“I don’t believe in good ideas,” said Gavin Eddy, director of Forward Space and award winning business mentor, speaking at yesterday’s Discuss & Do festival event in Frome, Making it as an Entrepreneur.
So what’s the big problem with good ideas? Why are they the bane of entrepreneurialism?
Because, Gavin explained, they – or the lack of them – is the excuse people use not to start their own business. Or because they are worried their big idea will fail.
And here is why he thinks you don’t need a ‘good idea’:
You can nick someone else’s idea
Your business can solve someone’s problem
Almost any idea can create a business
“In the gold rush,” said Gavin, “the successful business was the one that sold the shovels.”
So what makes a business? According to Gavin it’s all in the execution and timing. You don’t have to be the first (it’s better to let the pioneer make the expensive mistakes and develop the market) but don’t be late to the party. Do it better than everyone else – give great customer service and understand what (enough) customers want. And whatever you do, don’t price yourself too low, a successful business is rarely the cheapest.
“Look at the macro social climate,” he advised, “Remember SoLoMo – social, local and mobile.” For instance: home baking, local food and remote working. Check out these sites: www.trendwatching.com and www.springwise.com
Rachel Bridge, former Sunday Times enterprise editor and author of How to Make a Million Before Lunch, advised budding entrepreneurs to start small and flexible: “You don’t need a massive business loan,” she said. Start a business around your day job until you are making enough money to quit – get a smart phone to keep on top of emails and calls during working hours.
There’s plenty of free stuff out there to promote yourself – free websites at www.moonfruit.com and here at WordPress, of course, social networks Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can easily outsource parts of your business you can’t do yourself whether through lack of expertise or resources, such as pay-as-you-go fulfilment company www.mywarehouse.me
Which also highlights that helping businesses to successfully Do-It-Themselves is, well, big business.
And the most important point for my money? Factor your own income costs into your business – or you don’t have a business, you have a hobby.