In late 2009, a few months after immigrating to New Zealand from England with my wife, we invested $200 in a website template and with my ageing laptop, sat in our rented flat and started Pure SEO.
Seven years later, I have one of the fastest growing businesses in New Zealand. I’ve grown a business that turns over millions of dollars, employs 30 people and has two offices in New Zealand and one in Australia. The part I’ve found the most difficult was actually making the decision to start a business and believing that I could achieve it without lots of capital.
Most potential entrepreneurs already have the tools to start a business. A computer, internet access and a strong desire to succeed. Yet many of these entrepreneurs talk themselves out of starting before they have begun. They create doubt by asking hypothetical question; what if no one wants to buy from me? How can I afford to live without a job? Should I put things off till later?
Drawing from my own experience and that of other entrepreneurs I have spoken with I have learnt five inexpensive tips that have helped create their success.
Just Do It
This is probably the biggest and probably the most important. There will never be a good time to start a business and there will always be a reason to put off taking the leap. If you really want to run your own business, the first step is to actually take the plunge and commit yourself down that path. It has never been easier to start a business than right now. With only internet access and a computer, you can access the globe from your living room.
Ask for Help
There are so many successful people in New Zealand that are hugely generous with their time. By reaching out to and learning from these people, you have access to a whole host of knowledge, connections and wisdom, often for the price of a decent coffee. Pure SEO would not be the success it is today had it not been for the generous entrepreneurs who gave me their time (often for free) and shared ideas and concepts with me. When my business was 6 months old, I utilised Business Mentors New Zealand which cost me around $100 and is an organisation that put me in touch with some great business people who offered to mentor me for a number of years.
People buy from people. Networking has been instrumental in the growth of Pure SEO. There are lots of organisations specifically created for this purpose. In the early days networks such as BNI and the Chamber of Commerce were particularly useful for me. More recently, members of the Pure SEO business development team regularly attend meeting at Venus (female only), BoB and Yoursoapbox.
It is not necessarily easy or comfortable to promote yourself. However self-promotion is a critical ingredient for your success. My natural inclination is to be introverted and to avoid the limelight. However, when I started Pure SEO, I made the conscious decision that I was going to stick my head above the parapet and make myself known. One of my biggest fears has been public speaking and the first time I had to get up and talk at a BNI, I was terrified. I now speak at large tech conferences and lecture for the Marketing Association. Whilst this is a long way outside my comfort zone, I can see the benefits it brings and have therefore never said no to an opportunity, even if inside my mind is screaming don’t do it!.
Learn how to sell
Selling does not come naturally to everyone. However without the ability to sell you don’t have a business. No matter how good your product or service is and no matter how hard you work, at some point every business needs to make sales to succeed.
As you can see, these five tips can really help make your business concept a reality and a success. Yet none of them are prohibitively expensive. As your business grows, the expenses do grow with it. However, if you have the fundamentals right, this can be funded by cash flow or external investment. So what are you waiting for? Just Do It!