Passion is not enough – compact guide in business and entrepreneurship for college and university students

January 2017. Copyright Chesney Bradshaw
January 2017. Copyright Chesney Bradshaw

If you want to form and run your own start-up business, you won’t find it landing up on your doorstep ready to turn the switch. It will take acquiring new knowledge, experience and time and effort. If you’ve never started or run a small business before, there is no other way but to put in the hours.

Where do you start? It all begins with a seed of an idea. Some instant experts claim that an idea is 1% of what it takes to start a new product or service and the other 99% is execution. It’s probably 20% idea and 80% execution. Why do I say this? It’s because you’re unlikely to come up with one promising idea and use it straight off the bat. If you have a look at my book “Breakthrough Ideas”, you’ll see that you need to generate or find several ideas before you come up with something that matches your potential market, your passion and your own skills and knowledge.

“Breakthrough Ideas” gives you several methods of generating and finding ideas. Once you have an idea that you think has legs, you then need to evaluate it. Evaluation involves business planning. You need to go through a checklist to evaluate critical areas such as potential market size, potential market demand, cost of production, competition and how you will market, sell and distribute your product or service.

An important part of evaluation is implementing a pilot or market test to establish whether your target market will actually buy your prototype or sample product. It’s no use ending up with a garage full of products because you never found out if anybody wanted them in the first place.

The next phase will involve business planning on a more in-depth level. That’s not to say that you’re going to write a 25 page business plan. Not at all. You can see a sample business plan in “Breakthrough Ideas” which is one-page long. By in-depth I mean you need to think through various fundamental areas such as your revenue model, business model and delivery to market system. You won’t build anything whether a boat, a house a car or a business without some sort of plan. Yes, it’s not the only way. Some people don’t believe in business plans and if they can do without all well and good for them.

All of what I’ve described takes time and effort. It can be enjoyable and fun if you’re excited about what you want to do and the potential of your prospective business. But you also may need to take stock and decide what areas of your prospective business you will be good at, areas you won’t be able to do yourself in a hurry and blind spots where you think you’re good at something but until you put it to the test in the real world you will suddenly find out that you don’t match up.

A small business owner has to know a lot about business because he or she will most likely end up being responsible and doing everything. Yes, you may get people like marketing experts aboard but for the most of it, especially operations, you will have to do it yourself. You need to know what’s happening in your business and when you come up against obstacles or problems, how to solve them. This business learning could involve a business mentor or short courses or even working in a relevant small business to gain the experience first-hand.

You can do all this on your own or you may want a roadmap and handy guide to help you on your way. “Breakthrough Ideas” covers the fundamentals but in a way and with methods and systems you won’t find elsewhere. It’s a deliberate attempt to share knowledge and techniques from the hard-won experience gained in the real world. It’s unlike anything else you’ve come across before.

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