The Art of Starting Small: Five Steps

We each find ourselves at some point with a business idea and often times dream about becoming our own bosses. Sara Blakely, CEO and founder of Spanks (a leading American intimate apparel company) says “People have million-dollar and billion-dollar ideas daily . . .” Very few of us, however, get around to acting on these ideas. In fact, up to 80% of us end up backing out of our own dreams. In this blog, we’ll share a few practical ways to take action on your ideas.


“Great Things Are Not Done By Impulse, but By a Series of Small Things Brought Together.”

Vincent Van Gogh

Behind every successful business is a dream, and a dreamer who took action. So, if you are looking for ways to actualize that idea in small simple steps, here are some tips to consider.

Put It On Paper!

Have you really thought about the idea? Have you written it down? Research shows that there are numerous benefits to writing down your goals and ideas.

Writing things down sets the intention and is the first practical step. Written ideas are clearer and more tangible than mere thoughts. Moreover, writing or typing out your ideas clears your mind. This begins the organization process and clarifies your random thoughts. Slowly, your ideas begin to connect and a plan comes together.

Did you know that you are more likely to stay motivated when you have a visible reminder of your goals? In a week, a month or a year from now, you can look back to see the progress you have made at the written-down plans. So, go ahead and jot it down!


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Do The Essentials List!

Once written down, don’t stop there, go beyond the writing, capture the things that you need. For instance:

  • What kind of business am I starting?
  • What do I need to kick start?
  • What products will I be offering?
  • What is the industry like in this line of business? Is it competitive? Am I alone? What are other sellers like me doing?
  • What is my uniqueness as a business? (The niche)
  • Where do I see my business in fifteen years?

You may find yourself not having the answers to all these questions at the beginning, and this is okay. This brings us to the third thing…

Do A Recon!

Do a research, find out what other businesses in your industry are doing. What successes and failures are they experiencing? How are the businesses coping with these challenges? What kind of questions should you expect from customers? Which common mistakes should you avoid?

This exercise will give you a clear idea of what to expect and plan for, your timelines, where to source supplies, price estimates, and much much more.

You know what’s awesome? You can do a Recon on your way to work, or your way home. Remember, you are starting small and doing everything a small step at a time. It may take time, but it’s all worth it.


Before we proceed, did you know that every month we hold free webinars just to grow you as an entrepreneur? This month we have 5 Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business with James Macharia! See you there.


Draft A Pre-Budget

Now that you have done a recon and a list of the essentials, draft what your expenditure might look like. At this point, don’t jump to a cumbersome company budget servicing million customers. Hold your brakes, you are not there yet!

Bearing in mind it might take some time to gain customers and establish a regular cash flow, draft a simple day-to-day budget of the costs you anticipate. So, be specific. Draft down the little you need to produce just for the first batch of products. Remember, entrepreneurs that break this secret have higher chance of success that those that don’t.

The Taste-Test

With the budget out of the way, it’s time to test and taste the waters. The only way to know if people want your product is to give them an opportunity to interact with it. Sell to family and friends, get their feedback, and use it to improve the product.

Another way you can test the idea is through crowdfunding. This opens your business and products to customers beyond your network. This means:

  • More awareness- crowdfunding is a marketing tool
  • More feedback about your product
  • Possibly, more funding


You can learn more about crowdfunding here.


Track Progress

Check your progress regularly against your plan to see whether you are moving in the right direction. Remember to always celebrate each milestone no matter how small!

Congratulations on taking the first steps towards bringing your ideas to life. Which step resonated with you the most? Tell us on the feedback.

Remember to Join us for our Free Webinar: 5 Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business on 1st July, 2021. Register Here.

Five Reasons You Should Start Small

Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be afraid only of standing still.

Chinese Proverb

Every large business you can think of started small. Even the tech giant, Microsoft, started with two childhood friends who had a dream and it has over the years grown to what you see today. Many entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs find themselves struggling to start their dream business when the answer is sometimes as simple as starting small.

Why start small?

1. It ensures that you start!

Starting your own business can feel like a daunting task even when the passion and excitement are there. Committing to making one small step wards off the paralysis that comes in the beginning when there seems to be just too much to do! It doesn’t take much willpower to do the small tasks, the key is to make each step easy to carry out so that the initial resistance is lowered. Make that phone call, create that Facebook page, draft a monthly budget and before you know it, you have your own small business up and running.

2. Feedback and Flexibility

Starting small opens your business to immediate feedback from the people that matter (customers, suppliers, partners, etc) If you find that 70% of your sales are coming from one out of five products, you might want to focus on developing and improving that one instead of investing equally in all five.

Starting small further gives you the flexibility to incorporate the feedback you get. Even in the event that things do not work out as planned, you have more room to change direction or start over.

