“Where your talents and the needs of the world intercept, there lies your vocation.”
Hey guys! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Well, I did. I could tell you about it but not here. We have other pressing issues to look at here.
In recent times, I’ve come across people whom in the course of discussion told me stuff like, “I really don’t know which business to do” or “I have some capital but I have no ideas”. Maybe you are one of such people. It’s OK, there’s nothing to be shy about now. Starting a business can be a very scary and tough process and the pressure of getting a brilliant idea doesn’t make it any less scary.
However, getting a good idea for a business does not have to be so intimidating. All it takes is a little patience and inner reflection. In this article, I will be guiding you through a number of steps to choose the perfect business idea. Now before we start, I want to let you know we will be doing a lot of writing, so please get a pen and a note and some space. Yes. I really want you to do that. Right now. I’m waiting right here.
You back? OK, let’s get in.
#1. WHY DO YOU WANT TO DO BUSINESS?
Business can be tough. Incredibly tough. Sometimes it gets so bad, all you want to do is pack up and go back to 9-to-5ville. I get it. This is why it is extremely important that you answer this question before anything else. Like for real, why do you want to do a business? Is it for the returns? The freedom? To save the world? To contribute to it? To solve a problem? To spite your boss (Yes, that could be a reason)? Your propelling reason for running a business must be fully defined before you go any further, because in the long run, when things toughen up, this reason is the only thing that will keep you going.
I strongly advise that this reason should not just be money. Pen it down.
#2. WHAT ARE YOUR PASSIONS?
Do you still remember the opening quote in this article? Good. The word ‘talents’ there spans widely across several things and one of them is your passion. Passion has been defined by Google as ‘a strong and barely uncontrollable emotion’. Pretty strong definition right! Well it’s true though. Every human (even abnormal ones) have something they can never take their mind off of. Everyone’s heart is fixated at something.
Create a column and title it ‘Passions’. What is that thing for you? Are they more than one? What is that thing that you have never really been able to sweep under the carpet? Is it the education of ignorant minds? Music? Food? Charity? There are over a billion things that pass as passion. What is yours? Mine includes music, cooking, enlightening and empowering minds and perfection, just in case anyone needed an example. Write your passion on this column.
#3. WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT?
Now, you know what you can’t let go of. Next step is to get a record of what you know and what you can do (eh, I hope someone is still writing). Draw up a second column and call this one ‘Skills’. What skills have you been able to acquire throughout life? What knowledge have you acquired through school or some other platform? Basically, this is a question of what can you do easily with your hands and head with little or no supervision? Write them ALL down. As many as they are. It doesn’t matter if you are as versatile as a Transformer robot. Really. Just write.
#4. WHAT KIND OF BUSINESSES DO YOU LIKE?
Create a third column. Name it ‘Business Interests’.
Humans are very emotional creatures, as much as we try to hide and fight it. Naturally we have choices, in almost everything. Business is not excluded. Have you ever walked down the road and saw some shop and was like ‘I will like to do that’? Or probably saw a friend doing some activity and got hooked right off? Yes that’s what I’m talking about. You can never do all businesses and you cannot progress in any that doesn’t interest you. So, what are those business types that get your juices flowing? What can you imagine yourself doing? Pen that or those down under the new column.
#5. HOW DO #2, #3 AND # 4 COME TOGETHER?
I assume you have been doing some writing. No? Go back to #1. Now! The rest of you, let’s continue.
If you look at the note in your hand, you’ve listed three distinct categories that apply to you. The next move is to harmonize them all. The format is this, ‘what passion do I have, that I’ve developed a skill for and has my interest business-wise?‘. The answer to this is/are your business idea(s). Let me illustrate. Say I have a passion for food and I have learnt cooking over time, then there is this restaurant that got me really interested in the food business, that would sum up into an idea for a restaurant.
Yes, it’s that easy. Alright, your turn. Go ahead, take your time. I’ll wait. Remember to write it out.
#6. IS THIS SOMETHING YOU SEE YOURSELF DOING FOR THE NEXT 15 YEARS?
15 years is a really long time, trust me. But you have to be ready to have some foresight. It’s time to reflect again. The idea you just came up with probably sounds like the best thing ever, right? Hold up a bit. Do you think it will still be the best thing ever in the next 15 years?
All businesses start rough. Well, most. Are you ready to sit through those initial 5 – 8 years of struggling to get on your feet? Are you ready to forsake all other ventures and chase this one thing? No? No problems. Just go back to #5 and go over the process again. However, if you are all in, let’s move on.
#7. DOES IT HELP YOU ACHIEVE THE PURPOSE CREATED AT #1?
So you are ready to give up the next 15 years of your life in the pursuit of one that one idea huh? Great. But is it worth it?
Does it meet your ultimate business goal? Does it help you get to where you want to be in life? It’s important to check this, else, you might be embarking on a wild goose chase. So, does it? No? OK we are going back to #5. I like this process. It reminds me of something in programming called iteration. Please don’t ask. I don’t want to go there. Anyway, if your answer was yes, turn the page please. Next step.
#8. TEST THE IDEA.
This is the first non-question move we’ll be making. Phew! Finally we are here. You still have to pay as much attention though or even more.
Now it seems your idea is the best. Actually it is. From your view. How about from the other, more important view? What’s that I hear you say? Yes, there’s a view that is more important than yours. The market’s view. Does your idea stand in the market? Does it resonate with the minds and (ultimately) pockets of people. Will your idea be frowned at or warmly received by the world? There’s just one way to know. Push it out of the house. Yeah, do. Send it out there. Let people interact with your idea. I know it’s not fully formed yet. That’s why we are sending it on a TEST, OK? This is not the real thing just yet.
In the time it is going to be out, gather as much feedback as possible. Is it in demand? Is it viable? Will you survive at a certain rate? Who will be your target market? Who interacts with your product/service most? Gather links, networks and as much feedback as you can. If the feedback you get is not good enough, go back to the drawing board. That’s #5 in case you are wondering. Iteration again. However, if you are on the right path, there is just one more question for you.
#9. DOES IT NEED LIGHT OR MASSIVE FUNDING?
Though this should not essentially stop you, it could stall you for a while. Based on your findings (#8), you need to determine how much your startup requires to comfortably start and run.
Hmph! We are already talking like real entrepreneurs – startup – I like that.
Some businesses require just a few thousands to set up. Some, a whole lot more. You have to decide which your startup falls under. If you need just a few thousands, source for it or plunge in if you have it. If it’s on a higher scale, here’s two things I suggest:
i. Look for investors and convince them on the viability of your business. Have a business plan handy for this kind of meet. However, a good idea will require minimal effort from you.
ii. Search for a like-minded partner(s) with complementary sets of skills and split costs. It’s important to get someone who sees the big picture but contributes with other skills. Once you have this underway, there’s just one more thing to do.
Yes. That is what you should do. Start it up immediately. No wait. Not immediately.
You need to have a business plan before you start if you don’t have one yet. A business plan is a document that gives the breakdown of what your business is, what it does and how it will do it. Not so difficult eh? Still some people get it wrong here.
You need to have a realistic business plan, to convince yourself, your partners, your investors, your staff and the market.
In the future, I will do an article on business plans. But for now, this is all there is to it.
So, get on with it. Brainstorm, reflect, plan. Do something until you achieve your freedom and emotional sanity.
So that’s it guys. Getting an idea for a business shouldn’t be hard anymore. However, if you feel I left anything out or you just want to tell your own idea generation story, please drop in the comment section.
And do remember to like and share this with your friends too.
See you Thursday.