houston voices

University of Houston research: When's the best time to start a business?

University of Houston's The Big Idea highlights the three things to consider when starting a business. Graphic byMiguel Tovar/University of Houston

Have you ever thought about opening your own business, but you didn’t know when to do it? Maybe you’ve heard the phrase: “the best time to start a business is today.” Is this actually good advice?

Yaro Starak, entrepreneur, blogger and podcaster, answers this question on his blog. Starak highlights three things aspiring entrepreneurs should do first when they decide to open a business.

What to do today:

1. Get prepared 

Starak believes there is some truth to the statement that starting a business today is the best time because it focuses on action and “to take action, means you need to be prepared to do so.”

He says that once you start your business you’ve, at least, taken a step towards being prepared because chances are, you’ll never have the right timing in the beginning. “By starting now, you begin the process of learning and putting in place resources that, in time, will lead you to be prepared for taking advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself,” Starak said.

2. Start building resources

“Whether you succeeded or failed, or pivot to something else, you’re always gaining experience, learning from mistakes, and building resources for your next project, whether they be financial (or capital), mental or skill-based resources,” Starak said. This is why today is the best day to start a business because everything that you do, once you get started, will contribute to you gathering the necessary resources and experiences that will help your business to excel.

3. Start building an audience

Starak believes that, just like the self-help books suggest, “the best asset to work on is yourself,” but that shouldn’t be all you focus on. “Even if you’re not sure if you intend to sell coaching, courses, write books or sell services or software or physical products, your audience is the door to taking advantage of all new opportunities… No attention, means no customers,” Starak said.

According to Starak, marketing and sales are the two most important skills to work on in order to be prepared to start a business. He suggests that aspiring business owners should learn how to use internet resources to post content in order to reach people and build their audience. Then they can use that content to advertise and sell.

What's the big idea?

Now is always the best time to start a new business because even if you’re not quite sure what it’s going to be yet, you can get yourself prepared, start building resources and start building an audience.

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This article originally appeared on the University of Houston's The Big Idea. Cory Thaxton, the author of this piece, is the communications coordinator for The Division of Research.

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Building Houston

 
 

With Clutch, connecting brands with creators has never been easier and more inclusive. Photo courtesy of Clutch

An app that originally launched on Houston college campuses has announced it's now live nationwide.

Clutch founders Madison Long and Simone May set out to make it easier for the younger generation to earn money with their skill sets. After launching a beta at local universities last fall, Clutch's digital marketplace is now live for others to join in.

The platform connects brands to its network of creators for reliable and authentic work — everything from social media management, video creation, video editing, content creation, graphic design projects, and more. With weekly payments to creators and an inclusive platform for users on both sides of the equation, Clutch aims to make digital collaboration easier and more reliable for everyone.

“We’re thrilled to bring our product to market to make sustainable, authentic lifestyles available to everyone through the creator economy," says May, CTO and co-founder of Clutch. "We’re honored to be part of the thriving innovation community here in Houston and get to bring more on-your-own-terms work opportunities to all creators and businesses through our platform.”

In its beta, Clutch facilitated collaborations for over 200 student creators and 50 brands — such as DIGITS and nama. The company is founded with a mission of "democratizing access to information and technology and elevating the next generation for all people," according to a news release from Clutch. In the beta, 75 percent of the creators were people of color and around half of the businesses were owned by women and people of color.

“As a Clutch Creator, I set my own pricing, schedule and services when collaborating on projects for brands,” says Cathy Syfert, a creator through Clutch. “Clutch Creators embrace the benefits of being a brand ambassador as we create content about the products we love, but do it on behalf of the brands to help the brands grow authentically."

The newly launched product has the following features:

  • Creator profile, where users can share their services, pricing, and skills and review inquiries from brands.
  • Curated matching from the Clutch admin team.
  • Collab initiation, where users can accept or reject incoming collab requests with brands.
  • Collab management — communication, timing, review cycles — all within the platform.
  • In-app payments with a weekly amount selected by the creators themselves.
  • Seamless cancellation for both brands and creators.
Clutch raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Precursor Ventures, Capital Factory, HearstLab, and more. Clutch was originally founded as Campus Concierge in 2021 and has gone through the DivInc Houston program at the Ion.

Madison Long, left, and Simone May co-founded Clutch. Photo courtesy of Clutch

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