Like many of the other people here, I've been thinking about what kind of business to start. I seem to be stuck though and I'm wondering if other people often get stuck here too.
When you look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs out there, they seem to have mostly started at the bottom somewhere and worked their way into a market and then eventually scaled their way up until they had something substantial. So what does their evaluation criteria look like when exploring business ideas and opportunities? Maybe at the beginning, when they were exploring the different ideas and opportunities for their first successful business, they figured out how to see things a certain way. Then in the future when they start other ventures maybe it comes naturally to them, or maybe it came to them naturally the first time too. Im wondering whether it's a natural skill, knowing what idea to start on, or whether they learned that somehow. They look at the market, the potential profitability of an idea, the scalability of the idea, whether they can finance it, whether they have the skills and aptitudes to accomplish what they want to do but what else? Do they really see all of these things right at the start? It seems like they do and it seems like they must.
I know I want to build a business myself, but maybe I'm so caught up in thinking about finding the perfect idea that I'm having trouble narrowing it down to one thing and actually making it happen. I know that a person might not know if something is worthwhile until they actually try and see where it leads them, but at the same time I know that successful entrepreneurs didn't just go with every idea that they came up with. Somewhere in there they evaluated their options and looked for opportunities and at some point they had that "ah-ha moment" and started making things happen. I think a lot of people might get stuck at this idea searching stage and just give up or be stuck here for way longer than they have to be.
Many of the popular non-fiction entrepreneurial books out there have a chapter or two about finding a business idea but then they quickly move onto the other stuff that's mostly relevant to people who have moved beyond that stage. Usually the chapter talks about the same types of things that some people have already mentioned in similar threads. They talk about listing your interests, finding your passions, and then trying to make a go at turning those passions into profits. Then on the flip side I've read other books that talk about how your passions might not necessarily translate into a profitable or personally rewarding businesses. So what's the right way to look at it then?
Do you have to come up with something nobody has ever done before? There seems to be a balance between the extremes of creating a revolutionary new product or invention for an existing market and on the other end doing something similar to everyone else in a market that's already saturated by many competitors. Then you have to think about the fact that you have to get into a market with a lower barrier of entry, because at this stage we're not multi-millionaires with business opportunities of a different league available to us. Beyond financial barriers there are certain ideas that require necessary skills and aptitudes that play a role in whether you can actually turn that idea into a reality. You might be someone with a great idea for a web startup company, but unless you're tech savvy or have a tech savvy business partner willing to do much of the tech legwork, then it seems that you're out of luck. Usually there are also big companies firmly planted into the markets with low barriers of entry and as a result these big guys have distribution advantages, economies of scale, promotion and advertising advantages and the ability to see the potential in your idea and copy it themselves, stomping you out of the market just as things are getting good. As a result we have to start with a type of business with a low barrier to entry and usually those are businesses where the markets are already saturated with many big and small players. So the only way to do it is to find a market that has a low enough barrier to entry that a newbie entrepreneur can fit their way in and then differentiate. So what to do then? It seems that somehow you have to do something that other people haven't done or haven't done well enough. Maybe you have to something that the big guys wouldn't be interested in or flexible enough to do. Maybe you have to come up with a unique proprietary feature, target a niche, or meet the needs of a specific type of customer better than the competitors.
Is it really important to have a perfect idea before starting anything? It would seem that the answer is no, but then where is the borderline between an idea that is worth pursuing and an idea that is worth leaving behind?
What do you think?