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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

studentbeans.com - how to turn your idea into a reality



James Eder, co-founder of The Beans Group talks about the hardest part of setting up a business - turning an idea into reality


There are lots of challenges involved in setting up a business. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it! But one of the most difficult things is getting started. So you have an idea. Now what?


There tends to be a fear of ‘giving things a shot’. With the current climate you could ask ‘is there more risk in working for someone where you could be laid off at any stage or setting up on your own and being in charge of your own destiny, knowing if it doesn't work you’ve had a crack?’


Of course then there’s the old idea that any business set up in a recession is the best kind - lean and healthy - a viable model long term, because anything weaker couldn’t have flourished in such conditions.


A favourite quote of mine which relates to the above is this:
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision
with action can change the world.” Joel A. Barker


Here are my 3 Key Tips to making your own business happen


1) Start. Firstly just start - there are always challenges but there are always opportunities too.
Belief, tenacity, passion and drive are qualities that significantly improve the possibility of
entrepreneurial success. If you have an idea, take a leap of faith. I like to compare the experience to when I went sky diving in New Zealand, once you jump things happen at a pace you can’t believe.


2) Don't take no for an answer. When you're growing up and you want something as a child just because your parents say no your natural instinct is to ask again and keep asking. As we get
older we tend to forget how persistent we once were! When we set up studentbeans.com in 2005, we were looking for an initial start-up loan to get our idea off the ground and had been rejected by a number of high-street banks. So we explored other opportunities and in the end received a low interest loan from The Prince’s Trust which was key in launching the business.


3) When you’re bootstrapped, be creative. We started with no money. As we grew without funding we needed to be dynamic, resourceful and efficient with the money we did - or rather didn’t - have. Take advantage of the many cheap or free business tools that are available. These resources can often be the difference between success and failure for any bootstrapped business and have shaped the way in which we work. I could not be without:


www.highrisehq.com is a contact management system that revolutionised the business. It tracks people and conversations and is invaluable for building relationships.
KashFlow (www.kashflow.com), an easy to understand online accounting system for UK small businesses and ensures we are on top of our finances.
Google Apps For Business (www.google.com/Apps) and Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) - rather than using expensive software, all our staff use Google Apps. All work is stored in the cloud, meaning we can collaborate and work anywhere - this can even remove the need for an office.


Of course, no success story comes without a lot of hard work behind it. So be prepared to work, take responsibility and most importantly enjoy it!


See studentbeans.com for more. If you have any questions or want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter @jameseder or find me on LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/jameseder. You can follow us on Twitter @studentbeans. We’re always looking for great talent to join the team, so check our our jobs board.