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A few years ago, before the Internet was ubiquitous, before everyone wore a smartphone, and before DIY software tools were available for free, it was difficult to reach a critical mass of new customers without spending a million dollars on a website, custom software and television advertising. Now you can match a large company with global reach for a few thousand dollars.
It is a new era for aspiring entrepreneurs, where anyone with a dream or hobby should make it a business. The bad news is that many are already doing it, with increasing competition, so the longer you wait, the less likely you are to get there first. The good news is that most have not learned the new rules, so there is still room in front of the crowd.
Related: 5 Strategies I Used To Start And Build A Successful Business With Just $ 200
Here are some of the new key rules I learned from starting my own business, investing as an angel in other startups, and mentoring many new entrepreneurs in recent years:
1. Incorporate a business, but keep it simple.
A limited liability company (LLC) can be formed in most states for less than $ 100 directly over the Internet without legal assistance. This will take away the financial and legal responsibilities of your personal assets, but won’t cost you the big upfront cost and the ongoing time and expense of a C company.
2. Create an online business plan, but don’t wait for funding.
Too many entrepreneurs still believe that the plans are intended for investors, and investors are required to create a startup. Both are wrong. You need a simple plan to set real milestones, and you don’t need investors. Finding them takes too much time and effort, and takes away control and ownership.
3. Work out of your guest room and keep your own records.
Don’t assume you need to rent an office to start a business or hire an accountant to track expenses and assets. There are several easy-to-use accounting packages, such as QuickBooks, that work well on your existing small desktop or laptop computer.
4. Find DIY facilities for prototype hardware.
You no longer need to travel to China or hire an expensive prototyping expert to simulate your new design. Seek free help at a local university or find one of the new creative spaces, like TechShop, where you can hire time and equipment to do the work yourself. Building the prototype can be fun.
Related: 10 Priming Tips To Turn Your Idea Into Reality
5. Create and register intellectual property online.
In a new start-up, the early registration of intellectual property has considerable competitive value, but you no longer have to entrust these tasks to expensive experts. Trademarks, copyrights and even patents can be completed online by anyone via the US Patent and Trademark Office site for a few hundred dollars.
6. Use online virtual assistants to complement your efforts.
Avoid Payroll, Office Equipment, and Employee Benefits Costs by Using Low-Cost Remote Contract Services and Freelancers Available Online They provide the targeted expertise you might need, with the flexibility increase or decrease resources as you learn what needs to be done to evolve.
7. Use low cost subscription software and cloud computing.
With Google or Amazon, you can get all the storage and compute power for the applications you need without even thinking about IT staff and high up-front costs for servers and IT applications. All costs are monthly, with scaling options appropriate to the size of your business.
8. Take advantage of social media and free websites for marketing.
Many entrepreneurs today build and maintain their own websites, using powerful tools such as Shopify. The marketing of the site is easily extended via blogs, Twitter, Facebook and social networks. Do not sign up for external search engine optimization, public relations, or other experts until your business generates revenue.
Of course, not all new start-up ideas can be developed this way, so choose an idea that’s right for you. At worst, it will be a low-cost learning experience that will prepare you for the ultimate project you plan to change the world. In the meantime, I am convinced that many good business opportunities are now within the financial reach of almost anyone who wants to do their homework.
But don’t wait too long to start. I believe that we are in the midst of a fundamental change towards the entrepreneurial way of life, and far from unsatisfactory, highly specialized and highly targeted hourly and salaried jobs. You can now do what you love at an affordable price. Control is yours. What is stopping you from starting today?
Related: 6 seed tips from an entrepreneur who turned $ 3,000 into millions