Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Smorgasbord: Starting a Business

What is Saturday Smorgasbord?

Gurus and leading experts act like there's only one way to succeed. I believe there are so many ways to accomplish things that it's silly to narrow yourself to just one path.

So every Saturday I will list all the options, techniques and ways to accomplish various things from marketing your business to losing weight.

There is a Smorgasbord of tools at your disposal, why pick just one?


This Week's Saturday Smorgasbord: Starting a Business

I have started 5 businesses in the last 4 years. The first couple didn't go anywhere, mainly because they weren't the right fit. But very recently everything seems to be falling into place. It took a while and a lot of energy and tears to get to where I am today but I still really enjoy being an Entrepreneur.

Along the way I have read so many business start-up books, articles, blogs, 12 step programs, "secrets" and top 10 lists that I didn't know which way to go. Everyone seems to have "the answer" on how to successfully start a business.

I don't believe anymore that business start up is a one-size-fits all. If there is any pattern at all it's to not give up, keep your eye open for opportunity and be consistent. Those are the three things that kept popping up about how Entrepreneurs have been successful. And it shouldn't be surprising. Not every idea pans out and our first ideas often don't work quite right. There is a learning curve and mistakes made along the way so it shouldn't be a shock to you that the people at the top are only there because they stuck it out through all the mess.

I've also noticed that the various approaches to starting a business sync with different personality types and traits. Quiet, careful people may start their business slow and safe. They may feel it out as they go and not take any big leaps. Loud and outgoing people may jump right in with designing a website and start marketing for their product before they even have it finished yet. And there are any number of approaches in between.

Gurus have just as many suggestions on the type of business you should start as they have about how you should start a business. I've read it all from finding a niche market to maintaining a variety of product, from selling information to selling consumables, from making trending items to bringing back tradition. Very rarely do these gurus mention that not everyone is going to like making and selling everything. I wasn't happy selling Mary Kay mostly because I didn't make it myself. And if you aren't a writer than an internet marketing business might not be for you. Just because these businesses have worked for others doesn't mean they are going to work for you.

Helpful Quiz

I think the best way to do this week's Saturday Smorgasbord is to end with a series of questions. Use these questions to help you understand yourself a bit more so the next time you run across a business start-up article or book you can better determine if it's right for you.

1. What do you think you would like most about starting a business: the planning, the creating or the managing?
Note: If you said planning or managing then something like internet marketing might be for you. If you said creating then something like handmade wreaths might be the ticket.

2. When you have to make a decision do you make it quickly, slowly or somewhere in between?
Note: The answer to this question might help you determine if you should get a mentor or just jump right in and learn as you go.

3. Are you a tangible person or are you ok working with intangible things like stocks or ideas?
Note: If you like working with tangible things than a handmade or crafts business might be up your alley. If you like intangible things than maybe you could write and sell an ebook.

4. Do you find that you have many different ideas or one idea with many versions or styles?
Note: If you have many ideas you could start a business that sells a variety of products in one category. If you have one idea then you might want to find a niche market.

The point is that it doesn't really matter (that much) what product you are selling or how you approach your business. In the end, I believe that if you pick the right business for you then you will be successful because you will stay motivated and not give up, you will naturally keep your eye out for opportunity and you will be focused and consistent. (Remember, these are the recurring patterns I talked about earlier.) 

These are just suggestions to help you get started. Starting a business is a very personal thing and you will have to make some difficult decisions and really get to know yourself so you can figure out what fits best. There are a lot of great resources out there for starting a business but always remember: Look for tools not answers. There's no magic pill for life.

No comments:

Post a Comment