Thinking about small businesses for a second, have you ever thought about the fact that every big business started small? That’s right. Almost every successful big business out there today started with one or two people.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that over 600K new businesses start each year in the US.
Since I’m an Apple fan-girl let’s look quickly at Apple. It was started in the garage of Steve Jobs’ parents. It was started with little to no money and a dream. Today? Well, Apple’s September 2016 quarterly revenue was $46.9 billion, and Apple sold its billionth iOS device way back in November of 2014.
Apple did not grow into the business it is today by thinking small. Steve Jobs and the others thought big! They had big goals, big dreams, and worked hard day and night to achieve them.
Let’s look at my own entrepreneurial journey for a quick second – I’m co-founder and publisher of Rocks Digital. As I hope you know, Rocks Digital is a content site that publishes 3 to 5 days a week and is host to the Rocks Digital Marketing Conference, one of the largest digital marketing conferences in Texas. But this success didn’t happen overnight.
Rocks Digital was founded in 2012 by yours truly as DFW Rocks Social Media, a one-day event created to celebrate Social Media Day. I was fortunate and found immediate success with the first event. The venue held 110 people – and 110 people were there! Each year the event grew to be bigger and better. It shifted from a one-day event to a two-day conference. In 2014, DFW Rocks Social Media was merged with the Local Social and rebranded as Rocks Digital.
We immediately launched the content site and have been publishing successfully ever since. By the way, in 2017 we are coming up on the 6th year for the Rocks Digital Marketing Conference, and it all started with a dream and lots of work. Believe me when I say lots of work – I spend countless hours for months on end planning the conference, and that doesn’t count the time the team spends helping pull everything together.
So what’s the point to this story? Neither Apple nor Rocks Digital grew to be what they are today by thinking and acting small! You must set big goals and have big dreams to achieve success.
1. Passion and Mission
All business success is driven by passion and inspiration. It usually starts with a problem that you see needs to be solved. The problem is important enough that it inspires you to solve it. If or when you can’t find a solution, your passion is ignited and you are now on a mission to solve it. If the solution is so good that others want to use it, that is where it can shift into a business idea.
Once you decide you are ready to turn this passion into a business, you need to set up a solid foundation. This includes many details:
Platforms covers various items, from what type of website you will have and who will design it, to what social media channels you will leverage. The most important thing here is to realize this: you must set up platforms and create an online presence of some type for consumers to take your business seriously.
And oftentimes, you’ll need some money set aside to start the business, i.e. buying business cards, paying a web designer, a graphic artist, etc. You can’t redo the first impression, so don’t take shortcuts to save a dollar. If you don’t have the budget to invest financially, enlist friends who offer these services to help you get started.
Know that at the beginning you might need to keep a “day job” and run your business on the side. When I first started out I sure did!
One simple word that means so much when you are a new business owner is “network.” One of the stories I often tell is how I started my business success by leveraging Twitter. I connected with local influencers and built up a rapport with them. They became my network. I had great opportunity to learn from these successful business owners, and also to access their networks to build my own network and my business.
Starting a business is not easy. Sometimes family (and friends) might even discourage you instead of cheering you on. You have to hold fast, approach every day with the right attitude and stay determined to succeed. If you give yourself an out, you’ll take it, so create a plan of action instead, where each step should take you toward your goal.
6. Failure Happens
With every step in growing your business, there will be bumps and bruises along the way. But these failures are how you learn, and they provide life-long lessons on what to do differently next time. Realize you can’t be good at everything the first time out of the gate.
We’re celebrating small business week at #RocksDigital. You can register for the 2017 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference and save $75 through Friday, May 5.
So I have only covered 6 of what could be a really long list on small business success! Comment below and join the conversation.