Easy Start Up Business Ideas – Do They Actually Exist?April 13, 2018
We all make the same mistake, or most of us anyways. I have been an entrepreneur ever since I can remember. At the age of fourteen I kept my summer busy with the traditional lawn mowing startup. The difference is that I cold-called leads, pitched them, followed up on referrals and organized my routes as close as possible to my core geographical market. During the operational stage, I made sure to ask for payment after each service rendered to never have to chase receivables but never asked for money in advance and made sure I was competitively priced. The pricing aspect closed clients, of course, but I leveraged that to require my clients supply the mower and gas. That way I never had to ask for transportation, or had variable costs like maintenance and fuel. Mowing lawns is easy, but doing it right can be perceived as difficult for some.
But what is this mistake you ask? The same that I still make at every new foray into an industry or market: I think that it will be EASY!
Is this our fault? No! As entrepreneurs, we are hardwired to be eternal optimists. It is our gift and our curse! The gift is that no matter what, our hopes and dreams keep a smile on our face at all times. This allows us to see through the difficult moments towards a better future where our startup is a cash-cow and we are living the good life. The curse is the other edge sword that can catch us in a loop of obsessing over an idea and believing in it so deeply that we lose track of time while our capital runs out.
So does that mean that easy startup business ideas don’t exist? Of course not!
They Do, But…
So those business that are easy, what are they? How do I find them, how do I get started? These questions can begin an obsessive thought process that can drive you crazy! Believe me, I am always on the lookout everywhere to find the next big spreads allowed by early market conditions that are always in the hands of people “in the know”. The beginning of any journey to success begins with yourself, so before you go out looking for the elusive savior that will show you the way, allow your self some undisturbed time to brainstorm. Ask yourself the following:
- What am I good at?
- What are my skills?
- What do I love doing that others don’t?
- What is everyone around me complaining? Can I fill that need?
- Is anyone asking me for help or to refer people to them for help?
- Can I lend assistance to an established entrepreneur?
While you answer these questions, take this opportunity to begin an essential habit: taking notes. Document your thoughts and organize them in folders. The method is what counts, not the tools, so don’t be afraid to use pen and paper! I will elaborate about my personal method later.
What Makes It Easy
Every task is difficult for someone who has no appreciation of it. I’ve known of janitors that love their work and don’t consider it a job, they consider it a vocation. On the same topic I’ve known many educated people that have big titles and huge paychecks that absolutely hate their lives. The latter being much more often the case in my experience. My favorite example of this is the story of JFK and the janitor:
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy visited the NASA headquarter for the first time. During the facility tour, he introduced himself to a janitor surely wanting to brighten his day. Imagine a lowly janitor shaking hands with the great JFK while mopping a floor! In a patronizing yet well intentioned manner, he asked him what he did at NASA. The janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!”
He was helping put a man on the moon. Let that sink in. He was helping put a man on the moon! Everyone has an important role. There is no sub-species. We all participate to the success of humanity. Is this a true story? I can’t say for sure, but it is a wonderful metaphor for the ease of a business idea. If you enjoy what you do, no matter what it is, then it is not a job, it is a vocation and that is what makes the business idea easy for you!
Don’t waste precious time and effort looking to far your startup, begin with what is around you and you will see that opportunities abound!
Those Mistakes We Make
I already mentioned the first mistake that we make is think that a business idea is easy from the outset, which is normal. If we began thinking it was hard, we wouldn’t do it! The danger and why it is a mistake is that it may lead to discouragement the more we learn about the intricacies of our chosen venture.
The other mistake we make is comparing ourselves to others who are doing operating in our chosen niche. In my experience this is a waste of time and energy. Spending precious brain power on comparing and speculating what the other is doing and what makes them successful is counter-productive. Everyone is different. Your strengths will allow you success in an industry, while another will have equal success based on their strengths. Find a mentor to guide you, but not a competitor to measure you.
Underestimating the capital requirements. How often have I made this mistake? There is nothing worse than being under capitalized because the profit equation will fail. The input will not allow a sufficient output even with all the sweat equity you will put into it, which you will use to balance out the capital shortage. This is a guaranteed road map to a burnout. Run your financial forecasts and be honest with yourself. Be conservative and grow organically, the strength of compound economics will drive your success once you hit the tipping point of the exponential curve. More on the tipping point and compound economics later.
When To Begin
Never stop beginning. Begin all the time. Give yourself the time to begin and just go! In this age of accessible big data there is absolutely no reason not to be researching, working on your business plan, budgeting, taking courses or networking with like-minded individuals. Don’t be afraid to spend money and lose it in the beginning. It costs sweat and money to learn, whether in traditional schooling, online courses or unpaid internships. You will eat your crumbs in the beginning and that is the price you have to pay in order to grow. The longer you wait, the longer it will take and the point of no return will happen much faster than you think! Debt, marriage, children, aging parents, all are hurdles to success and when they are all piled up together, they become walls.
Begin now, as young and as early as possible.
The first step is organizing your thoughts, your work/life schedule and qualifying your contacts. But keep it simple to start with a paper agenda and a quality pen!