Many highly-successful businesses actually started in garages, including companies like, Apple,
Microsoft, Amazon and Google have taken the information age by storm through humble garage beginnings. Amazing growth from humble roots however is not only confined to the Silicon Valley stable of companies; Companies like Harley Davidson, Midlake and even Disney all had similar beginnings. And, these businesses didn’t just stay there. They grew. Here’s how, and how you can do the same.
The reason that many large brands started in garages was because the overhead was low. When you venture out into the business world, keep that in mind. Starting in a basement, an apartment, or a garage isn’t shameful. It might just be the best thing for your company.
Choose A Low-Cost Location To Move Into
When you outgrow the confines of a basement or garage, it’s time to get an office, but where? Choose something that’s low-cost and don’t worry too much about location other than making sure it’s easy for customers and employees to find.
This is where many businesses fall down – they overbuy an office to make it look like they’re bigger than they are. They try punching above their weight class and they fail, usually miserably. Office and real estate costs are costs. They don’t really return anything to the company’s bank account.
Minimize them, even when you’ve moved out of more meager offices.
Spend Wisely On Furnishings
If your customers come into your office, it’s tempting to spend money on making the place look nice. But, you don’t have to. Shop around on the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) for second-hand office equipment. Learn more about Midlake products if you’re doing any interior remodeling in your office and you need something like custom hinges.
Ask businesses that are going out of business if you can have (or buy) their office equipment, including computers.
Reassess Costs Constantly
Always keep an eye on costs when you’re starting out. Even when you grow, costs are important. That’s not to say you should never spend money on nice things. But, when your cashflow is tight, focus on sales over flashy things that don’t bring in revenue.
Focus On Sales
A focus on sales means developing your sales and marketing department first, pumping as much money into the budget as possible, and making sure that customer service keeps up with demand from sales.
Focusing on sales seems simple, but it’s something many companies overlook, especially in the beginning. It’s tempting to become fixated on the grand idea or vision of your company and forget about the practicalities of it all, like the need for revenue.
Businesses today have a much easier time getting started, thanks in large part to technological advances. You don’t need to hire a full-time bookkeeper, an accountant, rent a storefront, or spend a lot of money on office equipment if you run an Internet-based business.
Even if you do run a traditional brick-and-mortar business, technology like VoIP and wireless POS systems dramatically reduce the cost of running a business.
And, because many accounting and bookkeeping services can be outsourced to a third party company over the Internet, you can further reduce your overhead and fixed expenses in ways not possible just 10 or 20 years ago.
Julie Shrum is the sales manager at Midlake. Working there for nearly 20 years has taught her a lot about metal fabrication and business in general. She works with her sales team to create a comfortable atmosphere for customers. Wearing many hats at Midlake has helped Julie find out about the many new uses for sheet metal.