And time is a hugely important thing to think about before choosing a business direction. Ask yourself how much time you’re prepared to give to your business, both at the beginning when you’re setting it up and on a day to day basis to make it a success. If you already lead a busy life and aren’t prepared to sacrifice your other commitments, the best option would be to invest as a silent partner in someone else’s early stage business or use one of the many platforms like Crowdcube.com to find a start-up which offers good potential.
The problem with investing in someone else’s business though, is that you’re not in control and you’ll only ever receive a small percentage of the profits that a business makes. If it turns out your business partners are more Del and Rodney than Jobs and Wozniak, you could find yourself relying on the lottery to become a millionaire.
A much better option is to have your own business and an easy way to start that is through platforms likes eBay, Amazon or even Etsy. Dropshipping companies have made becoming an online retailer easier than ever. They offer a wide range of stock for you to sell and they manage the shipping and returns of any items. All you have to do is research which items you want to sell, decide how much you’re going to mark them up and load them into your online store. Unlike a traditional shop, there’s no big upfront costs for storage space or for the stock itself so you can be up and running with a minimal amount of investment in no time at all. The top performing eBay shop in the UK last year pulled in monthly sales of nearly one and a half million pounds. That’s just shy of eighteen million pounds in one year alone without even having to change out of your pyjamas.
But if the idea of spending your days uploading stock photos on to eBay in your nightwear doesn’t appeal to you and you have a bit more to invest up front, there are other options. One of these is to buy the rights to sell a product from one country in another. Let’s say you’re on holiday in the US and you come across a particularly good product or an emerging trend that you think there’s a market for elsewhere. Do your research and see if it’s possible to buy the selling rights to the UK or wherever you think you can make it work as a viable business. Keep in mind though, a product being successful in one country doesn’t guarantee its success in another. Don’t let your holiday mindset cloud your judgement. The last thing you want is to wake up the day after your holiday with a bedroom full of Uncle Sam figurines.
If you’re not lucky enough to come across a “killer” product on your travels – you can always look at international franchise opportunities on the web. I spoke to a guy recently who acquired the UK rights to an American basement waterproofing product and he’s already turning over more than £2 million at high margins. And all because he sat on the committee of his local golf club and was asked to find a solution to the damp leaking into their basement! Buying the rights to sell a product in another country might not guarantee its success but it does provide you with a strong grounding to launch your business with a support network from the parent company to help it grow.
But if you don’t want to set up a business from scratch, even with someone else’s product, you can always buy an existing business. Distressed businesses, where the owners have either lost interest or don’t have the creativity or mindset to make it work, can be relatively inexpensive. Typically, owners of distressed business will be desperate to offload them and that puts you in a winning position when it comes to agreeing a purchase price. This is a more advanced strategy but it’s how I started with what is now the Elite Investor Club. Strong sales and marketing skills are the most important asset when it comes to turning a business around and if you want to truly scale your business, purchasing multiple businesses with similar or complimentary lines and centralising the back office and overheads is the way to go.
Investing in business of any type requires real commitment. It’s not just your money you’ll be putting on the table, but time, talent and energy. It’s not for everyone, but if you’ve got what it takes there’s no better route to real wealth that I know of. If you think you can remain a wage slave and achieve life changing financial success, be very careful out there.