How do we know when we have a business idea worth pursuing?
I saw a two-part question on Quora this past weekend that read something along the lines of this:
How do I know whether I should start a business to try and build the next big iPhone app or so I can open an online shop that sells health and fitness products? And if I’m asking this question, does that mean I don’t have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
I knew what my answer to this person would be immediately, but I decided to let it sit for a few minutes while I tried to put myself in their shoes.
Become a master
Not everyone knows what they’re truly passionate about, and it was pretty obvious to me that this person was struggling with just that.
Being an entrepreneur shouldn’t be about making a quick buck. Being an entrepreneur should be about discovering what truly resonates with your authentic self, and then turning that into a passion-driven, viable business that helps fill a need or desire that people have.
As much as we all want to be really good at a bunch of things – like building apps and knowing all there is to know about health and fitness products – we’re never going to get ahead or stand out if we don’t focus in on what we have the potential to be a master of.
I believe the thing we have the potential to be a master of is an idea that resonates with our authentic self.
When this idea that resonates with our authentic self is one that also happens to fill a need or desire in the marketplace, that’s when a business is born.
If you already know what that thing is, then focus on it – become a master at it.
Finding a business idea
But what if you haven’t found that business idea yet?
This is a common struggle – we’ve all been there before. Sometimes you know you love something, but you’re not really sure how to turn that feeling into an idea, and then into a business.
Or other times, you might have a great business idea, but struggle with whether or not that idea is something you could become truly passionate about at some point down the road.
In her interview on EntrepreneurOnFire, Sarah Robinson talks about how much she loves her business and what she’s doing right now.
Why does she love it so much?
Because she only does the things that resonate with her authentic self.
I realized while listening to Sarah’s interview that the key for her was that she became a master at something and then turned that something into a business she absolutely loves.
When John asked Sarah how she found out what it was that resonated with her authentic self, Sarah laughed…
Among the things she’s always known she loves, like spending time with family, Sarah said her coach recommended that she sit down with her resume in order to find out what one “business thing” would resonate with her authentic self.
This is starting to sound like Chapter 1 of The Fire Path, all about Identify your Passion, where we talk about brainstorming those things you love doing most, and then figuring out how your experience and expertise might overlap with that.
Sarah had her AH-HA moment and realized what it was she was meant to do because of that coaching session.
Her resume was filled with skill sets related to building communities – that’s what Sarah was good at, and she also really enjoyed doing it. That’s where her passions and her expertise overlapped.
So, Sarah found out how she could take that expertise and her passion for something – master it – and then turn it into a business that adds value to other people.
It takes time – and patience
If you don’t already know what resonates with your authentic self – what you’re truly passionate about – then that’s okay. It’s not an overnight trek that will lead to discovery the next morning.
Sometimes it takes a lot of time to figure out – and a lot of patience to continue searching.
If you’re on this trek to identify your true passions and match those up with your expertise in order to find a viable business idea, then I definitely recommend checking out The Fire Path, because on The Fire Path we cover how to tackle the core building blocks of your business in detail.
But here are some questions you can ask yourself right now in order to start brainstorming what things you’re most passionate about that might be able to become a viable business idea for you:
- What don’t you like doing? (Process of elimination)
- What do you get the most joy out of doing? (What makes you happy?)
- What’s one thing you’ve practiced the most? (Have the most experience doing)
Once you’ve narrowed the playing field, identify where the two overlap: what passions match up – or are related to – your experience and expertise?
Then, ask yourself how you can take that idea and build a business around it that will help other people. Is there a need or desire that exists for what you’re going to offer?
Talk to others who will be honest with you about your idea; ideally this would be your avatar: your one perfect audience member who wants and needs your help in this particular arena, and get input and feedback from them.
Choosing a focus
As an entrepreneur, you can’t be good at everything.
You have to take the time to figure out what it is that resonates with you, how that idea can take the form of a business, and how that business can fill a need or desire that people have.
Challenge yourself to choose a focus.
Here’s what I wrote in response to that Quora question:
Do you wake up in the morning feeling charged and excited about building an app? Do you go to bed at night thinking about selling health and fitness products? If not, then you shouldn’t pursue either of these ideas.
Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t about building a business around an idea that is going to make you a quick buck. Becoming an entrepreneur is about starting a journey to building a business around something that can help others, and that resonates with you – something you’re passionate about.
Also, it’s because you’re able to ask your first question that you absolutely have what it takes to become an entrepreneur.