Can you start a business for R1000-00?

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau simplifies the process of starting a business, cost effectively, and is helpful for entrepreneurs wanting to take practical steps . For me, it has also served as a disciplinary device.

$100 Startup as a disciplinary device

Allow me to explain, the universe is filled with advice on every conceivable system, tactic, strategy, and latest greatest startup technique. In searching for and sifting through the many options, we waste time and get confused about which system to choose.  I have been guilty of this and needed a solution.

One day I decided to keep a hardcopy of the $100 Startup in my bag. Every time I reached for the Internet to search for anything related to starting and running a business, I just opened the $ 100-00 startup. Many a time, the answer was in the book. This is not a speciality of $100 Startup, but rather that limiting choice on information available has a remarkable impact on taking action. Craig Mod calls this creating an edge. Less reading and more action.

Who is this book for?

The book is thus for any entrepreneur that wants a simple process to start a business, without the head banging complexity of learning loops, canvasses and customer discovery. For example, on page 18, there is a list of what you need to start up. The list is:

  • Product or service: what are you selling?
  • People willing to pay for it: Who are your customers?
  • A way to get paid: how you’ll exchange a product or service for money. How are you getting paid?

When you think about it, there is really not much more to starting up a business. Some may criticise this as overly simplistic, but for me that is why it is so useful.
The book is also extremely useful for “lifestyle” entrepreneurs. Lifestyle in the sense of both working remotely, but also those seeking to follow their passion – usually a hobby, and sometimes a vocation. We admire these people, because they are not seeking scale for massive profits, but ways to earn a living (and a little more) with having an impact on the world.
What can you expect?
The book takes an entrepreneur on a journey from choosing ideas to the actual sale. This is pretty much the standard structure of every book on starting up. The difference with this book, is that the exercises and tools are all exceptionally useful and simple. The major exercises in the book are available for free online. Click here to visit the $100-00 Startup website.

Disappointments
From a research perspective I have a disappointment: the research undertaken for the project, which included interacting with 1500 entrepreneurs is not surfaced enough. There are some exceptional businesses in the list and hearing more from them would have added to an already useful book.
Recommendation
Although I no longer carry this book around, I still keep my hard copy of the $100 Startup handy. Sometimes I just need the simplicity of it all – even though I am attempting a more complex model. The one-page business plan, one page construction kit, are stellar starting points for any business. Less complexity and more action.
Buy a hard copy and keep it in your bag.