The following is a guest post by Alex Genadinik.
Many people want to start their own business. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to know what kind of business is the right one to get into, and many people struggle because they feel that they do not have a good business idea. In this article, we will suggest how to think through starting a business and get ideas.
Keep in mind, some business ideas may or may not be well suited for some founding teams, or to certain points in time. Leveraging your strengths and getting the timing right can make quite a bit of difference.
Play to Your Strengths
First, think about your personal and professional strengths. Are you an engineer who can build high quality technical products? Are you good at sales? Are you well-connected? Are you a leader, or do you want to be one? Whatever your strengths are, try to align your strengths so that as the founder, you can bring more to the business, and give your venture a competitive edge.
Conversely, try to minimize your weaknesses. For example, if you are not technical, do not rush into businesses that require a lot of technical skills. You may do very well in that type of a business, but technical people will just have that skill as an advantage. If you can bring other advantages from your background, that would give you more of a chance to compete well.
Additionally, many businesses require substantial upfront capital. If you are not wealthy, and are not able to raise high amounts of capital, those businesses may not be best for you.
The great news is that everyone has strengths, so everyone can find a niche where they can give their business a competitive advantage. We are cheering for you!
A successful business typically stays in business for a number of years. Think about what it is that you want to do for many years, and what would make you happy. Conversely, try not to get into business areas that you may not enjoy or have any interest in, just for the money. If you end up working in a field that you do not enjoy, you may not find yourself being fulfilled, nor have the strength to make it through the difficult times of your business.
How Can You Improve the World?
While your business has to align with your interests and passions, keep in mind that the product or service is supposed to be for someone else so your business is much more for your customers than it is for you.
Your job is to find something you can do to make someone’s life better. If you do, that person can become your customer. You can solve someone’s problem, entertain them, teach them something, etc. You have to ultimately provide a great enough benefit to your customers so that they would be willing to pay you for your offering, and/or come back to use it again.
Once you have thought through a product or service that plays to your strengths, and can benefit someone or something in the world, what is the next step?
The next step is to see if your idea can become a viable product or service that people use, and then a company. After all, up to now, no matter how good of an idea you may have, it is still a concept and the next step is to gauge how to make it a reality.
Should You Keep Your Idea Secret?
Some people like to remain secretive about their ideas while others like to get feedback from as many people as possible.
The pros and cons are obvious. If you keep the idea a secret, you will get less feedback and have less chance to make progress as fast as you would if you had gotten more feedback. But you do gain the benefit of less people being able to steal your idea.
On the other hand, if you tell more people, you can get a broader range of opinions from which to learn, and refine how you think about your idea.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you are eventually successful, there will be hundreds of people who will be stealing your ideas and competing directly against you because all your ideas and products will be available to the public, so having your idea eventually copied, is just natural and inescapable. One of your best defenses will always be to out-compete your competition.
Plan for a Complete Strategy
Once you have a good idea, take a bigger picture view. For example, you may have a good idea for a product, but how easy or difficult will it be to market and sell that product? Or will it make money easily or will that be an uphill battle? Or will the business need lots of money to get started, and can you raise that money? These are all things to think through. They have align with the product. It should be clear how to create the product, market it, sell it, and make money from it at sufficient scale that will help you reach your goals for your company.
Alex Genadinik is an experienced entrepreneur and a software developer. He made the the business planning and coaching app to help fellow entrepreneurs not make many of the common mistakes, and get a great start with their businesses.