Step 2: What are the common barriers to starting an online business?

So you’ve decided you might like to start an online business. But each time you think about it, you feel a little…something. There’s always something stopping you.

See if you recognise any of these reasons:

It costs a fortune to set up a business and I can’t afford that

Absolutely not. Well, sometimes. But not always.

Every business involves an investment of some cash but it varies depending on the set up costs. For example, are you planning on running something from your own home? Or are you looking at buying in to a proven business such as a franchise (normally requiring an initial upfront investment). It could be that you’re thinking of setting up a store on the high street – which usually involves a year’s rent (many £thousands), the refit of your shop (many £thousands), stock (again £££s) and staff (£££s).

Considering the above, it’s no wonder some of us get put off by the costs. But many people over estimate what’s required at the start. Why risk huge sums of cash on a new (and potentially unproven) business idea when you could start small (at night, at home, as a side-job?) and build it up when you get the clients / customers / sales. Being too busy or cramped in a spare room because things are growing so fast is a nice problem to have after all.

Some people set up a business by selling goods via a blog (free / a few pounds a month). Some people find it makes sense to set up a small e-commerce website – and do that by starting small on really easy to use self-service e-commerce websites like Bigcommerce or Shopify both which have very low cost entry points (eg a few quid a month).  So just experimenting and dipping that toe in the water doesn’t cost a huge amount of money so the risk is relatively low. Unlike an offline store in a high street, if it doesn’t take off and you decide to change direction, you’re unlikely to have lost a huge amount of money.

I’d love to set up a business but I just don’t have the time

Let me share a secret with you. I’m writing this blog post late at night – 11.40pm on a Wednesday to be precise. Why? Because I’m not great in the mornings and I’ve been crazy busy at the day job, so evenings are the best time to do it. The odd hour here and there throughout the week just works for me.

You could try breaking things up into small chunks – huge scary things are always easier to tackle when you tackle it one small bit at a time. Don’t put the whole thing off because you’ve assumed you need weeks or months to get things going, all in one chunk. Granted, at some point you’ll need to take some time out to set up serious stuff like accounting tools, but that’s a task you probably won’t need to address in the early days.

Assuming you’ve not given up the day job (drastic!), you’ll probably need to work around your busy life. Try a few approaches and see what works best for you. If that’s still not working, have a think about how badly you want to start a business.

So, you’re thinking of starting a business. Great! Why not find out to set up an online business?