Instead of trying to address all these issues at the same time I want to discuss the most basic issue, in fact the starting point of it all, and that is the product offering. What is your business concept? Before you stress-test it in terms of competition, returns (how much you will make in the process), or the financial requirements, you need to put the first building blocks in place.
The first brick to put down, and the foundation of any business, is the business concept.
Aspirant entrepreneurs are influenced by many factors when considering a business, such as: “everybody needs to eat, so let’s go into groceries”, “people are lazy and fast food is the answer”, “my friend is into security and drives around in a fancy car”, “you cannot go wrong with liquor” and “IT is the future”. Or the inverse: “my uncle was in tourism and lost it all”, “never be in transport it is a mugs game” and “the electronic industry is too competitive”.
All of this could be an indication of where to be, or not be, in business, but for all the wrong reasons. The harsh reality is that many businesses in these industries became very successful, but many do not. Thinking like this is not a going to offer you a sure-fire success. Why? Because it is all about the business concept.
Never get into the trap of blanket statements that say: be in this or that industry. Says who? What works for one person may not work for everybody. A supermarket may be a goldmine in one area (maybe because of the market, little competition, good management, the offering, etc.), but it is not to say that is will work for another person in a different area with a different market and competition. So how do you balance it all?
You need to understand that there may be business opportunities out there, but following blindly will not bring success. Never mind what people led you to believe, a successful business concept is (from an SME view point) spotting the gaps in the market place. Even in the most complex and competitive industries, there are opportunities.
Sitting on the side line will not identify those. It requires effort, research and an open mind. Not to mention innovation and creativity. If getting into business and be highly successful was that easy, many others would have been there already. This may sound like you are pushing against all the odds, but no.
Sometimes the answers are right in front of you, but you are just not seeing it for what it really is. How often do we say after the fact: “I should have thought of it!” “What is the big deal?” But the reality is that you did not think of it.
Do not be influenced by others when it comes to what is a good business opportunity or not. Do your homework and then decide for yourself. Remember many others are waiting for it to be delivered on a silver platter. Yet if you are prepared to do the homework, to be sharp, and to find it, drive it, get excited, use innovation, keep level headed and yet not get carried away, you can achieve more than you ever hoped for.
Article written by Gerrie van Biljon – Executive Director Business Partners Limited.