There’s a billion posts out there on the “must-have” tools you need to start a business and the “essential” traits of an entrepreneur…

…and they’re basically BS.

You don’t need 53 fancy webapps. You don’t need to find your passion (where do you look, anyway? Under the bed?). You don’t need to learn about social media.)

Build your business from the bottom, up – from the foundation.

Here’s what you really need.

Exhaustive List of Business Essentials #

Ready? Here you go:

1) A way to find customers
2) An offer

That’s it.

Once you can find people and convince them to give you money, you are in business.

It’s only after that point that you need to worry about delivering on your offer, and only after having made several sales should you even consider things like your business name, logo, and legal structure. Those things are accessory to the primary function of a business, which is:

Sell a thing to a customer

I used to have a third component on this list…

3) A way to receive payment

…but with tools like PayPal so ubiquitous, it’s not really a barrier to entry for much of anybody anymore. If you’re doing business in person, cash is great. If you’re online, use PayPal to get started – move to a more sophisticated setup later on.

Two Ways to Proceed #

1) If you already have a business (e.g., you fulfill the two requirements above), work on improving it. Refine your offer, build systems to fulfill your offer, source more leads, etc.

2) If you have not yet sold a thing to a customer, then you need to get cracking finding customers and describing (not necessarily making… yet) things. Your goal is to make five transactions.

In either case, the two essential components are fundamental to everything else. If you are ever stuck in your business, revisit them in order:

1) Your customers (who they are, what they need, where to find them, etc.) and…

2) Your offer (what you’re selling, how you deliver it, how much it costs, etc.)

Step One and Step Two.

You can solve many business problems simply by returning to the foundation of your business and finding where you’ve left a hole of some sort.

Get started. Now.


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