If you’re like most people, you occasionally come up with business ideas on the fly. These aren’t well thought-through or particularly thorough, but they might be a solid start. You might identify a need of yours that isn’t being met, or see a business model in the real world that could easily be improved. The point is, you come up with a business idea – and it eventually gets discarded.
Let’s do some quick estimates. If there are nearly 8 billion people in the world, and each of them comes up with a business idea 10 times a year, but only 1% of those business ideas eventually become a business, that’s 79.2 billion business ideas going untouched every year.
Why is this the case? Why do so many business ideas generate no momentum?
Misunderstanding How to Start a Business
The steps to starting a business are simpler than most people imagine. Forming the legal structure for your business only takes a few minutes and doesn’t cost much money. You can register your business name online in most areas. And thanks to the prevalence of free website builders, anyone can create a website from scratch – even if they have no coding experience or knowledge.
But most people don’t realize this. They think that starting a business is something that “other people” do. They have misconceptions about how hard it is to start a business, and they assume they’ll never be able to do it properly. In other words, they convince themselves that starting a business would be impossible, so they never make an effort.
Some people are more realistic. They see the value in their business idea, but they’re scared off by the threat of competition. There may already be a similar business in operation – and they don’t want to compete with it. They feel that there’s already an entrepreneur out there who had this idea, and they’re doing a fine job, so it’s not worth pursuing.
However, in most cases, there are many different ways to get a competitive edge. For example, you could sell the product for a lower price. You could charge more for a higher-quality product. You could also set up the business in a different neighborhood or target a totally different market. There are always options you can use to be more competitive.
Failing to Fix a Flaw
Early-stage business ideas are usually flawed. Your first flash of inspiration isn’t comprehensive; it doesn’t teach you about market trends, existing competition, operational costs, and other important considerations. So when you spend a few minutes thinking about your idea, you realize that it has a fatal flaw.
Most people stop here. Instead of believing that this flaw can be better understood and eventually overcome, they assume that this flaw renders the idea totally useless. This is often problematic; sometimes, all it takes is a bit of research and creativity to break through this phase and adjust your idea to be in better shape.
It takes money to start a business, so many would-be entrepreneurs talk themselves out of moving forward. But there are two problems with this. First, many businesses can be started with even a tiny investment; a few hundred dollars for registration and an initial website are all you need to start building momentum.
Second, if you have higher capital demands, there are dozens of ways you can fund your business. You can work with a venture capitalist or an angel investor to get an injection of capital directly. Applying for loans is another great option you have. Additionally, you can also crowdfund. Getting grants or applying to be part of an accelerator or incubator is another way you could fund your business. The options are practically limitless.
Sometimes, it’s a “bad time” to start a business. Maybe you just had a child. Maybe you just started a new job. Whatever it is, there’s some excuse that holds you back from following up on your business idea.
This can be a valid excuse, but oftentimes, it becomes perpetual; no matter where you are in life, there’s some reason preventing you from starting a business.
Let’s face it. The majority of business ideas go undeveloped because of laziness. People are unwilling to spend more than a few minutes thinking about their business idea, and they’re unwilling to invest any money into the project. Even a couple hours of effort may be enough to overcome most of the obstacles on this list.
Some of the ideas you come up with are probably ludicrous and would never work out in a real business environment. But some of your ideas have genuine potential. Before completely abandoning your entrepreneurial ideas, give them some serious time and consideration. You might be surprised at what you end up with.