In the 21st century, the idea of having a physical location is not that important. Many virtual businesses do very well in today’s economy. You can run a business from your home and still make five to six figures a year.
However, not having an office or retail space does pose a problem. Should you use your home address as your business address? The short answer is “no.” In most cases, it’s not a good idea for reasons of privacy and security. This is true, even if you are running a dropship business and customers need to know where to send their returns.
One solution is to use a PO Box number. You can then list it on your website, business cards, and email newsletter. However, generally speaking, this is not a good idea, as it doesn’t establish trust and credibility. A better solution is to use a service like iPostal1 virtual address, which allows you have a physical address without leasing an office space. Besides establishing trust and credibility, a physical address allows you to create a professional image. Branding is an essential element of one person business success.
2. One Person Company
If you are starting a simple business, say, selling products from a website or offering consultations over Skype or some other such small, single person enterprise, then a One Person Company (OPC) is a great way to set up your business. It takes care of the compliance burden and getting loans from banks. It will also make your annual return filing much easier.
This is really your most important question. Trying to figure out your business address and getting an OPC are merely structural questions on how to get setup in the right way, but creating a good marketing plan will help you be successful.
Assuming you don’t have a big budget for marketing and don’t want to invest a small fortune in advertising, here are some ways of marketing effectively on a shoestring budget:
1. Set up a virtual one person business
Using WordPress, you can create a website and a blog on the same platform. This is easy to learn, but if you find it challenging you can always hire someone on a freelance job site to do it for you. Next, create social media accounts in LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Start with these, and if you want, you can also create accounts at other popular social media accounts like Pinterest, etc.
2. Create marketing collateral
This is basic marketing material like business cards, brochures, and flyers. Depending on your business you may not even need brochures or flyers, but you must have business cards.
3. Craft an elevator speech
The idea behind an elevator speech is to describe your business in the short time it takes to share an elevator ride. One formula that is useful when someone asks you what you do for a living is the following: “I help A to achieve B by doing C.” A is the name of your target audience and B is their most wanted outcome and C is what you do. If, for instance, you’re a meeting planner, you would say, “I help small businesses to find the perfect meeting place at 5-Star hotels at a steep discount.”
4. Network online and offline
Besides networking online by going to social media websites and joining various groups, you should network in the real world, too. This might mean joining your local Chamber of Commerce or joining a Meetup Group.
5. Give talks at service clubs
If you are a subject matter expert, you could give free speeches at service clubs like Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis. Yes, they still matter even in the Internet age and have high membership numbers.
As you can see, marketing well does not require much capital and you don’t need to take a class in it. Simply think of marketing as building relationships.
It’s Worth It
Although starting a business does require some doing, the rewards are more than worth all the effort you put into creating your one person business. You will have more flexibility in your life and will be in charge of your own career growth. Once you can establish a demand for what you’re selling, you’ll probably make more money than if you settled for a weekly paycheck from a corporate employer.