I’ve created a number of successful businesses over the course of my career, some with seven and eight-figure earnings. As a result, a question I’m often asked is: “How do I develop a successful business idea of my own?” While this is, of course, easier said than done, I’ve been around the block as an entrepreneur long enough that I’ve collected some insights that I think can be helpful in this pursuit. Read on for a quick look at some helpful points of consideration for those starting their own businesses.
It’s said that those who don’t learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. I couldn’t agree more. I like to view history as a big testing ground for ideas. We can look to the past to see how people may have misstepped in their work and hopefully gain insights into how we can avoid those same mistakes. Additionally, we can look at some of the great successes in business history for helpful cues on how we can achieve similar success in our work.
To accomplish both of these ends, I’m a big fan of striving to be well-read. I’ve been reading books on business since my teenage years. When I first started, I was really interested in memoirs and biographical accounts of some of the most impactful business leaders in history. I also liked to read news sources and opinion pieces from current great minds in the field. You may want to devote some time each day to education using similar resources so that you can come away with a better understanding of key topics in business. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Look for problems
Business is, in a nutshell, about creating solutions for people. Daily life is full of a range of obstacles that get in the way of each of us accomplishing our goals. These can range in severity and impact but the common thread amongst these obstacles is that we’d like them to go away. Sometimes, we’re so motivated to have these problems go away that we look to the market to see if anyone’s figured out a way to solve them. If they have, and we can afford it, then we’ll buy their offerings. That’s commerce, distilled down.
So, if you’re seeking to start a new business, the first thing you need to know is what problem you’re going to set out to solve. To develop this, you need to start looking for problems. I think a great skill that entrepreneurs can build is to always have a low-level radar going that’s keeping an eye out for problems people are encountering throughout life. When you identify a problem, you can then ask: “Does this problem have an existing solution?” If it does, you may want to determine if you can solve it better, cheaper, faster, etc. If no solution currently exists, can you create one? Coming up with an answer to either of these questions can be the start of a successful business venture.
Focus on growth
Building a foundation for your business is important, but the work doesn’t stop there. Ideas are important and they can be the first step to a new venture, however, they likely won’t amount to much if you don’t put your own effort in to grow them to a more impactful size. That’s why growth is often such a point of emphasis in the business community. The more you can devote yourself to growing your business efforts, the more likely it may be that those efforts will amount to a significant enterprise down the line.
Starting a business is hard, there’s really no way around it. Any new endeavor is likely to take up a significant portion of your time and mental resources. Since, in success, your business will become a big part of your life, it can be important to develop your passion for your project along with the business itself. Find what really excites you about the idea and what it is about the undertaking that makes you want to devote your energy to it. If you’re having trouble finding that passion, it can provoke a broader question as to whether or not this is the right business endeavor for you.
Those are my base thoughts on some of the most important considerations for a novice entrepreneur. While these insights alone won’t be enough to get you to the finish line of business success, they can certainly be a good place to start. Give them thought on your own and consider ways in which you can incorporate them into your professional life.