So you have watched “The Social Network” only about five hundred times and you are ready to take the plunge and seek your own fortune as an online entrepreneur. Fantastic! Great to have you on board! Now if only someone provided you with a road map to the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the entrepreneurial rainbow; you would be set! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, because it does not quite work that way. To quote John Lee Dumas of the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast, “It’s not easy. If it were, then everybody would be doing it!” You need to be disciplined, pragmatic, dutiful and thorough with every step of the entrepreneurial journey; the first step being to get an idea that is going to work.
How do I get “the” idea?
Getting a valid and viable business idea is one of the most challenging steps for prospective entrepreneurs. There is no “one size fits all” solution for this. Different approaches and strategies work for different people and you need to find something that is going to work for you. For those that are stumped but are too stubborn to give up on their entrepreneurial fervor (a certain degree of stubbornness is a must have for all entrepreneurs, so bully for you!) I have enumerated a few approaches underneath that should get the ball rolling.
Solve a problem you have yourself
The best way to start is to identify a problem that you have yourself. The founders of Microsoft and Apple understood the potential of personal computers but it was not present in everyone’s homes because an average person is not familiar with machine language. The founders of Google realized that the World Wide Web had an inordinate amount of information; however, it was available to only those people who knew where to look. Chances are that you may never have an idea that would change the world forever, but that does not mean that you will not be successful. You need to analyze your day to day life and see what could be done better and understand whether you have the ability to make a difference. You could end up “connecting the dots” at any time, while enjoying a drink with your friends, or while taking a shower. Make sure that you are ready to jump on it as soon as you do!
Use insider knowledge:
Not everyone has the ‘a-ha’ moment while they are in college. A vast majority of entrepreneurs tend to have successful careers first and then form companies that solve problems that are unique to their respective industries. Are you involved with an enterprise software company and your supervisors just pulled the plug on a “killer” feature because of a complete lack of vision? Are you an open source developer and you just designed this amazing hack that made you life exponentially easier? You may be sitting on a treasure trove without even realizing it!
Find a mentor:
Contrary to popular belief, successful entrepreneurs tend to share their wisdom with the next generation. Many do so via their blogs or social media accounts, but there are several who might be willing to provide a helping hand, provided you stumble upon something that holds a lot of promise. Try to avoid getting in touch with the Richard Bransons and the Mark Zuckerbergs of this world; they just have too much going on. That being said, there are successful entrepreneurs making a real difference in their respective communities all over the world. Attend networking events at your neck of the woods, talk to people and if you have an idea with enough ‘oomph’ to it, you will find people who would be excited by your vision. F6s is an excellent place to start your networking initiatives.
Lao Tzu said that ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’. If this article provides you with even the most minutest of nudges in the right direction, then I will consider it to be a success!