Getting started in business is never an easy road. Typically we are entering our new endeavour on a shoestring budget or trying to get business running while continuing as an employee in another company to be sure there is enough money to pay the bills. Not many startups have the benefit of being bankrolled by someone with an excess of cash. Especially not until they have proved they are viable. So why do we decide to move away from stable employment into the topsy turvy world of Startups and SMEs. With the current business environment and the number of startups that actually do not survive the first year, surely you would need to be insane to jump into your own enterprise.
Some of us look at the challenge of commencing a Startup as being the necessary penance to be paid in order to make a difference to the current situation. When I started GBOS (www.gbos.com.au) , I had come from a career of working in Australian manufacturing. I had seen my particular industry sector wither and die in the new Global Marketplace and I had also seen and heard of the issues and problems that arose from embarking on a ill-prepared venture to offshore manufacturing.There was (and still is) a lot of propaganda surrounding the decision of some companies to manufacture offshore. Persistent quality issues fuelled this sentiment. Basically a lot of Australian companies were left in a situation where they had no viable option. Domestic manufacture was too expensive to be viable but offshore manufacture was too unreliable to be an alternative.
There needed to be another alternative for these struggling industries. We did not need another company offering to move manufacturing offshore (although this was the original concept for the business). We needed an option where we could manufacture offshore without the quality and understanding problems. As is sometimes the case when you are trying to start something new, the idea you have for your business becomes distilled and refined over time. You start to identify exactly where you offer a difference to the rest of the market, then you start to focus your marketing specifically on this area. Everything else becomes superfluous and irrelevant. The focus of GBOS became on minimizing and preventing non-conformances and quality issues encountered with offshore manufacturing. We became obsessed with specifications, both from the client and the transfer and understanding of these specifications to the factory. This is really the area where we add value. We can get it done and get it right in the shortest possible time. I started sharing insights into the industry and trying to dispel some of the mythology involved. Manufacturing offshore was not a venture into a dark foreboding territory that was doomed to failure unless you used a trading company or manufacturer representative. Most failures were due to the lack of specifications or lack of understanding not the business relationship. We also decided to assist in the decision making process and introduced a quick online build or buy analysis (www.gbos.com.au/index.php/buildorbuy) on our website to help companies make an informed decision before jumping to an offshore manufacturer. We are now advocates for informed manufacturing whether it be onshore or offshore and the control of non-conformances and quality issues.
While getting into a new startup has its own stresses and challenges and getting a reputation and market traction is often a long and arduous journey, the end result when you start to see success, even in small steps and see that your customers feel the money spent on your services was well worth the outcome they enjoyed, all of the financial and personal stresses getting there become worthwhile.