One Question You Need To Ask Before Starting A Small Business (And How To Answer It)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


One Question You Need To Ask Before Starting A Small Business (And How To Answer It)
Trent Innes, Forbes.com

It took one question to encourage small business owner Michael McTeigue to quit his corporate job and launch his own company:  Would you still do your job if you won the lottery?

“When I said no, my colleagues replied, ‘Well, what would you do?’,” Michael said. “It was a real lightbulb moment.”

Six months later, Michael started making plans to launch a dog food company, SavourLife, that uses its profits to help fund rescue shelters. He knew the dog food market in Australia, dominated by multinationals, was worth $300 million a year. His model needed just a piece of that pie.

Something more can be done here

He’s now one of 2.1 million local small businesses that drive the Australian economy. So why has owning your own business become one of the great Australian dreams, right up there with owning a home? For many small business owners, it’s because there’s something that can be done better. And they’re able to do something about it.

Take Ben Young, the founder of Frank Green, a company producing reusable smart cups that wants to change the way we consume. “I just couldn’t get past the devastating impact of single-use products in the world,” he said. ”I wanted to get off the hamster wheel and give something back.” Frank Green now ships its eco-friendly products to more than 25 countries.
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Jonathan Byrt and Jesse Leeworthy had a similar starting point. They launched Memobottle after seeing plastic bottles floating around their Mornington Peninsula surf spot. “We wanted to prove you can make a product that has a positive difference,” Jonathan said. They now ship to more than 70 countries, have 29,500 Instagram followers and were included in the gift bags at the 2016 Oscars.

And sometimes the dream is to better support the community. Jemma Schilling, co-founder of the Port Lincoln bar and restaurant Rogue and Rascal wanted to “showcase quality local produce and bring top-notch customer service”.

Don’t just dream it – map out the milestones

But your big idea is just the start. As hundreds of thousands of small businesses across Australia have already discovered, technology is breaking down the challenge of ‘how’; the barriers to running a business.

Whether you need access to capital, transparent data, or the ability to scale your initial idea into a global venture, you can build powerfully integrated systems that work for you, and grow with your dream.

When Frank Green was still just an idea, Ben’s focus was to “make sure manufacturers were adaptable and their operations scalable; create consistency across a global team; and manage the complexities of technology.”

As for Memobottle, “We set up everything online. We researched what would help us automate and the services that would easily integrate,” says Jesse.

“When you have those systems in place,” Jemma says, “things just work as they should.”

Our small business customers constantly remind me that it takes just one simple idea to spark a small business dream, and some smart technology to make that dream a reality. So ask yourself: what do I believe can be done better? What’s the one thing I would commit myself to if I could quit my job tomorrow?

That’s the business you should be building. Now go out there and do something about it...