I like to imagine starting your own business is like standing on the edge of a cliff. You desperately want the freedom, excitement and everything else which can come from going out on your own, but when you're standing alone on the cliff edge staring down your mind is convincing you not to jump.
The fear of failure or fear of the unknown is too much for most people, which is why so many are still standing on the cliff. But, when given a parachute, and someone to help you take the jump (guide you on the way down) suddenly it's not as scary.
Many people who have ideas for a company (or even have a small company already) struggle to know how to start or grow their business. "How can I reach my customers?", "How much should I be charging them?", "When should I quit my job", "What am I missing?". The unanswered questions and concerns, and self-doubt that accompanies the idea of starting something new that keeps people from taking the leap.
To help these aspiring entrepreneurs, late last year Mum's Garage became an Auckland facilitator for a successful global programme for launching early stage companies - CO.STARTERS.
This means we're licensed to use the course material and structure, and part of the revenue ends up back at the CO.STARTERS head office. A couple of Kiwi entities are already doing this, including AUT, Startup Dunedin, and Activate Tairāwhiti.
We want to help more Auckland entrepreneurs take the jump, and kick-off their bright ideas.
CO.STARTERS Is Like The Gateway Drug For Entrepreneurship
People benefit greatly from learning the framework behind starting a company, so CO.STARTERS takes aspiring entrepreneurs through the fundamentals of turning an idea into something over nine weeks. Just like a gateway drug, this programme opens up participants minds to the opportunities that exist in business, and gets them hooked on the learning and development behind entrepreneurship.
Exactly the fuel you need to think about escaping that cubicle.
Participants meet once weekly with a group of 10-16 other entrepreneurs, and guest speakers (who have all started their own businesses) are also bought in weekly to help participants learn from the experience of others in the community.
A few of the topics covered over the nine weeks include: knowing yourself, knowing your customer, marketing, distribution & revenue, cash-flow & accounting, growth planning, and capital raising (this is very brief - they go into far more detail).
CO.STARTERS also gets you thinking about your reasons for doing this - why do you want to create this business? Often people starting out are so caught up in their idea, they miss thinking about critical elements like why they've even chosen this type of idea.
Sometimes not thinking about this can get people into trouble further down the track.
The Right Fit For This Programme = You
CO.STARTERS is great for anyone who has an idea to start a business, whether they're completely new to it all, or not. People can often have multiple ideas, so it can help them select which one to pursue first.
It's also great for people who have been in business for a while, but have always been involved with traditional methodologies and ways of doing things. This programme can help them learn the very latest approaches, the same one's many Silicon Valley success stories have used.
Whether you want to start a technology company, a cafe, a consulting business, a food product, a hi-tech widget, or a retail store, it teaches the right framework for any type of idea.
Why Should You Even Start A Business?
I think it's critically important to give your business idea a good crack, or you're forever going to have it on your mind, and wonder "what if?".
If it doesn't work out, at least you've been able to make an informed decision. And if it does work out, even better!
Before Mum's Garage, I was stuck in a corporate job, but knew I wanted to start a business. I had no idea who to reach out to, or what was available to help me. The CO.STARTERS framework really helps with this. Entrepreneurship is not usually something you're taught through school or university, and even doing a business degree will only get you so far.
What Else Will You Take From CO.STARTERS?
You'll gain confidence in yourself and what you're capable of, and you'll gain understanding around what the process of starting a business actually is.
You'll also be sharing the journey with other like-minded entrepreneurs, and you'll be hearing from and connecting with guest speakers who have started businesses before. Starting a business is hard at the best of times, but can be a lot harder if you aren't involved in any communities or environments, because you don't have any support from friends and mentors who can appreciate what you're going through.
The CO.STARTERS programme is supported by a community of people who care about helping young companies. It's the first step in the journey.
You'll need the ability to spend three hours per week in-person the group, and also spend some time outside of that working on your business. The sky's the limit with that - the more time you spend on your business, the better as far as we're concerned!
Why Do I Champion This Programme?
I've actually replaced my own Mum's Garage specific startup programme with the CO.STARTERS framework, because I really believe in not only the course material and the way the programme is run, but also the emphasis put into solving real problems.
The team who created CO.STARTERS are also all about collaborative communities, not only in specific regions but globally. You become part of a network and I think that's really powerful. CO.STARTERS has been running for five year so far, and they've enjoyed great results. It has been crafted into a solid programme.
It's also very affordable at $697 for the full nine weeks.
What Are The Success Stories So Far?
I've seen a number of people come through CO.STARTERS, and the level of thinking or understanding they have for running a business compared to other people who haven't done the programme is significantly better.
If you're interested, get in touch and we'll make sure it's the right programme for you.