Do I Have a Great Bootstrapped Business Idea? #7daystartup Day 1

Here I am on a re-read of Dan Norris’ excellent book: The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch (not an affiliate link).7daystartupbookcover I purchased the book in December, read through it in an afternoon, and started churning things over in my head. With the bustle of the holiday season now past, its time to get back to work. I am going through the Day 1 task of brainstorming some ideas and then evaluating them against a checklist provided by Dan.

My business, Cap Web Solutions, has been up and running almost 6 months now. I am staying busy and loving the entrepreneurial business. I am learning new things every day, from the technical aspects of WordPress, PHP, CSS and challenging hosting partners to dealing with clients on a whole new level. Previously as a member of the corporate world, there was always limits on how I was able to interact, what I was able to offer to customers, and how I could respond. Now, as a solo business owner, I am able to interact, offer, and respond as I decide is right. This is a good thing, a very good thing.

However…yes, there’s always a ‘however’…I find that my original focus for the business has broadened. I have widened my aim so that more and more opportunity that comes across my plane, falls within my business niche. I have forgotten how to say ‘no’. I was so good at it before, or rather, I was good at repeating what my corporate handler always told me. Now, I’m saying ‘yes’ to each opportunity that comes to me. As I noted earlier, I am staying busy, but am I busy on the stuff that I really want to do with my business? I’ve decided that I am not. And so, it’s time to get the focus back. To niche down to the real opportunity for me and set myself up to offer the services that I am really excited to offer AND that I feel I can deliver the best value to my customers.

Back to Day 1 of the start-up. While technically this is not a start-up, it is a re-launching of business. Yesterday and most of today I have worked on the business idea. After 6 months I am able to make a few needed refinements on what it is I want to offer and how to offer it. My first goal was to offer WordPress support and maintenance services to local small businesses, churches and people in transition. As a related service, I would convert your existing non-WordPress site to a WordPress site and then give the ongoing support and maintenance for that site – this under a monthly support agreement.  What I find is that I’m doing much more WordPress conversion and new development projects and much less monthly support and maintenance.

My “start-up/re-launch” will focus on the small regular tweaks/ changes/ updates/ maintenance of WordPress websites. What are these things, you ask? Well, it’s all that little stuff that you need to do to your WordPress website every month to keep it going, looking fresh and shiny, and staying current. It’s not big stuff. It’s tiny stuff. Backups, tweak a font or image, post a blog entry, update a plugin, set the SEO info for a page, change a color. Stuff that is accomplished in about 30 minutes – sometimes a little more than 30 minutes, sometimes a little less than 30 minutes. These are things that come up each month that you either don’t know how to do, or don’t want to do, but need done. I’ll attend to the details, so you don’t have to.

Since this tiny stuff only takes about a half hour, I’ll get your tiny stuff done quickly, usually in less than a business day. Have lots of little things to get done? We can handle it. In fact, we can reasonably handle one a day if that’s what you can throw at us. We do like to take the weekends off, but if it’s urgent, okay, we’ll do that, so long as you let us know its urgent and don’t take advantage of us.

Have a bigger job to do? Well, we’re going to have to pass. I can refer you to some excellent developers who can take that job, but we”re going to stay focused on being the best tiny task doer for your WordPress site.

So that’s it in a nutshell. The business idea is formulated. I have written it down. Heck, I’ve shared it with the Interwebs – that means its real. Right?

Tomorrow I’ll have the service better described so that both you and I will have a better understanding of what it will look like when it re-launches. Then I’ll have what we call an “MVP”, or minimally viable product. The front end will be pretty, but the behind-the-scenes stuff could be a little rough. But isn’t that okay? As long as the customer is getting the value they are paying for, how it is delivered is not as important. Right? Well, that will work for a while, but it really doesn’t allow for maintaining high levels of referable customer service and sustainable business growth. And after all, that’s what exploring new opportunities is all about now – finding something that I can do to support my family and I, while providing a needed service to my community.

By the way, if you haven’t read Dan’s book, do check it out. A refreshingly easy read, with a well laid out plan. I like his comfortable style of writing. It resonates with me. Maybe it will for you too.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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