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Stop Shiny Object Syndrome: Pick Your Best Business Idea
Let me guess: You have 50 amazing business ideas, all of which will make you millions of dollars and you just can’t decide which one to work on first? Or you are working on all of them at the same time and making very little progress?
This problem actually has a name and it is called Shiny Object Syndrome. It seems to be a trend that's growing: small business owners are getting distracted by too many ideas or the latest fad, going off in a million directions and never completing anything. This loss of focus is costing you hundreds of hours a year in lost productivity and lost dollars.
So our goal is to help you pick not just a good idea, but your BEST idea. Choosing the right idea drastically increases your chance for success. It also leads to a business that you’ll enjoy and be proud to own.
Before picking a random idea just to earn money, think carefully. It’s easy to fail when you lose interest or there’s no demand for your products.
Look At Problems You Want To Solve
Every business should seek to solve a problem. If it’s a problem many consumers have, this means a higher demand for your products and services. Create a list of problems you’d like to solve. You won’t be interested in all of them, but highlight the ones that you feel most passionate about, especially if many others share the same issue.
For example, are you disappointed in the lack of business resources available to black entrepreneurs? You could solve this problem by developing a business accelerator or incubator. You would reach out to large corporations and angel investors to serve as mentors and invest in the incubator. The incubator would help aspiring business owners develop their ideas into fully flourishing businesses. Although there are some existing incubators for black businesses, like Newme Accelerator, there are not very many of them.
How Quickly Can You Become Profitable
There are a handful of people in the world that will build businesses like Facebook and Uber and have a story to tell like Mark Zuckerburg. That is a very small number of people. Most businesses are not meteoric rises to billion dollar valuations, but more mom and pop or small businesses that have steady growth over time. Unless you are a venture capital or angel backed company, your business will need to make money fast. Ideally, when you started your business, there was enough cash reserves in place to last for several months, but rarely is that the case. It actually is one of the reasons that businesses fail.
So as much as people like to talk about pursing your passion, I would recommend pursuing your profitable passion. When there is profits, then it will allow you to pursue your passion longer. When there are not any profits, then your passion business will likely fold. Pursing a profitable business that is not your passion is also a good idea in my opinion. Do you think that people working corner stores and gas stations are fulfilling their life long dreams? Likely not. But they keep showing up, day after day, because the business is profitable. In most business advice, people tend to shy away from the need for sales and profits, but it truly is the life blood of a business.
Consider Your Skillset
Think about what skills you currently have. Your business idea doesn’t have to match your skills perfectly, but it helps if you have at least the basic skills for the business you want to start. Consider any skills you’ll have to learn along the way. Do you have the time or finances to do so? The last thing you want is to put your business on hold while you take courses for several years. Or even worse – start the business and not have the financial support to weather the storm through the learning curve. Pick a business that aligns with your skillset and allows you to get up and running more quickly.
Think About Potential Demand
This is one of the most important things to think about. If there’s no demand for your business, it’s doomed from the start. Do your research before choosing a business idea. Just because you think it is a great idea, does not mean other people will agree, and people vote with their wallets. How many consumers are eager to buy? How many competing businesses exist? More demand means a better chance of success for you, even if there are quite a few competitors. Remember, you don’t have to be exactly like the competition. You just have to be better.
Look At Your Interests
Your ultimate goal might be to just make money and many may disagree and say that you need to be passionate about your business, but if you are clear with yourself that your main goal is to make money, then that is okay. Look at your own interests and hobbies. Many of these could be turned into profitable businesses. Many home cooks have started their own restaurants. You don’t have to be a professional at your interests to turn them into a business. One of the things that is often not stated when people say that you need to be passionate about your business is that this is true when you are not making money. When you are operating profitably, the need for passion is replaced by profits.
Examine Other Businesses
What are some of your favorite businesses and why? These businesses provide you with a wealth of business ideas of your own. They’re also inspiration for how to run your own business. Is there some way you could make a better store or offer different services? There is not always a need to reinvent the wheel. You could easily replicate a thriving business in a different location and thrive also. The idea is to look at possible competitors and think about what you could do differently, better, or in a different location.
Think About Connections and Mentors
One thing many aspiring entrepreneurs don’t consider is their current connections and mentors. You can’t do it all on your own. When you’ve narrowed your list of business ideas down to a few, it’s time to think about your support network. Do you know anyone in the industry? Do you know of any possible investors? Have you already befriended potential mentors? Do you have connections at purchasing departments at large companies who can help you get your foot in the door? Are there local networking meetings that you can attend that will include some of the decision makers for your product or service? The more connections you have for your idea, the higher your chance of success.
Choosing the best business idea is tricky. Take your time and think through every idea thoroughly. The more you research and plan now, the easier it will be to turn your chosen idea into the highly profitable business you’ve always dreamed of.
The key is that you must choose one to focus on. The belief that you can successfully start and run several businesses at the same time is not impossible, but it is very difficult. Business is hard enough. Do not complicate your situation by taking on more than you can handle and allowing several ideas to fail instead of pushing one idea to success. You can always start the second one after the first one is a success.
What other ways have you found to deal with Shiny Object Syndrome?
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