For many people I’ve met, the answer to that question was straightforward and usually along the lines of:
‘I love flowers, and I want to open a flower shop!’
Cute and perhaps idealistic. But where’s the reality?
Let me explain:
It’s typical for the common articles published in magazines and papers to read about some success story. Someone reached incredible success within a short time just by dreaming about it and made it to the top a few months later.
I am not saying that this does not exist, but I am also not saying that there are no lottery winners. There are, but we all know the numbers.
Most articles are full of general advice and examples of businesses that succeeded in their quest. And it is easy to think that you could do that too. Of course, you can; who’s there to say you can’t?
And even so, I agree in many parts; starting a business is a race of time. It would be best to have the motivation and energy, but without products or services, resources, and enough money, you won’t make it.
If you don’t have any money, how are you going to survive? If you don’t have any resources, services, or products, what will you do to sell or make money? If you don’t have the right motivation, how will you keep going?
Part of being an entrepreneur is understanding and reducing risk.
With that in mind, the answers to our questions become much more manageable. If you have great products or services and lots of motivation, you’ll need less time/money. If you have lots of inspiration and lots of time/money, you can create your products and services as you go along. If you have lots of time/money and excellent products and services, you’ll need less motivation.
You’ll need to make it before you run out of time/money.
If your money allows you to keep going for six months and you need to spend most of your time developing your products or services, you’ll have less time acquiring your customers and the other way around. Of course, motivation is a major driving force and can speed things up immensely. However, if you run out of money, your time is over.
So let’s assume you are highly motivated. Still, you have a limited amount of time/money (probably the most common situation), and you’ll need good services or products for your customers. That’ll give you the time to set up the business and to find customers. If you don’t have the right products or services, you’ll need more time/money to establish that.
To take the example with the flower shop from above, you’ll not only need great flowers to sell, but you’ll also need to know a lot about it. The more experience you have in the flower business, the easier it’ll be – and the better your services and products are, you’ll need less time/money to get going. If you don’t have the experience, then go and get it. Work in a flower shop for 6 to 12 months. Find out everything you can while having an income that supports you. Then when you’re ready, start your business.
Are you good enough?
Another way is to find out what you’re already good at. You’re good at it because you have been doing it successfully for quite a while and constantly improve your skill. So why not start your business in something you’re good at?
It will give you more time to establish your business. You don’t need to worry about learning a new skill. You can concentrate on finding your clients while your services and/or products are top from day one.
I can recommend this book: So good they can’t ignore you from Cal Newport. It gives a lot of examples and explanations why skills do trump passion every time.