I have many small business ideas, more than I have time to build, how do I choose?
Perhaps one day they will all be done, perhaps I need to focus on the best? How do I pick which venture to start first? My gut tells me to start with the easiest projects first, and see where they go. Any advice from other ambitious small business owners?
A simple way to do this is to first identify the 3 most important parameters for decision. Eg: 1) Level of passion for an idea 2) Time to market 3) Projected Profits.
Then rate each idea on the scale of 1-10 on each of the parameters and build a bubble chart in excel on this data. You now have an visual aid to decide.
For example you may discover that one of ideas you are passionate about can give you more profits in shorter time compared to another idea which has a longer time to market. Additionally, for ideas which you are not strongly passionate about and has lesser time to market you may decide on a strategy of forming partnerships where need not be actively involved. This way more of your ideas get implemented.
I think the "Lean Startup" and "Four Hour Workweek" are good starting points. You may also want to read "The Blue Ocean Strategy." I've worked with many small businesses and the most important advice is just do something. Then use agile testing to validate or disprove your idea. You can also use Google Ads to test your hypothetical idea, create a landing page and see if anyone is interested in it. Then go full force! Best of luck.
It's not clear whether all these are actually separate businesses, or multiple ideas that could be offered by a single business.
You say they are one-off websites that could build passive income. My experience is that it takes a lot of up-front activity to generate passive income. So, one of your criteria should be how much promotion it will take to get one up and running and profitable. Other criteria that you can add to the list:
How much investment is needed? Where will that come from?
How much outside expertise will you need (that you must pay for)?
How certain are you that it will work? 80%? 50? 25?
How much competition is there?
How long will it take to make happen?
Which ones are complementary so that they could reasonably be co-promoted?
The number one reason to start a business is to make money. With that said, which of your business ideas has the real potential to make the amount of money you want to make? Also, which business ideas do you have the knowledge, skills and resources to establish. (If your a chef who wants to open a restaurant but you don't have enough money, you may want to start by catering or establishing your own food truck.) Another criteria is which business idea are you most passionate about? There are many things to consider, but if you do your research, the appropriate business will reveal itself.
Jarret...it is both a curse and a blessing to have multiple ideas that your gut says can make money. So the next question to ask yourself is - which business idea am I so passionate about that I am willing to work hard, sacrifice greatly, and do the things that are needed to start, manage and grow it. Online businesses are NOT as easy as putting up a website and hoping folks will come...it is getting them to find you that is time consuming, requires great creativity and costly - I don't care what anyone tells you - or what you believe. Been there and certainly have done that.
Also...the easiest one may not be the one you are passionate about - therefore just because it is easy...doesn't mean it will be easy for you to do it successfully. Just like any money is not good money...just because someone is willing to pay you, doesn't mean you should take their money (and make them a client) ...And, even if you think you can - start with one, allow that one to be your test and learn idea...do everything you need to, not that you have to wait for huge profits, but enough learnings to start another. It is better to do 1 thing really well than a lot of little things half assed (sorry).
Lastly - from a business management perspective - read E-Myth Revisited. It provides great and simple steps to moving from a person with a job to really being a CEO / business owner.
I regularly use with my clients the following (adapted from that book) -
Create an organization chart of all of the core business functions, any business requires. Fill in the names of the person(s) that will work on that function. If it is ALL you - then put yourself in EVERY box.
Your job as a CEO of your business (from day 1 you should act as a CEO)...is to replace your name with experts who can do each of the functions - whether you hire, contract or barter the skill set.
Your job is NOT done until you are only sitting in the CEO box...or even off of the chart completely and you have sold or passed on the business.
Say Jarret, I'm one of those who strongly believes in going one step at a time. Lots of ideas but first one, then the next. Typically one's gut is a great place to begin. If your gut is suggesting start easy there is a strong possibility that it is the right choice for you. All we can offer is advice but on this one I suggest you listen to yourself.
I suspect you are going to be just fine. Keep us posted.
I'm coming at this from a non-profit perspective, so my response is going to be a little bit different. When you have something that offers the best value to the public (in this case, your customers/clients), the profits will come. Personally, I would hold off on the financial projections and all that jazz. Instead, this is where I would start:
1. What sort of impact do you want make? In other words, how will society be a better place with you in it? What sorts of activities, services, or products do you believe will help you to make that impact?
2. What are your core values?
3. Take some time to work through a comprehensive SWOT analysis. What are your strengths? What resources do you currently have to pour into a successful business? Time, money, talent? Who do you already have access to who will come alongside you and help you find success? What technologies do you already have to support your growth? Etc...Weaknesses: What are you lacking? Where do you need more training? Etc. Opportunities: What needs currently exist in the market that aren't being met? What are investors investing in? What are some potential pools for seed money? etc. Threats: Who is already doing what you're doing, and what is their competitive advantage over you? etc.
