This question hounds so many people I meet. It seems that in this day and age of increased entrepreneurialism and the explosion in the number of small businesses; this is a very important question.
Based on having answered this question for my own life and having assisted numerous clients through their own similar journeys, here are a few tips and tricks to help you answer the call for your own destiny.
- Should you even start a business?
Even before you attempt to think of what business to start, I would strongly urge you to take a step back and to consider whether you should start a business in the first place.
Research done on successful entrepreneurs who have been in business at least 5 years and have earned at least $1 million showed the following personality traits as being key to success:
- Are in good health. Work long hours, take a licking, and keep on ticking
- Authority and Responsibility motivate the successful entrepreneur
- Have self-confidence as evidenced in the relentless pursuit of their goals
- Have a sense of urgency
- Are aware of all consequences of their actions
- Are comfortable in complex situations and chaos
- Have a realistic outlook
- Have a low need for status, their needs are met through achievements instead
- They’re more concerned with performance and accomplishment of others versus their feelings
- They have the emotional stability to deal with setbacks
- They’re attracted to challenges
- They are good with numbers and can tell at any time how much they have or owe
If you and your friends, colleagues and loved ones agree that you fit the very long bill presented above, then the next question in your quest for your business to ask is this..
2. What are you interested in?
In a Vocation Aptitude test called the Library Test, subjects are asked to gravitate to any part of the library that interests them. I ask clients to do the same at a book store or magazine stand. What subject matters pop up? What was the last book you actually bought and read? Make a list of these subjects that you love and start a list of possible business ideas to investigate further. Combine this list with the answers to the next question…
3. What do you know a lot about?
Naturally you will find that you’re quite knowledgeable about what interests you. However, what you love doesn’t always correspond with what area you’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge in. These also present powerful opportunities for you to have a successful business in. Add the areas of life and industries you know a lot about to your list of potential business ventures.
4. Design your future vision
Think about what you want your life to look like 5 years down the line and imagine things such as what type of income you want, what work environment you want to be in, how many hours you want to be working and what kind of people you want to be surrounded by.
For example, I wanted to work flexible hours, mostly from home and be helping business professionals who were already successful. I built a phone based coaching business that allows me to live my future vision to perfection.
5. Prune down your list
Examine your possible list of business ideas and see which have the potential of most closely aligning with your future vision. To do this, you will have to investigate some of the following for each business idea you have on your short list:
- The business earning potential
- The level of energy and hours that are required to succeed in that business
- The type of people you will potentially work with
- Success rates for small businesses in your chosen industry
- Barriers of entry into the field such as high investment levels, monopolies by competitors or a shrinking market
- What’s missing in your skill set or education to become successful in this business?
- How much investment will you need initially and for the next 5 years if to allow your future vision to come true?
6. Talk to at least 100 people in the field
In order to answer the above questions, conduct informational interviews with at least 100 people who work in your chosen business field. Before deciding to become a coach, I spoke to literally hundreds of trainers, coaches and speakers about the industry. When I finally made the leap, I was armed with their advice and wisdom.
Once you’ve done the due diligence to pick the perfect business for you, your chances of succeeding are much higher than those who simply get dragged or lured into industries and businesses they are an unfit match for. It’s no wonder that only less than 1/3 of micro companies (those with less than 5 employees) are in business after 5 years according to a 2004 Stats Canada finding.
Buck the trend, and be a success by following these steps and you’ll be living your future vision dreams in style.
With kindness as always,