What sort of business do you want?
Summer is now at an end, at least for many in Europe. Academic terms are beginning again, and for some school or university students it’s time to decide what subjects you are going to study, or in the case of those with a desire to launch a business, it’s time to decide exactly what sort of business it will be.
Recharged and refreshed from the summer break, you may have spent hours baking in the sun while pondering the business idea that’s been rolling around at the back of your mind. If it’s the same idea you thought about last year, why have you not yet taken the steps to turn your ambition into action? Life and business take time, but you need to find more time to spend on your business idea if it’s ever going to get off the ground.
If you don’t already have an idea of what to do, but you simply know you no longer want to be anyone’s employee, then you have to find ways of getting some inspiration for the idea which will spark you into action. That’s not easy, and everyone has their own key idea which is best suited to them. But don’t take too long on trying to invent the next big thing, because as I’ve written about before, the most successful businesses very rarely invent, they innovate. Innovation takes an existing idea and does it better. You can do the same. Business success is more dependent on the implementation or execution of an idea, rather than the idea itself: unless it’s a very bad idea!
Where can you find inspiration for your ideas? Firstly, think about what skills you have and what you enjoy doing. It’s difficult to be in a business you don’t enjoy. Then do something different. Involve yourself in an activity you have never tried before. Read magazines, books or articles about subjects you would not usually take any interest in. The act of thinking differently often encourages more creative thinking. This is one of the basic steps described by Martin Amor and Alex Pellew in their very useful idea primer book published by Penguin Books, “The Idea in you”.
If you would prefer to work with someone else in developing their ideas, there are some useful online resources for founders seeking fellow founders to collaborate with. Use your common sense and gut instinct in deciding for yourself if the ideas you find on these sites are good ones or just dreams, but there are some opportunities in them for all kinds of entrepreneurs. Three of my favourites are: CoFoundersLab; Founder2Be ; and Founders-Nation
There’s another route you could take, and it mainly involves taking no advice, but sticking to something you have a passion for, you know is right, and will work in the end. A very interesting Scottish company called BrewDog was founded in this way by two friends with almost no capital in 2007. They now have a business with a turnover of £50 million. In his eye-opening book “Business for Punks” , published by Penguin Books, co-founder James Watt describes his rejection of the status quo and the established ways of launching businesses. The approach he promotes includes having no business plan, no advisers, no focus on gaps in the market, no traditional sales methods, no networking, and no compromise on price. Instead, BrewDog’s success is built with a total focus on: business culture; the quality of the core offering, and gross margin. It’s certainly been a successful approach for BrewDog.
To realise your ambition to be a founder of a successful business you need to have an idea which ignites a spark in you, an approach which is right for you, and be prepared for much more hard work and commitment than you ever thought would be needed. But when you create that business, it’s yours, and the feeling of having done it is priceless.