What do Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon, Google, The Walt Disney Co., and Mattel all have in common? They were launched in garages. Each year, hundreds of other startups are birthed inside garages all across America, but only a few survive. What’s the secret to success?
Here’s What You Must Do to be Successful
While they’ve sort of been glorified over the years by people who love “rags to riches” stories, running a successful garage-based startup is challenging in more ways than one. But the good news is that you have a blueprint regarding how you can be successful.
You’ll have to tailor your approach according to the circumstances you’re exposed to, but here are some tips for being successful:
1. Take Advantage of the Benefits
There are plenty of cons to working out of a garage, but try to center your mind on the benefits – of which there are many. Little or no overhead is perhaps the biggest one.
“When you start a business, the last thing you want to do is spend any money that you do not have. By working in a garage, entrepreneurs can make and mix, revise and improve their product, service, and/or idea without increasing their bills,” entrepreneur MJ Gottlieb explains.
Another benefit is the ability to roll out of bed and immediately start working. With no commute or traditional office hours, you can work as much as you want and when you want. (Just make sure you’re getting a little bit of rest.)
2. Be Aware of the Risks
Running a business out of your garage also comes with some risks. For one, people might have a hard time taking you seriously. While running your business out of a garage sounds cool, a major client or potential business partner might think it’s unprofessional.
3. Get Serious About Security
Another practical risk you have to consider is security. Contrary to popular belief, a garage isn’t very secure. If you’re storing a bunch of inventory or valuable equipment in your garage, then you’ll need to think about ways to proactively prevent break-ins and safeguard your assets. One option is to install a security system.
“An HD security camera system will not only deter crime and help you identify criminals, but it’ll also provide invaluable peace of mind,” explains Ray Lodi of CCTV Camera World. “It’s an investment you won’t regret making when your entire livelihood is protected by nothing more than a one-inch thick garage door.”
4. Plan for the Long-Term
Running a business out of your garage is totally fine for the short-term, but you need to be taking the big picture into account. If you have plans of growing your startup into a profitable business with big revenue goals, you’ll eventually need to move into a bigger or better space.
As with every aspect of your business, it’s smart to set one-, three-, and five-year goals. Where do you see your company at each of these points? At one point does it make sense to scale up to a larger space? The more intentional you are about answering questions like these, the more strategic your growth will be.
Be Careful What You Let Define You
It’s easy to let your business be defined by labels, such as a “garage startup.” And while there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this, be wary of becoming too defined by this status. You’re running a business – not a garage-based business. Zero in on what your business is at its core and focus on that.