Credit: Jenny Wise, Freelance Writer
Date: February 15, 2019

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

With all the online resources available to business owners today, there has never been a better time to start a business. And when you have a disability, bypassing the limitations of a traditional job and doing your own thing could be all it takes to experience productivity and profit. So, if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, consider starting your own business with these seven steps.

Consider Your Options
The first thing you want to do is think about your work environment. Many people with disabilities buy a franchise or open a start-up in a standalone establishment. While these may work best for certain types of businesses (restaurants, coffee shops, etc.), one big advantage of the internet is that you can start countless types of businesses from your home. For instance, e-commerce — which refers to selling products online — is steadily growing in popularity. Fortunately, there are many guides online that can guide you through the process of starting an e-commerce business, from planning to execution.

Research Funding Options
There are several government loans and grants available at the state and federal level to help people with disabilities start a business. Start by looking into your state’s Department of Labor/Commerce to see if any incentives are available. Also, Ticket to Work is a program that helps those with disabilities live more independently and assists them with starting businesses.

Look into Drop shipping
E-commerce is a booming industry, and one of the most popular models being used in the e-commerce marketplace is drop shipping. This is because it’s a highly efficient model that cuts down upfront investment costs significantly and eliminates the need for you to keep physical inventory. Basically, with drop shipping, you find suppliers that have products you want to sell. Then, you put whatever items you want in your online store. When a customer places an order, you order the purchased products from the supplier, who ships the products to the customer.

Make Your Product Special
Even with the advantages that come with e-commerce, you need to do something to make your products stand out. This is perhaps easier to do if you are crafting a handmade product such as jewelry, clothing, or crafts because each item will have a personal touch that you can market. However, if you’re running a store from your home and using drop shipping, you will need to think of other ways to stand out from the other companies doing the same.

Prioritize Service
No matter what kind of business you start, customer service should be a top priority — possibly even before your product. Providing exceptional service will help your company stand out, especially in an e-commerce and drop shipping setting. It will build customer trust and inspire repeat customers because many customers care more about being treated right than they do price. Plus, if you build a business around service, you can build your brand awareness.

Discover Your Customer Base
Finding your customers is a difficult task. Having a unique product and/or great service will naturally help build your customer base. Of course, if you want to go to the next level, marketing must be a priority. There are many budget-friendly ways to market your company and build your name. Here are a few of them:

  • Collaborate with other non-competing businesses on products, services, promos, etc.
  • Network everywhere you go.
  • Utilize email marketing.
  • Always have a special, coupon, or promo going on.
  • Offer occasional giveaways via email and social marketing.

Build a Good Website
Your website is also a big part of your marketing strategy to gain customers, and it’s now easier than ever to create a sufficient website on a budget. Along with having overall appeal, it’s essential for your website to be easy to navigate and mobile-friendly. Even if your primary store is through a major e-commerce website like Etsy or Amazon, you should make sure it looks professional by proofreading and regularly updating your products and photos.

If you have the desire and energy to start your own business, a disability doesn’t have to hold you back. Following these steps will help to give you a good start. Take advantage of the time you live in and go out there and start the company of your dreams!

Photo Credit: Pexels