You`re right Craig, the old chicken & egg question... and does it matter? I think not, but that`s just me.
In fact, deciding what to sell is strictly a personal choice... but is HAS TO BE based on a known market. You find out what that is by ASKING QUESTIONS in all the right places. From census data to asking your neighbors - and everywhere else in between. OR - it could be as simple as going to the flea markets, downtown stores & malls and seeing what people ARE ACTUALLY BUYING!
For me, in my first real business - it was as a specialty jewelry manufacturer/retailer. That decision was for several reasons...
One: I saw that folks were buying a LOT of jewelry, especially really nice stuff that was affordable. There was a significant market, which I segmented by observation to determine the precise niche I would enter. In my case, at that time, it was sterling silver jewelry, and in particular, the high-quality, hand-crafted (or appearing to be) market. (Note: This segment also allowed the largest profit margins at both wholesale & retail too!)
Two: I was trained as a kid (thanks Grandpa!) for silversmithing, so this was a "natural" for me... and I did start by selling silver jewelry I had made (mostly from recycled silver US coins - exactly what I made was determined by customer demand - AKA: What sold well!); then expanded slowly as I added things made by friends that sold as well (or better!); eventually moving up to fast-moving, superior quality items made by the main domestic jewelry manufacturers. As the finances & opportunities presented themselves, I expanded even further afield - MUCH further... allowing me to retire both early and large. :-)
Not too bad for a kid with a `borrowed ten-dollar bill` to start-up with (thanks Grandma!) - with total self-funding all along the way.
So, in my case it comes down to: Start in a general area you have some interest, qualifications and/or experience; seek valid opportunities within that field as they come along; and remain flexible enough to change and/or expand... growing at each step along the way - as you can afford it.
If I were asked for the one trait most important... that would be persistence in the face of impending failure. You only lose when you finally give up - if the idea was a valid one to start with! Know when to hold on, and when to change tactics... all based on having a good strategic plan.
- General Manager,
The Entrepreneur Group on MSN
OldNikko11/13/2007 2:59 PM
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