Five Essential Resources For Entrepreneurs
Illustration by Mr Giordano Poloni
Starting your own business: difficult, expensive, risky. Right? Of course, all of these factors are true for those looking to launch the next Uber, Amazon or Facebook (good luck with that, by the way), but for those of us with slightly less lofty ambitions, it’s not actually as difficult as you might think, especially with all the tools currently at the average person’s disposal. This is the thrust of 48 Hour Start-up, a new book from Mr Fraser Doherty MBE, the 27-year-old founder of a series of food-related businesses including the popular craft beer subscription service Beer52. In the guide, Mr Doherty argues that you can actually set up a business over a weekend, if you put your mind to it. What’s more, he demonstrates this fact, taking the reader step by step through the 48-hour launching of new brand of porridge called Awesome Oats.
“A lot of people have a dream to start a business, but worry that doing so has to be the decision of a lifetime,” says Mr Doherty, “but I wanted to show that it only needs to be the decision of a weekend.” In setting himself this challenge, he says, he discovered that a great deal can be done in a short space of time, from quickly coming up with an idea that will work, to finding a name and setting up an online marketing campaign. He even manages to prototype his product, and get it in front of customers. And all at very little cost. Key to this process, naturally, is making the most of the wide variety of online resources that exist for would-be businessmen, all of which are either free or cost very little to use. In the course of the book, Mr Doherty recommends a lot of these, but as a taster we thought we’d ask him to pick a few favourites. Scroll down to discover the five sites that will help you to start your next cottage industry.
In the digital era, it’s not enough to have a business name – you need to make sure you can also get the web domain to go with it. (Hence why your favourite startup tends to employ some kind of strange spelling of a familiar word, or the dreaded “-ly” suffix in its brand name). Bust A Name helps you out with this by taking key words about your brand and searching available domains for different combinations of them. “It’s such an old-school, horribly designed site but so useful and fun,” says Mr Doherty.
It used to be that to sell over the internet you had to either ask for cheques in the post or ask people to send money over PayPal – not the most professional look. But Shopify, says Mr Doherty, “makes it really easy to set up your own online store without knowing how to code."
When launching a business, you’ll realise, at some point, that you can’t do everything. For getting the right people involved on a low-commitment (and low-cost) basis, Mr Doherty recommends this site, on which you can “hire freelancers by the hour to build your website, design your logo, or translate your words into a foreign language”. Really, that’s just the beginning – Upwork is an online marketplace that brings together everyone from mobile developers to sales and marketing experts, all of whom are available to work on projects big and small.
Mr Doherty describes this site as, “kind of like a sex chat phone line… but for entrepreneurs.” Don’t let that put you off though – in fact, Clarity is a service that connects you over the phone to a range of business experts, ready to answer your questions and offer advice on your ideas, campaigns and more. You pay for their time by the minute (hence the sex chat comparison), but prices start at $1. It’s a particularly good resource for those just starting out who may not have many business-minded acquaintances to sense-check ideas with.
As an extension to his book, Mr Doherty has launched a 48 Hour Start-up blog, which, of course, he endorses quite whole-heartedly. It’s definitely a good place to start if you like the look of the above, as it brings together these and further recommendations and resources, including, says Mr Doherty, “a weekly podcast interview with successful and startup entrepreneurs.”