Starting a business from scratch is a difficult prospect for anyone, but for those with disabilities there may be some extra hurdles in the way. Though business ownership is a way for the disabled to have more freedom and control in how they work (as opposed to traditional employment), there are some potential roadblocks and ways to improve the chances of the business’ success.
Consider, and even embrace your disability
Everyone has limitations when it comes to what kind of business they can start from the ground up. If you have no idea how computers work, you’re probably not going to succeed in a computer repair business or in freelance IT work. If you can’t string a few words together, you’re probably not going to want to set up a copywriting business. When it comes to disabilities, it’s just as important to know your limitations.
If you require the use of a wheelchair or a service dog, for instance, you may not want to start a business that requires you to frequently travel, or go to other people’s houses or places of business – simply due to accessibility issues. Embracing your disability isn’t weakness, it’s just business savvy.
Many people living with a disability find that starting a business that can be handled mostly from home, and online, is the smartest and most convenient way to go about things.
“The great thing is that with all of the powerful online small business tools that are available today, physical disabilities are less important than ever before in determining your productivity and profitability as a business owner,” notes Kabbage.com.
Don’t think you have to do it alone
When it comes to starting a small business, one of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to do it alone or, similarly, thinking they know everything. Just because you know a lot about your goods/products/services, it doesn’t mean you know about how to make it a successful business.
Do your research. Start with the US Small Business Administration’s various resources for disabled small business owners. If you need a business loan to get started, consider one of the many organizations that deals specifically with those with disabilities. You should seek out business mentors – those with disabilities who have started successful businesses. Get advice from people in your similar scenario who know how to run a company.
Use the internet as much as possible
Depending on your business, it’s possible that nearly all of your sales, promotion, and business correspondence will take place online. If your business is selling goods that you make, for instance, you’ll likely do most of that through Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Shopify, or some other site. If your business involves offering your professional skills to others in the form of public relations, consulting, tutoring, marketing, or something similar, you can likely do all of this from home if you so choose.
But no matter where your business resides – mostly online or brick and mortar – you’ll need to make use of all the tools the internet has to offer in terms of drumming up clients/customers and promoting your new business. Not only will you need to create a website and possibly an online storefront, but you’ll need to throw time (and money) into social media advertising. While traditional print, TV, and radio advertising can all work well for local businesses, if you want to move beyond your own town you’ll need the help of online advertising.
By being honest about your strengths and weaknesses, embracing modern technology as a means of promotion, branding, marketing, and even as your entire center for operations, and by seeking out advice and help from people familiar with the particular struggles of small business ownership as a disabled person, you can maximize your chances for success.