When new folks sign up to receive my emails (which you can do by clicking the special report link at the bottom of this post, if you’re so inclined!), I ask them to tell me the one big thing that’s holding them back from the business success they’ve always wanted.
Here’s one recent response:
The one thing holding me back is MONEY. Takes money to make money. And I live somewhere that’s in dire need of a facility (of my dreams) that I would like to create but it’s going to cost quite a bit to make it.
It’s a very good, very honest answer to my question. And there’s no simple response, alas. But I do have some advice for this reader, and you as well if you’re in a similar position:
Do what you can with what you have.
What do I mean by that? Well, it’s generally much easier to start a small home-based center than to purchase (or construct from scratch) a huge facility elsewhere. It’s cheaper to get a Facebook page up and running than to hire the best web designer in town to build you a site with all kinds of bells and whistles.
It’s better to partner with some like-minded businesses in your community for some fun, well-publicized events than to blow a lot of money on a Google AdWords campaign that you can’t afford and don’t really understand.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things – there’s a time and a place for all of them, in fact. But you don’t need them to get your child care business started. They can actually be a distraction from the few, yet truly important, things you need to be focusing on as you get your business up and running:
1. Finding a unique niche to focus on.
2. Making sure you’re in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
3. Getting the word out and opening your doors.
Once you start to develop a reputation within your community, you’ll get more business. And more. And then you can start thinking about expanding.
Overextending yourself too soon is the surest way to see your dream (and your savings) die a sad, early death. One client of mine did this and wound up calling it quits on her dream of owning her own center before ever opening her doors for business – but not before spending a tremendous amount of time and money. It was very sad to watch.
Don’t make this mistake. Start small, keep reinvesting in your business and yourself, and grow at a sustainable pace. Learn from your mistakes and correct course as you go.
Your business can be everything you’ve ever dreamed (and more!), just maybe not all today. As Bill Gates – who launched Microsoft on a shoestring – put it so well, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
Be in it for the long haul, and you will astound yourself with what you can do over time.