It Takes More Than A Good Idea
Automobile = Good. Just One Color = Not So Much
Steve R. Jenkins, CEcD
One of the aftermaths of the Great Recession was the resurgence of entrepreneurship. Some wanted to control their own destiny after losing jobs in corporate America. Others, in desperation after long unemployment, sought to open a business to survive. Whatever the reason, it takes more than a good idea, business plans, financial projections and financing to be successful as an entrepreneur.
Whether it comes from a stroke of brilliance while showering, a revelation in the middle of the night, or long deliberations and analysis, a business idea must go through acid tests that involve you…the entrepreneur. You possess intangibles that are personal drivers and will have a huge impact on your business sustainability.
What makes you jump out of bed every single morning? Is the excitement of your idea or is it because you like coffee and pancakes? Without passion for your idea and the promise it brings, you’re only looking at something to do, to stay busy and fill a hole in your life. An idea without the driving, unquenchable passion to fuel it, likely will fail.
Many entrepreneurs will generate a multitude of start-up ideas. Focus on a limited number for which you have the passion and refine them down to a clear choice. Remember that you can’t be the answer to all the world’s needs. Focus and excel for success.
Entrepreneurs must be brutally truthful with themselves. You cannot let the dream mask reality. Do you have the real passion and focus or is your effort taking a secondary position in your life. Being an entrepreneur is hard on you and relationships and takes long hours, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart! Do you think you have a market for your idea or know that you do because of extensive research and customer interaction? Your dream may be just that, not a business that is sustainable. If you feel that you cannot be brutally honest with yourself, find a mentor or third party who will. It may save you or your family, heartache and life-savings.
You have opened your business and it is successful. Now what? There is no room for resting on your laurels. You cannot be satisfied or complacent even if you have a protected idea. What happens when that protection goes away? Success will depend on continual innovation of your current offering or development of new offerings. Eventually, you will have competition that wants to put you out of business. It’s the free enterprise system. You must constantly focus on innovation and evolve. This is your responsibility and has to be a central tenet of your business. Ask and listen to your customers for ideas and improvements.
All entrepreneurs must have the ability to assess the intangibles. Ignore them and risk less than desirable results. What Henry Ford said no longer works… “They can have any color car as long as it is black.” Passion, Focus, Truth and Innovation will get you beyond just one color.