Getting back to basics: coming up with a good idea.

In my last post, I went back to the start, to figure out if being an entrepreneur was the right decision for you. So, did you complete the homework? If your answer was “I’ve already read that book 5 times”, then I think I know what your decision is going to be.

Now that you’ve decided that being an entrepreneur is the right path for you, what’s next? Well, just making up a business card that says Entrepreneur isn’t going to bring in a lot of money. You’re going to need to come up with an idea for a business.

For many of you, that’s going to be a business doing what you’re already doing. If you are currently employed as a web designer, you’ll probably open your own web design shop. If you’re working as an electrician, then you’re more than likely going to open YourName Electrical Ltd.. In those cases, your journey is a bit easier.

What about the rest of you? Maybe you’re a teacher, or a firefighter. Although I’m no expert, I’m pretty sure running an independent fire department out of your home would be a bad idea. Hopefully you’ve already got other skills and interests that could translate into a profitable business. The important word there is profitable. Just having a skill does not mean you can turn it into a successful small business. There are many factors that will determine what will and what won’t succeed. No matter how good you are at outdoor ice sculptures, if you live in Phoenix, you may need to rethink your plan.

My advice for you is to start searching out companies who offer services similar to your interests and skills. Pretend like you’re trying to find a job in that industry, and see what turns up. Are there businesses in your area doing the same thing? Is there room for your new business? What could you do to make your idea stand out?

Take your time on this step. Having the right idea is, in my opinion, the most important step in the whole process. Really great ideas can stumble along the way, and still be successful. Just look at Google. How many products have they shipped with bugs and glitches, and yet still ended up being home runs?
This week’s homework.

Plan out your business. I don’t mean write out one of those ridiculous 200 page business plans. Make it simple. Do some research, and then put together a couple pages to outline your plan of attack.

Next time around, we’re going to talk about financing this great idea of yours.