December 17, 2020
One of the most interesting concepts in business that's been getting some light as of late is the idea of "Micro Businesses". The concept shares some of the same intriguing similarities to the growingly popular "Micro Homes" and "Micro Offices" in that they require a typically lower cost to develop and are seemingly more achievable alternatives to the traditional home, office, or in this case, small business.
A Micro Business is simply a more streamlined, low overhead small business. They possess the same inherent ability to grow and scale, but require less upfront cost, less staff, and often less development before they're ready to launch. Many sources have opposing thoughts on what exactly differentiates a Micro from a Small Business. Often stats like total yearly revenue or number of staffed employees are used to draw distinction, but we humbly believe there's more too it than numbers.
Many have heard or used the phrase "Side Hustle", referring to a project or commitment that operates coincidentally with their main source of income. The very nature of Side Hustles are that they are a secondary revenue source. Contrast to small businesses, which require a surmountable commitment level and are often the main source of income for several staff. Micro Businesses are the cost and time efficient, middle sibling.
Those capable of converting a skillset into revenue as either a pastime or a full-time position can be considered an operator of a Micro Business. Artists, craftsmen, designers, developers, trainers, influencers and proprietors alike can produce a product/products based on a skill they already possess. Thus, the research and development time before launching is quite low. Micro Businesses operated by one or few people can spend less time on people/business management and more time on creating and distributing a low-cost product.
The success of a Micro Business depends on what you're looking to achieve. Some use Micro Businesses as a funnel for alternative income, while others invest more time and money to maintain a full-time position as an entrepreneur. The benefit of a Micro Business is it's malleability to not run you dry of cash and time. The fluid nature of Micro Businesses can allow you to maintain other income while you're building the business, but also allows you to create a steady cashflow if you're willing to provide the time and execution to go full-time. "Success" in this case can be broken into two elements, more time/freedom vs more money.
Imagine it like a "Micro Home" or "Tiny House" as they're often referred to as. If you appreciate the compact comfort of a smaller home and prefer the financial freedom of a reduced cost of living, then they're a great alternative to a typical home. If you live in a Micro Home to keep costs low temporarily while you focus on obtaining and saving more money, then Micro Homes can be used as an asset. The same concept applies to managing a Micro Business to achieve your goals.
Micro Businesses rely heavily on fast, easy production and low overhead. Finding the proper tools and platforms to run your Micro Business is critical. Digital alternatives to paper and physical resources are big winners. As always, taking advantage of "Free" options where possible and ultimately limiting your expenses is important to keep your Micro Business flexible.
- Free and cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Office that allows you to create and store documents and spreadsheets.
- A modern, simplistic email and newsletter marketing tool that can automate email campaigns.
- Free, easy to use form and survey builder with a sortable customer database.
- Fast and secure channel based messaging platform that simplifies team communication and file sharing.
Micro Businesses are perfect for those looking to get their feet wet into entrepreneurship but don't have the expendable cash or time to commit from the beginning. For more information on Micro Business and to learn about real life success stories, take a look a the terrific book by Chris Guillebeau, "The $100 Startup".