Need A Little Inspiration?
We stumbled across this book whilst researching the types of businesses that entrepreneurs around the world were setting up. Whilst research and written in the US, it caught our eye because we are big fans of starting micro-businesses with little to no investment. It isn’t always possible and it may not be an appropriate route for some people but for many, particularly those who might not have considered starting a business before now, it can be a fun and rewarding way to go.
The author of the book, Chris Guillebeau, compiled research on over 1500 businesses. The criteria for being included in his research was that they:
- Adopted a Follow-your-passion Model. Many people are interested in building a business that is based on a hobby or activity they are especially enthusiastic about. Not every passion leads to healthy levels of income but you’ll see in the book that some certainly do.
- Had a Low Startup Cost. He particularly focused on businesses that required less than $1000’s to startup, especially those which needed almost nothing (less than $100) to begin.
- Generated at Least $50,000 per Year. Being profitable was a must and so he focused on businesses that earned at least as much as the average North American would earn. The range varied from $50,000 dollars to year to high 6 figure profits.
- Needed no Special Skills. He was looking for businesses that anyone could run, either with skills that they could transfer from other experiences or very quickly acquire through a short period of training or independent study.
- Agreed to Full Financial Disclosure. Needing to validate that the businesses were indeed successful, they had to supply the previous two years financials and show current performance against their forecast for that year.
- Had Fewer Than 5 Employees. For the most part he was interested in unexpected or accidental entrepreneurs that chose to remain small.
A good local example, here on the Island, is the Community Interest Company RECRE8. This was started with the objective of spending next to no capital to get the business up and running. You can read more about this story by following the RECRE8 link.
RECRE8 is a Community Interest Company set up on the Island to help groups of unemployed people take the skills they have, or acquire new skills to develop a range of upcycled products that are then sold to create a revenue stream that all involved can take an equitable share in. The principle is that it helps people acquire the skills to make something and then it trains others to sell the products and everyone shares in the revenues created.
It started with the acquisition of 27 Green Goddess fire engine hoses that had been commissioned in the early 1950s. Each hose cost £15 and from the first hose one of a kind laptop bag was made, using the bit of hose that had the serial number and date of issue stencilled on to it. Then from the rest of the hose a limited edition run of 205 wallets were manufactured, each being stencilled with the serial number from the hose they were cut from and the date that the hose was commissioned.
To finish off the product handmade boxes, made from waste cardboard from a local factory, and a small card giving details of the vehicle were the hoses were found and those involved in the project was inserted.
The team then went to a number of events and over the course of the first 6 sales days, including a day on the High Street at East Dulwich, they sold half the stock from the first hose and made £1200. Each hose therefore should generate £2400. Not bad from a hose that cost £15.
RECRE8 have also been busy prototyping bags made from seat belts, jewellery made from old computer circuit boards and electronic components and also furniture made from scrap bicycle wheels and so is looking to expand it’s range. You can find out more on the RECRE8 website.