There is a new wave or class of startup that is mounting in number and popularity.
These are some of the related questions I've received and read recently:
"How can I start a new on-line business using just my time and a bit of savings?
"I have an initial idea for a startup, but don't know how big it could be. Is there a way to try it out out without needing millions of dollars of venture capital?"
"How do we figure out how to make money by selling something simple, like an app, if we give it away?"
STARTING VIA FACEBOOK
Those are a few good questions that have a new solution, one that allows you to proceed without needing to make the effort into a major life changing event. The new wave is to launch via a simple Facebook page, using your experience there to figure out an unfair competitive advantage.
These are not ambitious game companies or apps sellers. They are businesses that will sell real things to real people.
Check out some company examples in this useful article: New York Times "Small Retailers Open Up Storefronts on Facebook Pages". These are startups run initally by one person who had a simple idea, created a Facebook page, tried selling things, changed, learned, modified and expanded from there.
Will they become the next Amazon or Facebook? Not likely.
Instead, they are expected to remain small businesses with revenue less than $100,000 per year.
That may sound small to you, but to others it is just right. Selling $40,000 per year of home baked cakes to 5,000 customers might be just the example you are looking for, one that can fit your time and savings budget. Small is not bad if that is what works for your lifestyle and income ambitions. This is a good Plan A for many small businesses. After it gets larger and larger, you can consider expanding to a web based business that delivers a "richer customer experience".
Plan B is to use the above cited modest beginning to work out the kinks and bends in your initial idea, shaping it into a modified business that will be "ready for prime time". Testing can be done low cost, quickly, thus allowing you to try out different versions of your service and products. Such "morphing" or "pivoting" is what real entrepreneurs do as they swiftly move from initial idea to something that begins to attract more and more paying customers ("getting traction"). Facebook will diminish as less and less important to making sales day after day as you grow.
I've written before about a special class of "spontaneous startups". This new class of enterprise also has special characteristics. Such an enterprise is ambitious in its vision for success yet is modest with its beginnings. Yours might fit this class of startup, and it could use the Facebook Page Startup as a place to try prototypes of what might be your prime time launch product or service. Spontaneous startups are also modest at first, but have a vast potential, some of them global in possible market size.
So consider what you might do to use a Facebook Page to begin your startup.
BOTTOM LINE: Testing your initial idea is wise as part of a process aimed at determining how large the business might become. Serial entrepreneurs do prototype testing and this is a fresh way of accomplishing that. Starting with a simple Facebook page lets you experiment at low cost in time and cash. Once sales start growing you'll have the luxury to choose how ambitious you might be with your (by then modified) new enterprise. Keep your eyes on eventually building an unfair competitive advantage. That will be central to your success, however large your business becomes.
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!