I’ll get straight to the point on how you can start a small business today:

  • Ideation – Coming up with an idea that solves a problem for a specific group of people and validating that the solution you have actually solves the problem.
  • Building – Building your product or service offer.
  • Distribution – Getting your products or services in the hands of customers
  • Scaling / Exit – Growing the business or selling the business.


Coming up with the idea

Every business needs to solve a problem. Instead of trying to come up with an solution in search of a problem, first look for problems around you and come up with potential solutions for them.

You’ll also need to decide if you want a lifestyle business or a moonshot business. A lifestyle business is the chill kind of business that makes you a small to medium income (maybe $500 – $100K/mo) and doesn’t drain too much of your life. In some cases, you can even scale this into 7 and 8 figures. This is the kind of business you can build and manage with some delegation while sipping a mojito in Canggu, Bali but it won’t make a billion dollars. A moonshot business on the other hand is often going to challenge the status quo and disrupt an industry. It is likelier to fail but the payout is huge if it works. Moonshot businesses will often require your full undivided attention to pull off and will likely skew your work life balance towards work, lots of it.

Do I need to come up with an original idea?

Here’s the kicker, you don’t actually need to be original if you’re creating a business. Sure, some novelty helps, but there’s an even simpler tactic. Here’s two strategies:

  • Look for a business that is already working, find their inefficiencies and unnecessary steps, fix them and target their customers. Another approach is simply look at how many steps it takes to complete a given task in a business and see what steps you can remove.
  • Copy an existing business in a different industry. Let’s say there’s a business that sells journals or notebooks to women who care about their mental health. You can copy their business and sell journals to corporates as part of their team building activities.
  • Offer services to the community of an existing business. If there is a large enough community for a given business, then you could be the one offering services that are tangential to that business. Think of Airbnb existing, and you selling lockboxes, sheets, or photography services specifically tailored for Airbnb. In this particular example, you could also be the entire stack – meaning you approach people who want to start on Airbnb and you get them every single thing they need for a fee. Any business that has a broad community has the opportunity to build add-on services to it.
  • Market a business you copy on a different channel from the one they are dominant on. Perhaps there’s a shop selling flower vases on Facebook marketplace with no Instagram presence. You can start the same business but on Instagram.
  • Target a niche for a business that is already working. For example: if there is an email design agency for tech startups, you could be the person that does email designs for dentists. To pull this off, you’ll need to understand the problems that dentists try to solve when sending out marketing material. They don’t have marketing material? There you go, another business opportunity

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to come up with a business idea just by imitation. Good artists copy, great artists steal.

Coming up with original ideas

You probably won’t. have a completely original idea. Most businesses are built on the shoulders of many other businesses that existed before. For example, Jeff Bezos built amazon on top of the existing logistics infrastructure as well as the internet. The logistics infrastructure was built on top of roads, rail and flight networks existing. Flight networks were built on the premise of understanding aerodynamics and the engineering required to build a flying machine. And so on, and so forth.

Validating that the idea can work

How do you know if the idea will work? There are free and cheap ways to know. One of them is using waiting lists as a way to build up hype about an upcoming product.


Building an MVP vs Vertical slices

Do you build a broad feature crappy product or a small product that has one perfectly working feature? Industry and regulations will play a huge role in how you decide. In medicine, you can’t build a crappy product and launch, while in software, you can. It all depends


How do you market? Where do you market? All this and more will be answered in upcoming articles as well as the upcoming course.

Scaling / Exit

Do you want to continue working on your business indefinitely or partially?

Do you want to sell? All these determine whether you stay at the same level, scale up or sell the business. What you do depends on what you want.


This article is intentionally incomplete as it could run and turn into an entire book. All the missing parts are included in our how to start a small business course.

Every business is different and circumstances are different, but the fundamental path remains relatively similar. I hope that this article provided you with insights on how you can start your own business.
If you would like an in depth overview of each and every single step with practical examples and exercises, then please join the waiting list for our “How to start a small business course”.

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