While I was interviewing dozens of top food entrepreneurs for my book, Cooking Up a Business, I was struck with an aha moment: Anyone can start a business. In fact, I took this to heart so much that I then started my own business, guesterly.
Starting a business isn’t just for the guy with the Harvard MBA, or the woman who won the biggest bake-off in the world. If you have the passion and dedication, you can start your own business, too—and you can even get it started this weekend. Here’s my five step plan for kicking off your dream. Set aside a weekend—I challenge you to set aside this weekend—and make it happen.
Friday night: Tell friends and family you’re starting NOW
If you have the idea, the passion, the will, and you’re thinking about it day after day…this is the time to do it. You are never too old or too young—in my book I profile people who started their business at every age, from 21 to 55. It helps to be living in a golden age of technology, because the internet makes information so easily accessible. The number one regret of entrepreneurs? They wish they’d started earlier, instead of thinking about their idea for years. Sound like you? Tell some friends so you have accountability, then jump in!
Saturday morning: Think of the big time
One of the biggest lessons from Cooking Up a Business is this: Pick a product that makes your life easy as your business grows. Whether it’s food, consumer goods, services, or software, some ideas are going to be much easier to do on a large scale. For example, Alex and Maddy of Love Grown Foods originally wanted to sell fresh pesto—but they found that while it was easy to make for a dinner party of 10, it’s exponentially more difficult to make 50+ batches at once. Make your life easy from the beginning by picking a product that is easy to do on a large scale, even if you never expect to get there. In Love Grown’s case, it was non-perishable granola (that’s now sold in 8,000+ stores across the country).
Saturday afternoon: Test test test!
Whether it’s food, software, content, anything—the most important thing you can do next is have people test your first attempts at your product or idea. For example, take that granola you just whipped up to your friends, and let their uncensored opinions run wild. Is it too crunchy? Too sweet? How much would they pay for it if they saw it at the supermarket? Another example would be to create a survey online and have your Facebook friends give their opinions on your new idea for a blog.
Sunday morning: Brand it
Next up: begin to think about branding. What does your brand stand for? How would you describe it if it was a person? What’s your mission? Come up with a name (test it, too!), and give yourself an identity—even if you don’t plan on making your business a big thing. It’ll make you seem legitimate, help boost sales, and provide a roadmap for everything to come.
Sunday afternoon: Get an online presence
Last up on your weekend homework: your online identity. Create your website (this is where I love tools like Weebly) and sign up for your social media accounts. And at 5pm Sunday, it’s time for a high-five… you have a business that’s ready to take off. Write down five steps you can do next weekend—and then relax!
Image Credit: Pinsi Lei