All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. – Victor Hugo
The majority of startups fail within the first year of business for one simple reason—the idea behind it was flawed. To build a successful business, your idea must be forward-thinking, flexible, and in demand. It doesn’t matter how well you do something or how much you like your own business idea, if it does not have these three qualities, you are highly unlikely to succeed.
Take your time, think things through. Look at the world around you. What are people talking about … complaining about? What are the big trends predicted in the next 20 years? What is the most efficient way to make your idea a reality?
Learn a startup lesson from an imaginary guy named Dave.
Dave picked up on the trend of people eating more and better, locally sourced, organic meat. So far, so good. He understood his potential customers. He found local farms to supply his product. And that is as far as Dave went with his new thought.
He decided his potential customers were also likely mall shoppers and promptly leased space in the center of an upscale mall. Not only that, he set his heart on using old-fashioned butcher paper and hand-stamped brown paper carry-out bags. This scenario, as you might imagine, ended badly. Few Nordstrom’s shoppers prefer to carry an oozing bag of pork loin and organic chickens while they shop.
Dave had a good business idea, but he was too tied to his own preconceptions to consider more feasible possibilities. The lesson here is simple – don’t be Dave.
If you’re stuck considering the possibilities or in need of fresh perspective on business ideas, here’s a look at business ideas to get [the creative juices flowing]. Open your mind and study the possibilities. The more you learn, the more likely you are to succeed.
Unemployment and underemployment has been (and will likely remain) a primary societal issue. A record number of jobs were lost during the Great Recession and the “Great Recovery” is yet to be seen. Thus it wouldn’t be unlikely that people who are employed are anxious to consume services built around helping them keep their current jobs or move on to higher paying jobs worthy of their actual skills.
Those who are unemployed or underemployed need guidance to transition back into a full-time working economy. They need training, advice and direction. A career service business can cater to any number of audiences. As an added bonus, consulting startups are not capital intensive. With cloud technology and the local Starbucks as your office, you could be in business in no time.
“The global population of people aged 65 and over is expected to triple to 1.5 billion by 2050, according to a Pew Research Center survey.” (Source: World Bulletin) An aging population will need (and currently requires) services that go far beyond skilled nursing facilities. CDC reports confirm, “By 2030, older adults will account for roughly 20% of the U.S. population.”
When you combine these statistics with the decreasing birth-rate throughout the industrialized world; and thus, a decreasing number of people to serve the needs of seniors, there is nothing but potential for a startup. Today’s seniors, in particular, were not as hard hit by the recession as the rest of the country. They have resources and are willing to spend for the right services. Travel, health care, entertainment, independent living, transportation and ongoing technology education are just a few niches to consider.
In a world of smartphones, iPads, Kindles, Roku, and laptops people are anxious to find a source to help them use all of these technologies to their best effect. Most people with smartphones have no idea of the true capabilities hidden in their purse or shirt pocket. Businesses that cater to millions of new technology users will come out as winners with the right idea.
Creating training materials, consulting services, instructional books, and general support are just a few ways of monetizing high tech trends. Consider your own parents. Whose mom hasn’t called them to ask how to work “that Facebook thing” or some other technology? This demographic is almost entirely unaware of things like “the cloud”, Pinterest, Dropbox, and Google Drive. What can you do for them?
To stay competitive, companies (large and small)are looking to outsource business activities. If you’re hesitant about outsourcing and moving jobs out of the U.S., keep in mind it does not automatically exclude American workers. It is simply a new way of getting things done. It’s a small world. Technology allows businesses to draw from services around the world in the most expedient and cost-effective way. Gone are the days of newspaper ads and endless interviews.
Outsourcing, however, requires project management. You can serve as a liaison for small and medium-sized businesses and the rest of the world. Some of the more commonly outsourced services are: programming, web design, lead generation, writing, customer service and accounting.
So, how do you go from high hopes to profitability with the above-mentioned business ideas? Be honest with yourself. Do you have the discipline to follow through on your idea each and every day? Do you possess the expertise or are you willing to gain that expertise? The learning curve will likely be steep. You will have to learn and keep learning. With respect for what it takes to succeed, a willingness to learn and make mistakes, you can become a successful entrepreneur.
George Meszaros is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Success Harbor, an online platform dedicated to documenting the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. Connect with @successharbor on Twitter.
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