You can easily google "sample SWOT questions" to pull up lists that will help you to ensure that you are comprehensive.
4. Go back to the original problem that you are hoping your business solve (e.g. people never seem to have enough time to get things done.) Then ask yourself but why and document all of the possible reasons for this problem that you care so much about. For example, they don't have enough time because they have poor time management skills. And because there's not good personal time management software on the market. And because they have more responsibilities than they can handle. Then ask yourself "but why" for each of those responses. E.G. "But WHY do they have poor time management skills? Because they never learned. But WHY didn't they learn? No one was willing to teach them. But WHY isn't there good software on the market? Because no one has designed it. But WHY hasn't anyone designed it. Because they lack the knowledge and money. But WHY do they have more responsibilities than they can handle? Because they are juggling the workload of 2 people. But why? Because there is no one to help them.
If you do this, then you have identified the root causes, or prospective products/services, which in this case are:
a) No one is teaching time management
b) No one has designed good time management software, and
c) There is a need for more personal assistants.
After you have identified all of the root causes of your problem, go back to your vision, your core values, and your SWOT and ask yourself:
1. Which of these paths will most likely allow me to have the impact on society that I desire to have?
2. Which of these paths aligns with my core values?
3. Which of these paths do I currently have the resources and opportunities to invest in?
This is how I would go about determining which business venture to pursue first.
Hi.. This is something that I had compiled a few months before. May be it helps you: http://www.slideshare.net/seffcon/take-your-product-from-concept-to-reality
Usually they all fit together, when looked at from the right perspective. Follow your gut / joy and allow yourself to wonder.
Well, I guess here you need to clear things up like you have a number of ideas. Make yourself comfortable over the single idea study about it wisely like what you think you can achieve with that idea ! Once you get that idea loud and clearing you can step on for the next phase ! So, the key here is brushing up the ideas.
PS: All the best with bringing your ideas to life !
Adding to what Jyoti has shared in the thread below. You should qualify an idea with the final objective in mind. In how long do you want to exit the company you set up and how much do you wish to gain in valuation. or do you wish to continue and grow in the same business. This will determine the time span of your idea and then the way you should qualify them.
hope this helps.
Please visit www.scaalecapital.com to gain more insights.
Until they are vetted out in writing with business plans and financial projections they are nothing but ideas. The answer to your question is to move forward with the one that provides you with the highest Net Present Value. But it all starts with real documented plans and projections. Without them you can not properly understand your options and determine your best course of action.
Someone once told me that most millionaires average 7 forms of income. I guess that means they have learned to delegate, and leverage their time, and money.
I've put too much faith in the economy or into businesses that were paying me 6 figures, and seemed invincible. I've regretted being too dedicated to one business at a time.
Now, I believe I need 1 income for regular living expenses, one income for fun and travel, one income for future security, and at least a couple of residual incomes just because I can. Some people multi task better than others.
It can be overwhelming at times to figure out how to start. One thing that seems to hold true in almost any start up is this. How soon will you start seeing a return on your start up investments. Find out which one of your ideas can start generating income. Once that is established then you can move on to the next, Make sure that you have money coming in before you jump to another idea. I am sure you might have heard ," Jack of all trades and master on none."
At the end of the day, have a solid business plan and get started on the on that can put money in your pocket. Cheers.
I did that 30 years ago and put them in a black leather notebook cover. I frequently reviewed my concepts. One by one they started coming to life. I since then opened 6 businesses an sold most.
You can prioritize them as you see fit. Easy ones are a good start however, don't forget the others. Set them up as future goals and keep them in front of you. I still have me original handwritten papers of concepts in the same leather notebook that i proudly review.
If you truly want to do them all. Me personally would go to the one that will bring in the highest return to enable me to start the others faster no matter how risky it is. I am not at any way telling or suggesting you to do this, it is what I would do personally.
Best of success, Gil
the one that solves the most problems should be the first.
The one that allows your hobby to make you money.. see if this helps
I have the same issue, one business is something I'm trained in and the other is for the love of music.
Start with three factors. Passion, Niche and Low Overhead Cost.
So which business idea best expresses your passion. What you love doing and thinking about 24/7 day and night? You will most likely never tire of building on your passion.
Of those business ideas that represent your passion which have their own niche in the market. A profitable portion of a market that you've identified as having some special characteristic and that's worth marketing to.
It order to breath life in the business it must be funded and have a reliable revenue based in order to grow. Unless your wealthy or can afford to get in debt consider among your passion, market niche ventures those that have the lowest overhead costs.
Next, visit a business plan depository and select the plan that more closely fits your business idea. Download it, edit it, tweak it until you believe your have a working plan for your company. A specialty of ours.
I've struggled with this as well. I would go with whichever one you have the most recent, marketable experience with and are feeling the most confident about, not just because its your dream.