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Start small, start now.

Start small, start now.

Greetings Men of Style and Substance,

This is probably one of the most important lessons my father ever taught me. Well, what he actually said to me, ‘was start young, start small.’ I’ve taken that lesson and built on it.

Both are still incredibly simple and incredibly powerful lessons.

Everyone has lofty dreams of being successful in whatever it is they love. One of my best friends tells me all the time business ideas he’d love to pursue.

One is to open up a communal space where cyclists can go to fix their own bikes. Another is to create an electric toothbrush head subscription service. Like Dollar Shave Club, but for electric toothbrush heads. His eyes light up and his voice elevates whenever he tells me.

I can tell he’s sick of his corporate marketing job. He says it all the time.

I tell him all the time to just DO IT.

At this point, he’ll frown and look at the floor. He’ll always have a kind of nervous expression on his face, as if to say, ‘yeah, but how!’

He’d say, ‘yeah but I’d need somewhere to rent a warehouse, and then buy tools and equipment.’ Plus, a long list of other expensive costs (excuses).

The thing is you DON’T need to go all out to test out an idea. You don’t necessarily need to spend much money at all. Maybe a few hundred quid or even nothing, depending on the idea.

There always so many free and cheap ways of testing out ANY business idea. Obviously, if you feel confident enough in a business idea and you just want to go all in and start without testing, then by all means.

However, for 99% of us, we shy away, nay, we ran away from turning a business idea into something real, because we always think it’s too risky or too difficult.

Back to my friend.

I told him, ‘don’t rent out a warehouse. Just test out the idea first. See if people actually want a place where they can fix their own bikes. You could rent a market stall for a weekend or two. Rent a bunch of the tools and equipment you’d need. Then see what the response is like. Gather as much feedback as possible.’

If it’s good feedback, then suddenly this business idea starts to take shape. If it’s bad feedback, you have instructions telling you what needs to be improved. Testing out your idea is a super low-risk, inexpensive way of seeing if your business idea could actually work.

In fancy terms, testing out your idea in this manner is called an MVP. Or a Minimum Viable Product. It’s the most basic version of your service and product that has the key features of the proposed final product. For example, think of concept cars in the automobile industry.

If you’ve always wanted to start a t-shirt company, you could mock up artwork on your computer and show them to potential customers and see whether or not they’d actually buy them.

If you wanted to create pottery for a living, you could make a small set of bowls and cups and have your friends test them out for a few weeks and then gather feedback.

If you’ve always wanted to open a restaurant, why not host a large dinner party at your house and cook the menu that you would serve at your restaurant. Get feedback.

If you’ve got a business idea, no matter how big, you CAN scale it down to its core.

What unique features about my product and service are essential to the final product? How can I test those features inexpensively and/ or for free?

These kids all started ‘young and started small.’

A lot of the time we don’t start things, not because we can’t, but because we can’t visualise it. Creating an MVP and then getting feedback for it that helps us to improve is a phenomenally powerful tool that turns a business fantasy into a reality.

So, do it now.

Create your MVP and change your life.

That’s all from me today.


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