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A Step-By-Step Guide For First-Time Entrepreneurs

Garage Academy, a home to entrepreneurs, has witnessed the impact of the pandemic to the founders, freelancers and corporate leaders who call our community home. Today, with this guide to entrepreneurship, we hope to help you find your feet as a first-time entrepreneur in the age of social distancing, with insights from our recent webinar with Shopify.

What does the word entrepreneur mean to you? Have you ever thought to start your own business?


Risk? Sleepless nights? Investors? Customers that never materialise?


With the pandemic bringing uncertain times, the thought of giving up a stable income to start your own business may not be the first thing on your mind. As traditional business models fight for survival, now more than ever may be the time to dust off that idea you had, identify a product/market fit, and set off on your entrepreneurial journey.


But where do you start? 


Garage Academy’s business community of founders, freelancers and corporate leaders have seen the impact of the pandemic firsthand. We spoke to Frankie Ng, Hong Kong and Taiwan Lead at Shopify in our recent webinar with Shopify and hope to pass on some of his advice for first-time entrepreneurs along with some of our learnings. Here are our 5 top tips so you hit the ground running.


1. Determine your Goal and Effort


Goal setting has to be the first step. Why do you want to become your own boss? The most common goals are financial freedom, passion, and personal accomplishment. Your goals should be determined by the time and effort you are willing to put into. Also, work-life balance is continually blurring as lockdown distractions come into play.  A profitable and sustainable startup business might take up all your free time, meaning no social time for you.


2. Pick the Idea that Fits


Make a list of your ideas, and narrow down the options. Based on your expertise, interest and current network what resources do you have at hand? Discuss your idea with your network and encourage your close circle to be honest and tell you what you’re missing. You might have 100 ideas in mind, but you only need one to succeed. 


We’ve seen the pandemic accelerate online businesses as with Amazon creating 10,000 positions to support their growth. So if you’re thinking of a startup with an emphasis on digital, look to emerging industries for opportunities that fit your business plans. 


3. Choose the Right Partner


Your business is your baby, it might be hard to share this with someone else. Therefore, you need someone who is accountable, who you can rely on and trust. 


Rather than just sharing the same passion, look to their values and the expertise they bring. Do they bring a network or a unique approach to help build your vision? Don’t be afraid to talk business from the start. Be sure to negotiate terms and profit share before you get started to avoid any unpleasant surprises when your idea takes off. 


4. Identify the Platform you Need


Make things easy by choosing the right platform for your business. There are many platforms, tools and workflow ideas that make entrepreneurship easier. Depending on your goal and the business nature, find the solution that's designed specifically for your industry. For example, for eCommerce business, Shopify has developed a powerful eCommerce platform with features for dropshipping, online store, customer service, and etc. When your business is scaling up, you might want to consider some platforms which help automate the HR process, or simplify your accounting and administration work


5. Get Started and Scale-up


There will be a time where your revenue will allow you to grow your business. Startups have to strike the balance between space and budget making the flexibility of coworking is attractive.


Garage Society is able to offer a choice of locations in Hong Kong and across Asia Pacific, giving small businesses the flexibility to scale-up from a variety of work environments that suit them.


Within our diverse community of businesses, you can easily connect and collaborate through our online platform Commons.


Entrepreneurship should not be a lonely journey. Join us on Commons today to connect with your next collaborator.


#Entrepreneurship #BusinessIdeas

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