Use your experience factor to generate new business ideas. Many studies reveal that the common denominator among successful start-ups is the founders’ knowledge of the marketplace, new technology, and the industry in which the bulk of their apprenticeship and managerial experience has been acquired.
Read. Successful new venture ideas come from a multitude of sources, such as trade magazines, patent magazines, business books, journals, and newspapers. Look for emergent themes, changing values, and new habits.
Monitor society, industry, and market changes. Are people’s tastes, routines, lifestyles, or habits changing? Pick up a copy of Clicking or The American Forecaster Almanac, published annually, to learn about emerging trends.
Watch the Information Superhighway. Surf the Internet to spot new trends, exchange information on electronic bulletin boards, and shop various cybermalls. A great source for the latest information in your industry is online information.
How old are you, and how many years of hard work can you look forward to? If you are in your thirties, you can undertake ventures that might be more difficult for someone older. If you want to move quickly because you are aging or plan to retire, you will need to find a venture that you can launch and grow quickly. At times it may be necessary to look for an injection of outside capital or find a management team that will speed up your rate of growth.
Are you healthy? Can your physical condition withstand the pressures and stresses associated with starting a new venture? Or will spending long hours daily on your venture during the first several years hurt your health? Health considerations will dictate what type of business an entrepreneur can undertake.
What role does¡ªor will¡ªyour family members play in the business? Will they work in it? Will they eventually take it over? These decisions will affect the type of venture you start and your business strategy.
Where do you want to live and work? How many people work hard all their lives so they can retire to Hawaii, Arizona, or Florida? Why not locate your business in one of these areas and get there quicker?
Do you plan on investing any money in the venture? Decide early on about the extent to which you are willing to expose yourself to financial risk. Many entrepreneurs refuse to invest much money in their own ventures. Instead, they use their brains and somebody else’s money.
Your attitudes about these personal criteria will determine which type of venture you should pursue. Whatever business you decide to start¡ªbe passionate about it.
Talk to your industry contacts and editors of your association journals. Venture ideas can come from suppliers, wholesalers, and distributors who have an acute awareness of strengths and weaknesses of existing products. Ideas also come from competitors whose products or services can be improved upon.
Attend a trade show. Over 60% of those attending a trade shows are there to buy. Trade shows covering the industry you are interested in may provide a wealth of potential doable ideas.