If there is one major thing all entrepreneurs have in common it’s that we dream big and get excited easily! Both of these characteristics are great, but if we don’t reign those in we can get into trouble. Successful entrepreneurs embrace the “start small, dream big” mentality and know the power of beta testing.
As a coach, I’m a huge proponent of this approach in all areas of life. When I was working with my fitness clients I was known for my constant preaching on the importance of baby steps. Every success story I have started small. Clients that lost weight, hit performance goals, improved their health, got out of debt, etc. all started off with tiny baby steps.
Is this approach slow? Yes. Can it be frustrating? Absolutely. Does it work? Yup. Will it lead to long-term success? Heck yea.
When it comes to business, starting small is crucial. Before you get in over your head, incur loads of debt, or go to market, smart entrepreneurs spend a lot of time beta testing their concept.
At The Biz Foundry we call this Minimal Viable Product. You want to strip away all the fanciness of your big dream and find a way to offer your product or service at its most effective, easiest to deliver, lowest risk version. It’s all about giving the customer the value and creating a feedback loop so you can learn and grow.
Start Small Works
If you’ve taken Start Up Your Startup with me, you know the startup story of my fitness business. I offered classes in an old martial arts studio, with re-used equipment, and used flyers printed at Kinkos (is that still a thing?) for marketing. With 5 other jobs, I only offered a handful of classes per week. I did this for just over a year before even entertaining the idea of renting my own space and “going big”.
This year of testing without the burden of lots of overhead costs, allowed me to see what worked & didn’t. It allowed me to start gathering ideas on how to make my dream a reality.
There are tons of successful “start small, dream big” examples here in our community. Soulcraft started as a food truck and they now have an amazing coffee shop on Broad Street. Meg’s Bread started at a farmers market and she now has a brick & mortar bakery.
I know having a business idea is exciting. You want to launch it right now. You might be worried about others beating you to it or you may have an urgency to leave a job you don’t love. I get it! BUT…before you put the cart before the horse, find a way to test your concept.
This will likely mean keeping your day job for a while. Spending hours researching, running numbers, consulting with professionals, looking for space, building a DIY website, doing customer discovery and more.
You might consider food trucks, pop-up shops/events, renting space from another business owner during down times, starting out of your home, farmers markets and fairs, Etsy, etc.
Figure out how to deliver your value proposition to your customers in the leanest way possible and invest in testing your concept. I promise every minute of this experiment and hustle will pay off in the end when you have the proof of concept and confidence to take the next step of turning your dream into a reality!