3. It minimizes the risk

One of the things that makes beginnings tough is thinking about all the things that could go wrong. Indeed, there are some real risks to starting a business. What if we run out of money? What if people don’t like our products? Starting small makes these risks a little more bearable. You get to learn what works and what doesn’t before investing all your time and resources

4. Grow as it grows

Running a business is a journey of trial and error, and oftentimes the mistakes you make, grow you as a person and as an entrepreneur. The skills that you learn when starting small give you the much needed confidence and motivation to set bigger goals. The more you succeed the more you want to succeed and it’s the small wins that build your momentum towards your big dreams. Clarity also comes with action, the more steps you take, the clearer your vison and direction become.

5. Why not?

There is less to lose in starting small and you can change your mind at any point.

We are all for dreaming big and aiming high. But if the big bold steps are getting in the way of you starting, maybe you should consider taking small daily baby steps. Small efforts sustained over time can produce great results. Consistency is key.

Just start!

Want to learn more?
Register for our Free Webinar, A Guide to Growing Your New Business.

Talk to us

Email
support@thundafund.com

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The Gambia: +2203048407
Kenya/South Africa: +254 712983228


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The New Way for Businesses in The Gambia

For years, entrepreneurs in Africa have struggled with raising funds for their businesses. Thundafund provides an alternative way of raising funds through crowdfunding. Here’s how…


Since 2018, the UNCDF launched its program JSF in The Gambia to finance jobs, skills and finance for women and youths. This program will run until 2022 and its main objective is to reduce poverty through improved inclusive and sustainable growth and employment. But how can it do this? The answer is rather simple…

By helping entrepreneurs access funds for their businesses.

In 2013, Thundafund launched in South Africa and later in Kenya in 2019, and finally The Gambia in 2020. Since its inception, over $4.8M has been raised by entrepreneurs across Africa. During our pilot, over $10,000 has been raised by Gambian entrepreneurs. Over 300 Gambian campaigns have since been launched, raising funds for business growth and sustainability.

But What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or a venture by raising small amounts of money from a large group of people. In simple terms, it is an online fundraising!

HOW DID IT BEGIN? The history of crowdfunding is traced back to the funding of the Statue of Liberty in 1885; however, it gained prominence with the emergence of the internet. It later became mainstream following the 2008 financial crisis, where the failure of banks to support businesses gave this concept a crutch. Thus, many successful businesses depended on crowdfunding to raise funds. This trend has spread across the world since.

WHAT OF AFRICA? Africa, is not new to crowdfunding. Fundraising has been part of our culture and heritage for years. With Stokvel in South Africa, Harambee in Kenya and Susu in The Gambia, raising large amounts of money for different projects e.g. tuition fees, buying lands, funding businesses, our continent is already set to go the online way!

IS CROWDFUNDING FOR ME? YES!! Crowdfunding is for anyone and everyone! There are different types of crowdfunding, and each is designed to suit your specific needs as an entrepreneur. Thundafund offers you 3 types of crowdfunding: Donations for early stage businesses and non-profit, rewards for businesses with products or services, and investment for already established businesses.

What Types of Crowdfunding Are There?

Donation-based Crowdfunding is the simplest form of crowdfunding as nothing is expected in return for backers contributions. This type is best for nonprofit ventures such as raising funds for community projects, children foundations, and any other of the like. For businesses and organizations looking to give their supporters something in return, read on . . .

Reward-based Crowdfunding where the entrepreneur gets to offer incentives as rewards to the people who fund the project (the backers). These incentives can be: merchandise produced by the business e.g. bags, shoes, bottles, books, etc., vouchers, or even discounts for a future service or product. Reward-based crowdfunding is great for new businesses that wish to test out their products in the market and get funding at the same time. And also for existing businesses that want to grow or launch a new product in the market.

It’s almost like killing three birds with one stone, because the crowdfunding project acts as a marketing opportunity, a product-testing opportunity, and a financing option for the business. The benefits of this kind of crowdfunding are endless.

Investment Crowdfunding is relatively new in Africa, and Thundafund is proud to be a pioneer of this new concept! The entrepreneur gets to raise funds (a slightly larger sum than most donations and reward projects) through smaller investments from many investors. The investor (backer) will then have their investment repaid with a fixed return over a period of time, depending on the revenue the business generates.

(If the business performs very well, investors are paid out sooner, if growth is slower, investors are repaid over a longer period of time). This mode is particularly great for established businesses seeking to get a boost in their capital to support their growth or expansion.

Pick a mode best suited for you!

You may be a part of a susu and you may be seeking to start that dream business. Setting up a campaign with Thundafund is quite easy. Moreover, our platform gives you the opportunity to present your business in an attractive way so as to market your business. And your susu can help you in this!

Even more, you get the chance to reach out to supporters beyond your susu!

Want to See More Gambian Campaigns?

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