3 Tips to Start a Business in 2023
Starting a business doesn’t need to be from a calculated effort. Yes, you will need a solid business plan and funding to get going, but more times than not, businesses are created out of a pain point or need in the market.
Take Airbnb for instance, the two founders, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, who were roommates at the time, couldn’t afford their astronomical San Francisco rent and were always looking for ways to make a few extra bucks. They knew a huge design conference was coming to town and there likely would a shortage of hotel rooms. Gebbia sent Chesky an email with an idea, wanting to turn their loft into a “designer’s bed and breakfast”, offering these designers who came into town for the conference a place to stay, complete with wireless internet, small desk space, and breakfast each morning. They decided to give it a go. A simple site, airbedandbreakfast.com, was created. They bought three air mattresses and charged each guest $80 to stay. After their first successful booking, they knew their idea could be huge. But after a few setbacks, two unsuccessful launches and rejections from angel investors, they were eventually invited to join a prestigious start up accelerator and the rest is history from there. They simplified their name to Airbnb and there were no more associations with air mattresses. They were not renting out couches, single bedrooms within homes and even entire houses/apartments. By 2011, they were in 89 countries and hit 1 million bookings on their platform. Here is what they learned in the process.
Test Your Concept Personally before Marketing
It is extremely important to personally test your product/service. If you don’t like it, how can you expect anyone else to like it when you start the marketing aspect of your business? Too many marketing campaigns fail and the sole reason is often due to lack of testing the product. Share your product/service amongst friends and family first.
Identify the Pain Point/Need Before Coming Up with a Solution
Airbnb is hugely successful because it solved a clear problem in the hospitality/rental industry. As if that isn’t enough, it also provided extra income for people who had properties that were doing little to nothing.
Entrepreneurs should always make sure they have a clear solutions for a specific problem. Don’t go about it the other way, thinking of a product/service then trying to find the problem to which the solutions can be applied to.
Getting Your Business Idea Off the Ground
Airbnb had two unsuccessful launches and were rejected or ignored by every angel investor they went to. It wasn’t until Venture Capitalist, Paul Graham, invited the founders to join the Y Combinator that gave them the opportunity to perfect their product/service. Needless to say, starting a business is not for the fainthearted. To get your business off the ground is complicated and can hit many roadblocks. You will hit many challenges but perseverance will get you through those difficult times as a business owner.
AirBNB Advice for Entrepreneurs
Remain optimistic in times of crisis – when 2020 hit, the hospitality industry was it hard. In fact, bookings for Airbnb dropped over 70%. When he had to lay off 25% of his employees, Chesky remained optimistic. “ The trick is to be optimistic. The optimism has to be rooted in facts that you can present as a case to people. Tell them, I’m optimistic because here’s where we are going and here’s how we are going to get there.”