What’s the Perfect Business Idea for You?
You may be wondering if there is some business idea out there that would be just right for you to start and succeed in. Chances are there is! There is an almost unlimited number of great businesses out there that you could start. There are businesses that you can run part-time, businesses that are fun, businesses that allow you to express your creativity, businesses that you can start with very little money, and businesses that don’t require expertise or experience.
What would be the criteria to determine if the business would be perfect for you? I have often said that the key decision isn’t whether or not you go into business but other questions such as: “How much am I willing to invest in a business?” or “How much risk am I willing to take on?” Here are some of the key criteria that you might want to consider when starting a business:
1) Do you have or are you willing to learn the expertise needed to run the particular business? While this sounds like a consideration that would immediately eliminate most business ideas from consideration, it may not be as limiting as you think. For many small businesses, you can learn the expertise in a very short period of time. I have started dozens of businesses and I seldom have had any experience in the business until I started in and learned by doing. I think that too often people feel compelled to start a business that otherwise is not well suited for them just because they had some related experience.
2) Are you going to enjoy much of the day to day work in running the business? I think this is big deal. If you enjoy a business you are much more likely to do well at it. Chances are that you are going to have your business for a long time, so why not do something you enjoy. And there are a lot of fun business ideas out there. You could find a business that allows you to express your creativity. You could find a business that allows you to work outdoors. You could find a business that allows you to travel.
3) How much money are you willing to invest in the business? There are many businesses that you can start with very little money. In fact, most of my businesses I started with less than $2,000. But there are other business ideas that require much more money. You need to decide what amount you are comfortable investing in a business and then draw a line and not go beyond it.
4) How much business risk are you willing to take on? Not all businesses succeed. Some businesses will have a much higher chance of succeeding than others. An idea for a new unproven product or a product where you are competing against established national or international competitors will have significant risk. On the other hand, a local service business will generally have less risk. Furthermore, buying a well-established, profitable business will generally involve less chance of failure than launching a start-up, but buying a business will usually involve a larger investment.
5) How much upside potential do I need? There is often a trade-off between the upside potential of a business, the risk involved and the investment required. Where do you stand on this scale? Are you willing to put a lot of money into a relatively risky business if it offers the chance of a huge payoff?
6) How much time are you willing to invest in a business? I recommend that most people start their business part-time. Not just the planning phase but even when they open the doors of their business. Today there are many exciting businesses that can be operated part-time. Also, it can take longer than you think to get a new business up and running and to develop a solid base of customers.
By thinking about these criteria and applying them to business ideas that you are considering, you are much more likely to end up with a business that you will not only succeed at but also a business that you will enjoy.
Many people never sit down and meticulously think through their selection of which business to go into. They just tend to drift towards a particular business idea and stay with it. Don’t be one of those people. Seize the bull by the horns and make a careful, calculated decision for which business idea you are going to pursue. Succeed or fail, it will be one of the most important decisions you every make!
By Bob Adams, serial entrepreneur and founder of BusinessTown.com