Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Getting your business started

Since I wrote the article How to make a million dollars I have received quite a bit of email. One of the most common questions goes something like this: "I would really like to start a business, but I do not have any good ideas. Where can I find some good business ideas to get my imagination started?"

The simplest thing to do is this: go to a good bookstore or a library or amazon and look for books/magazines containing business ideas. A good bookstore will have 10 "entrepreneur" type magazines on the shelf, and a dozen books full of "home business ideas", "small business ideas" and so on. Look also for magazines dealing with franchising opportunities. Scan through books and magazines like these for ideas. That will get you started.

You can do the same on the web. There are hundreds of web sites that discuss business ideas. Go to Google and type in something like "small business ideas" or "franchising ideas" or "getting started in small business" and see what you discover.

If you have an office of the Small Business Administration in your area, they may have a library. Stop by and talk to them. They also have a web site.

I started this recently:The idea is to help people get their web ideas off the ground. It is an ongoing project. It will help you to get some ideas for web sites.

Look in your area and see if there is an entrepreneurial organization. Where I live (Raleigh, NC) it is called the CED (The Council for Entrepreneurial Development - http://www.cednc.org/). They have meetings, tours, seminars, classes, etc. You can often get ideas by talking to other people who are starting their own businesses. Go to the meetings and start talking to other entrepreneurs. If you have no idea what to say to people, try this, "What kind of business have you started?" Ask other entrepreneurs where they got their ideas, how they got their businesses started, what roadblocks they faced, how they overcame them, and so on.

In other words: Cast a wide net and see what you catch...

Here is another common question: When can I possibly have time to start a business? This is the important thing to keep in mind: During every week of your life there are seven days. In those seven days there are 168 hours. Let's say you spend 50 hours a week at work. That leaves 118 hours outside of work for you to do anything you like. Choose to use those hours to work on business ideas.

Simply carve out a 20-hour slice per week -- 20 hours is only about one-sixth of your available free time. You will be AMAZED at what you can accomplish in 20 hours a week if you focus your attention on your business.

This quote from the Yarn Harlot is so appropriate:You can read her whole story in the YarnHarlot case study. Realign your priorities, in other words.

Comments:
Thank you for saying this. It is a good kick in the pants.
 
One of the most frequent questions I find myself asking (michaelvassar@hotmail.com) is "where can I find someone with the time and energy to implement some of my endless enterpreneurial ideas"? It's not just me either, I know experienced business people who have dozens or hundreds of ideas that they would like to invest in or see implemented but don't have the time for. Go to the "flow" group on yahoo or flowidealism@blogspot.com for more info.
 
I appreciate these nuggets of information about starting a business and making money. I'll keep tuning in...
 
Marshall,
You write, "That leaves 118 hours outside of work for you to do anything you like." One thing I MUST do (although I'd LIKE not to) is eat and sleep. This reduces the number quite a bit. Don't forget the time it takes to purchase and prepare food.
 
I think what he is suggesting is that instead of spending hours per night in front of the television, one could be working on their business.

If you want to find 20 hours, you will.
 
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I would suggest reading "Good to Great" by Jim Collins prior to trying to think up a great business idea. To summarize what his reaction to this question might be, I believe he would say "Don't think up a good idea first. Get the right people who you want to work with around you first, then think up a brilliant idea".
 
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Hi Marshall

Thanks for your info about getting your business started.
It’s reminding me to keep focus and get my business started ASAP.
I have many business idea come in my mind especially after I read
and re-read again many times Allen Says private post about wonderful
Business Idea that we can started but we easily got distracted from
our main goal with the information overload world now! Your business
idea and how to get started in this post surely add my collection of
never ending business idea opportunity. Thanks for sharing. You may
interest to read Allen Says private post about Business Idea
and add it to your business idea collection.
 
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While it's true that we spend only 1/3 of our time at work finding 20 hours in a week to concentrate on a business idea is often 20 hours our families wish we'd spemd with them.

If you don't have 20 hours a week I think you can still make something happen with an average of only 10 minutes a day. It requires greater focus and it may take longer but you can do it. I made a post about this at my blog.
 
Simply put, Mr. Brain, you're a genius! I love reading your material immensely. Presently a few of my male friends want to start a concrete pumping business together. They know the industry and their jobs like the back of their hands but they don't know how to do the managerial and financial aspects of running the business. There is a huge demand in rural North Central Florida right now (that's where we live) since it is the last part of Florida that is being built up and there are no ACPA certified operators like them as far as we know. Your advice is very helpful, and I thank you for taking the time to write this information because its certainly helping a bunch of people in their early 20's. :)
 
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