So the first question that people who intend to start businesses think about is: what is my idea?
The bold truth is that ideas are a dime a dozen.
I was trained and came to believe early on that you can make money doing anything – it’s just a matter of how much and how easily. You could make money selling bags of pet food over the Internet, but you are sure going to have a hard time doing it.
That being said, good ideas are not a dime a dozen. But there certainly are enough of them to go around, especially in this new Internet, web and mobile-enabled environment.
The most obvious and time-trained idea generator is to solve a problem that you have or you observe in your line of work or in your everyday life. The business piece that might take some time to develop is to create a business model (a way to make money eventually) around solving your problem. For certain problems, this simply does not exist, but for many, many more, that business model is simply yet to be discovered. Google was a great solution, but became a great business after AdWords.
Sometimes this just comes after putting two and two together. GoTo.com and Overture had already pioneered paid search – all Google had to do was to realize that unobstrusive text links would not alienate search users, but create a powerful new business model. As they say, the rest is history. Admittedly, the ability to spot these connections comes with experience and a solid knowledge of existing business models.
Ideas and their true potential are also relative to each other. Every idea has some potential – the question is how much. For each entrepreneur, it is your decision where you draw the line of “this idea has enough potential”.
The next question is: how much will it cost or how will I make this happen? This is where most people fall down. True entrepreneurs know how to make this leap. In all honestly, you are not an entrepreneur if you are unable to cross this boundary. Don’t fear though: there should be no shame in starting small – just don’t think small. Ideally, a first-time entrepreneur wants a business that is cheap or easy to start, but with at least some reasonable market that you can tap into – the Internet enables that these days.
The question then becomes: do you have it in you to find an idea that you love that you can reasonably implement? The answer is most often a resounding yes if you’ve gotten this far. But the much more important question is: do you have what it takes to make it happen?