The 7 Benefits Of Starting Small
You may have heard the saying, ‘Do not despise small beginnings’ but be thinking well that’s nice and comforting but what’s so great about starting small. In a world where ‘it seems like’ peoples Instagram followings are growing fast, where we hear of people leaving their day jobs and building a 7-figure business in only 6 months or the classic ‘Follow this strategy and retire in a year,’ starting small just feels a little deflating. So much so, that I am concerned many people don’t take the first step to start something for the fear of looking less than or they just feel overwhelmed.
But I’ve come to learn there are many benefits of starting small. I am one who likes to know why to follow a principle. I will happily apply a time-tested principle in my life and business if I know that it will produces results, granted those results may take time.
Small beginnings allow you to make mistakes in front of less people
When you just start out in business or start a new project you will have a small following. This is the perfect time for you to test out your ideas and try new ways of communicating with your audience in front of less people. Nobody likes making mistakes in front of thousands of people, so use this time to be courageous and try new things out. For me this means going live on Facebook and Instagram. Granted I still get nervous, but if only 5 people show up to my live post then that feels a little less scary then 1000 people. It allows me the comfort of being in front of less people and provides a safe zone for me to develop my ability to speak live and to connect and serve with my following. So, use this time to be a little wild. Try out new ways of connecting with your audience, go live, use Facebook and Instagram Stories, post more photos of your product or service and test things out. Trust me, not that many people are watching you right now and that’s a good thing.
Small beginnings build your character
Starting small is necessary to build the required character traits to handle growth and success. There is no such thing as an overnight success, often when we see someone ‘pop’ they have spent years behind the scenes refining their craft and building their business. Those who do rise to fame quickly, such as popstars, often haven’t built the necessary character traits to handle it and it often ends badly. Just look at the likes of Lindsay Lohan or people who win lotto. Possible character traits you will develop when starting small include patience, persistence, resilience and discipline. Do not overlook these. If you haven’t been tested with the little you won’t be able to handle the much
Small beginnings build a solid foundation so you can handle future growth
When you start small it gives you the time to put in place systems and routines to handle future growth. When you are small you can spend more time refining your business systems such as email marketing, social media posting, scheduling clients, scheduling your day, packaging and shipping, website maintenance, accounting systems, budgeting and finance, and of course refining and developing your product or service. Running a business requires so many different elements and in order to have a well-oiled machine, each of these components needs to be set up well.
Use the time you have now to set up your business systems strongly with the mindset of serving a large volume of people in the future. Document your processes so you can eventually outsource some of them to allow you to further develop your business. If you have the mindset of wanting your business to grow, you need to keep in mind you won’t be able to do everything in your business one day. This is a good thing, but in order to pass on the responsibilities and employ other people you need systems in place to ensure the wonderful business you have built continues to serve your clients well and doesn’t fall apart.
Small beginnings allow you to test new ideas
A smaller audience is usually a more engaged one. I have a handful of really engaged followers who have followed the growth of art business for over 9 years now. They are wonderful people to test out new ideas on and ask for valuable feedback. Over the years I’ve tested ideas with my audience such as fine art prints, cellphone covers with my art on them, coffee cups, works on paper and my most recent idea, the development of my Customised Bridal Bouquet Paintings.
Some ideas haven’t worked so well, such as the cellphone covers offered through Society6. My audience was more interested in buying direct from me as opposed to a third-party service. This is good to know and more beneficial for me as there’s less of a cut to my profits selling direct. Sometimes I post ideas on colour schemes I’m considering and ask for feedback. I also post two works next to each other and see which is most popular. When your audience is small, engage, engage, engage and get feedback, then use that feedback to build a business around what the clients need and want.
Small beginnings teach you to manage resources
When you’re starting out small often you have little resources. Resources can include time, money, supplies and people. During this season you will learn how to make that dollar stretch, how to maximise the supplies you have and how to manage your time well, especially if you are working a full-time gig at the same time. What this does it teaches you to manage your resources well and efficiently, so you don’t mismanage the growth when it comes.
When you have limited resources you also learn how to be more innovative and creative with what you have in your hands. This ability to be innovative and creative will serve you well when your business grows and faces challenges. You need to be able to look for creative ways to solve problems, so develop your innovation muscle now while your business is small as it will be an asset for you in the future.
Small beginnings help you find your voice or style
When I first started painting seriously back in 2009, I was painting dark, depressing crocked trees and old abandoned buildings. I then went through a season where I painted birds. These were super popular and while I enjoyed the sales, I discovered I didn’t get much joy from painting them, despite being able to paint them well. Over the process of time I experimented with different painting styles, colours, surfaces and sizes and eventually came to discover my preference for florals. I’ve developed my style to where it is now very much ‘me’ and very consistent and recognizable to my audience.
You may start your business off with a particular idea and find that over the process of time your business strategy or the product or service you offer grows and evolves. This is normal. The benefit of being small during this development stage is that you are less likely to annoy your audience. I did loose a few followers when I stopped painting birds, and many asked for me to bring them back. But I just didn’t like doing them and I didn’t want to build a lifelong business around offering a product I wasn’t passionate about. So, while I lost a few clients, it was small in comparison to what could have resulted in the future when my audience was larger.
Small beginnings require less start up costs and less financial risks
Starting small in business is very possible now with the online market. Often you need little initial startup funds and can get started with less than $1000. All you really need is a Facebook Business Page, a website and samples of your product to sell or your service. Gone are the days of taking out huge bank loans with high interest to start a business. In fact, I advise strongly against doing this. When you start small in business remember that your business grows and evolves, you don’t want to spend tens of thousands on launching a business only to find you don’t have a market for it.
Use this time while your business is small to invest a little money and mainly your time and energy into promoting your product or service and generating sales. See if it is profitable, and if it is, invest the small profits back into your business to help it grow more.
I hope that this helped you see the benefits of starting small and encouraged you to either continue with your business or to take the first step to step out and start. Starting small is wonderful as it allows you to build a sustainable and strong foundational for your business, which when it grows, will be very profitable and successful for you. Don’t despise small beginnings, rather celebrate them and enjoy the benefits they offer.