What Kind of Business Should You Start?

Quora question: What is your recommendation to a young person who wants to start a company, but doesn’t have any revolutionary ideas?

I’ll start my answer by saying that Tim Berry had some insightful points in his answer. I can tell that he has a lot of experience, and that has given him some great perspective. The main takeaway I have from his answer relates to the fact that you are a “young person:” There is a lot of life ahead of you, and you can’t imagine all the things you’ll do, so take it one step at a time =)

Believe me, I try to take my own advice! That being said, here are five steps that will take you down the path of identifying what kind of business you should run:

  1. Understand that you don’t need a “revolutionary idea” to start a company. If someone has a successful business selling hot dogs, and you can find a way to do it better, you’re in business.
    1. If you WANT to do something revolutionary with your business/life, good for you. However, consider that you are much more likely to come up with that innovation after you have some experience. How can you have a revolution if you don’t know what it’s against?
  2. Identify your strengths (and weaknesses). What comes easily to you? What are you good at? What do you get positive feedback from others with? Business guru Peter Drucker says that we must start with our strengths.
    1. You will have weaknesses. You can make an effort to avoid any glaring chinks in your armor, but most of your time should be spent on your strengths. Find a partner/team that balances you out. My business is centered around this: There are a lot of passionate people out there who don’t know anything about business, so I partner with them to help them be entrepreneurs.
  3. Whatever your strengths and passion points you towards is what you should work in. Now you need to learn your industry. The best way to do this is to find a mentor who is doing what you want to do. The next best is to talk to your potential customers and find out what they need that they’re not currently getting.
  4. Add value to your customers. No matter how you do it, if your mind is centered around your customers, you can make sales.
  5. I’ll end with this too… Take it one step at a time. Your life will be long. You will change, as will your industry and the face of the world as we know it. Ensure that you are always happy with what you’re doing and feel like you’re making the world a better place. Adapt when necessary, but recognize that, in the end, there is only the end, so enjoy the journey!

Hope this was useful to you and any other youngsters. (I consider myself still quite the youngster…) Let me know if I can help in any other way, and definitely check out my consulting business and my E-learning business.