The only way to start a business is to start.
We often get asked how we started Kushn. Starting a business can be exciting, but it can also cause anxiety around whether you’re making the ‘right’ decision. Many of us are encouraged to pursue academic training after school and then a corporate career, but what about considering entrepreneurship as a career option?
Much of our time in the early phases of our startup was spent designing our business plan and searching for funding. While on the phone to a potential funder, we received the best advice: “the only way to start a business is to start”. This may have been great advice to get us thinking differently about how we were using our time but we know this is often easier said than done. That said, by taking small steps and setting achievable goals it became less overwhelming.
Here are a few things we have learned while on this journey:
Make the first step / get the ball rolling. The biggest hurdle to starting a business is that there is so much to do. By picking something, anything, and DOING it, you will feel like you’ve accomplished something and have the confidence to get on with the next thing. Start small, with a task you enjoy doing.
Let go of being perfect. When its your own business, it can feel like everything you do is a reflection of who you are but no need to stress about getting everything perfect at once. Starting a business is a journey and sometimes getting things right takes time. The best advice to make sure your product offering is good. This is the epicenter of your business and everything else is secondary.
Find the freebies out there. There are many organizations out there that assist startups to get running. In South Africa, The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) provide vouchers and funding for startups. There is also no need to have a website designed by an expert - there are tons of free app builders and webpage making sites out there. Woza Online is a free platform supported by google that provide free websites for small business’ in South Africa. Etsy is a good e-commence platform for handmade and design products and it’s pretty simple to set up a shop and start selling online.
Tell your friends. Sometimes we fear telling people that we’re starting something new because we fear failure and judgment. Tell the people you care about that you’re starting a business, they’ll probably be your first customers and help to spread the word to your extended network.
We’re learning as we go along, and perfecting things along the way. If we worried too much about being perfect first time round we would have missed out on alot of the opportunities and awesome experiences we’ve had so far.