There are many great businesses you can start that are focused on helping others. But, perhaps the greatest gift is the gift of self-reliance. Survivalist companies are springing up everywhere. If you’ve ever wondered whether this is the niche for you, here’s how to tell.
You Know A Lot About Survival
How much do you really know about survival? Be honest. If you’re just getting into this game, starting a business might not be the greatest idea. You don’t want to sell ideas, products, and services that don’t work.
This niche tends to be highly educated, believe it or not, and a sophisticated crowd that understands when they’re being conned. So, the first step is to make yourself competent as a survivalist, if you’re not already.
That means taking up hunting or going on survivalist trips a la Les Stroud. Once you’ve acquired something resembling survival skills, you’re ready to sell what actually works, because you’ll know what actually works (and, more importantly, what doesn’t).
For example, you should be able to make your own fire with a variety of tools, and without much of anything at all. Sure, it’s nice to have matches, but there are situations where this isn’t possible. You should be well-versed in how to use flint and steel as well as two dry sticks and a shoelace.
Most modern survival situations, however, will afford you some technological conveniences. A Faraday flashlight, a foldaway tent, a fire-starting kit, non-potable water filter, and rations are all good things to have in a bug out bag.
Know which items out there in the marketplace are the best, source those items, and make them available to the public.
You’re a Business Person
Experts, like 4Patriots LLC partner Allen Baler, have a long track record in business. Baler helped found 4Patriots LLC, located in Tennessee. It’s a survivalist-based website that sells food and other products that cater to that niche.
But, Baler has a strong educational background too. He graduated from Harvard with honors and worked 14 years as an executive at Easton press and the Danbury Mint.
That gave him the expertise to run a business of his own. Is this the level of expertise you need? No, but it helps. If you’ve never run a company before, it might be helpful to find yourself a business coach or mentor – someone who has run a business before, and has the experience under his or her belt.
They will be an invaluable resource.
Decide How You Will Operate – Online or Traditional Retail
Do you operate online or as a traditional retail store? There’s a certain kind of romanticism of operating as a small business owner – a retail store that takes only cash. It’s just part of the way the community thinks.
At the same time, operating online has its advantages. You can sell more, streamline your operations, and help more people. Operating an online business also means that you’re able to diversify your sales so that you, yourself, don’t get caught in a survivalist situation, economically speaking.
If you do run a retail store, the most important factor for you will be location. You’ll want to set up shop in an area where you’re most likely to get a lot of business. This probably means you won’t be doing business in New York City, but rather the midwest or the south.
If you do business online, you’ll want to take additional precautions as far as security is concerned. Don’t buy cheap hosting – get the best hosting that you can afford, ideally hosting with a company that offers hardened server security and a firewall for the website.
Companies, like Liquid Web, tend to offer these types of services, but there are others out there that also provide this type of service and will manage the technical details of the site so that you don’t have to.
Should you accept just cash, cash and credit, or alternative payments, like gold and Bitcoin?
Keep in mind the psychology of your market. Unlike other markets, you might actually get more business if you trade your goods in gold and silver. It’s an unusual form of payment, for sure, but one that’s more acceptable in the survivalist niche than most other niches.
Bitcoin is also a popular alternative, both for its privacy and transparency, but also because it’s growing as a serious alternative payment method in certain online circles. Credit card payments, of course, are something you should strongly consider too, since most everyone pays with some form of plastic these days, especially online.
About the author: Allen Baler is a Partner at 4Patriots LLC, a Tennessee based small business that provides products to help people be more self-reliant and more independent. Allen founded the company in 2008 after 14 years as a corporate executive leading profitable business for the Easton Press and the Danbury Mint. He graduated with honors from Harvard University and resides in Nashville with his wife and 3 daughters.
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