Don’t knock the one-person dream business

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US postage stamp of 1968 depicting Walt Disney
US postage stamp of 1968 depicting Walt Disney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people like to take sideswipes at the one-person entrepreneurs dream. It’s easy for an executive in a large and successful conglomerate corporation to knock the little guy but the truth is that they wouldn’t be in these big positions if it wasn’t for the initial one person who sowed the seed for the business.

Yes, it’s true that the one-person entrepreneur may perhaps lack the expertise to scale up their business or not even have the best start-up model when starting out. It’s not for nothing that the dropout rate of small businesses runs close to 80% in the first year of operation.

But with the right experience and outside expertise entrepreneurs these days can easily find an experienced business adviser or retired business people to help them develop their revenue model, business model, start-up model and operational model to realise their dream.

The start-up or entrepreneur’s dream is not exactly a road well trodden. Well-meaning family, friends and associates can think you might have lost your marbles if you say to them that you want to start something of your own. The tried-and-true safe and secure model of working for others gets no such derision but can land up so easily in being fired or retrenched. Rather than scoffing at entrepreneurial dreams shouldn’t we be celebrating the entrepreneurial dreamers?

No one can really claim that they have the key to start-up business models. The market and business environment is just too dynamic for that. Just think about the many small entrepreneurs that have defied traditional or conventional start up and other business models and have made a huge success. Fred Smiths’s idea for FedEx was considered to be radical for its day back in the early 70s. Now overnight delivery services have mushroomed all around the world.

Many of the companies that top executives manage were actually started because of a one-person entrepreneurs dream and the success they had in developing the start-up model and taking their business to scale. The one-person entrepreneur’s dream provides the rich seeds for possibility in any community or economy.

I was reminded about the grass roots potential of business ideas recently went I visited a town and saw a small restaurant known as Burger Mania. The owner of the restaurant was walking towards the front entrance of his business at about 10:30 in the morning and I asked him if we could get two coffees. He was carrying about four shopping bags in his hand and explained that he could only open his business at 12 o’clock in the afternoon because the previous night had wiped him out of stock. I said we only wanted two takeaway coffees. He said there was no problem and he quickly arranged for them to be made for us. Here is a small burger business in a market that is highly competitive yet this one-person entrepreneur’s dream is flourishing because he is providing excellent food to his customers with a personalised service that you can’t get at any of the goliath institutionalised fast food restaurants.

I can go on and on with small one-person entrepreneur’s dreams from a roadside stall operator along the N1 who has been running her roadside business for more than seven years and is flourishing and a local butchery in a town where most butchers have gone to the wall running two small butcheries with superb meat products.

How do you create a winning business idea? How do you keep your one-person entrepreneur’s dream alive?

If you believe you have something that will help or serve other people and provide them value, then don’t throw your dream away. Hang on to it. Stay with it. If you can’t develop it yourself, get someone to help you. Do some research on this website for information on content that will help you get there. Search the Internet. Speak to a business adviser. Don’t give up.

The one-person business may well be started by an entrepreneurial dream but one wonders what how different things might have been had we not had dreamers like Walt Disney, Col Saunders and the McDonald’s brothers.

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