How Do You Start A Business?

So how do you start a business?

Hi, I’m Brett, and I’ve been running my own small business since February 2002.

How did I get started in business?

My own small business started off as an idea I saw while I was working for a company in London. The company was a software development company that built websites for other companies.

Some of these websites were quite large, with hundreds of webpages. There was an internal software tool used at the company to keep track of all the pages in a website, plus the associated databases.

I figured that this tool could be quite useful for other companies, so I decided to develop my own version.

It’s actually quite a common thing for people to “borrow” ideas for a business from their day job. If you want to do this then make sure you don’t steal the raw materials from your employer (for example if you’re a software developer then don’t use the company’s source code!). Also check that you don’t have a non-compete clause in your contract of employment.

I got away with it because the software tools I went on to develop were never actually sold commercially by the company I worked for. I never used the code from the original version. I put plenty of my own ideas into the products. And the idea of software code documentors was well established, so it wasn’t a new idea that my employers could have patented.

One final advantage I had is that the market for the software was pretty small. It wouldn’t have been financially viable for my employers to have released these products commercially. However, as a lone worker using my home computer it was a pretty decent business. Eventually I went on to sell around $100,000 worth of software over ten years. That’s not really a huge amount compared to what I could have earned from a day job. But it was some useful additional income, and well worth the time I took to develop the products.

So to recap, ideas for a business are often all around you while you’re working in your day job. Perhaps there’s a way of automating a boring process, or perhaps there’s an aspect of office life that could be streamlined.

While I was working in London we used to have a woman come into the office once a week to water the plants. Now that was a great idea for a small niche business!

It’s also worth remembering that you don’t have to follow the crowd when it comes to starting a business. Be different and you’ll often succeed. And don’t think you need thousands of dollars to start a new business. I started my own business from home with my own PC. Start-up costs for me were negligible beyond buying a website from which to sell my software products.

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