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Alternative Ways to Starting Your Own Business

By Erik Folgate

If you are like me, then you may have started out with a very formal way of thinking when it comes to entrepreneurial ventures.  The traditional school of thought is that you must have a business plan, have a substantial amount of capital, and be extremely organized and planned with your marketing plan.  I thought that all of these things were essential to starting and being successful with a new business, but then I listened to Steve Pavlina’s podcast about kick starting your own business. 

Steve Pavlina’s website is a site about personal development, and he is single handedly starting a personal development business based off of his website.  In his podcast, Pavlina describes alternative methods to starting a business that are contrary to the traditional business school of thought.  Pavlina describes his own ventures with his personal development business where he began the blogger’s dream by providing quality and free information and in return making money by selling and advertising other people’s products.  Pavlina has obviously experienced a great deal more success than the average blogger, but his message is clear and simple.  It is not necessary to start a business the traditional way.  The internet and guerilla marketing provide a great way to start small and work your way up. 

I have completely bought into the thought that successful businesses start very small and eventually a certain tipping point occurs where the business takes off.  I think that if you find a way to make an income while trying to start the business that you are passionate about, you will be successful if you work on it slowly and steadily.  Most restaurant owners fail miserably because they take on a huge amount of overhead, spend a ton of money marketing, and spend less time on improving their food and service. 

There is a great pizza place in Gainesville, Florida called Satchel’s Pizza.  Satchel, the restaurant owner, is a prime example of a successful business owner that started a business the unconventional way.  His location is horrible in comparison to where it is located from the University of Florida.  None of the plates and silverware match, and you will never see Satchel’s advertise on television or in a magazine.  Satchel’s pizza makes only three things:  pizza, calzones, and salad.  All three are out-of-this-world delicious.  Satchel’s pizza is packed on thursday, friday, and saturday night because of word-of-mouth advertising from folks who had a great experience eating there.  The restaurant has all used furniture and the building is old, but Satchel’s is a profitable business because they started small and let the power of word-of-mouth drive a tremendous amount of business and repeat business to its restaurant.  Businesses win by keeping their costs low and distinguishing themselves from the competition.  If you can do those two things, you won’t need to worry about impressing any venture capitialists to loan you a 100 grand to start your business. 

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    This model doesn’t work very well when the quality of the product is poor, hence the need to advertise! ;) Though if you believe in your product, and others do too, the word-of-mouth factor will be huge and get the business going in the long run. I love reading entreprenurial stories as it gets me thinking about my own business opportunitees…someday.

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