What does it take to start something of your own?

Cover of "Start Your Own Business"
Cover of Start Your Own Business

On Saturday afternoon I met a young woman at the local gym who has four years in academic entrepreneurship training but has yet to start something of her own.

She is now selling subscriptions to the gym to hone her selling skills. After close to five years she still doesn’t have any clue about what she could start herself.

This is the way it goes for many would-be entrepreneurs. She has spent R200,000 ($20,000) to learn how to be an entrepreneur from a so-called top academic institution but still has nothing to show for it. You’d think that completing a degree in entrepreneurship would move you a lot closer to finding an idea to start your own business. But many people just try to get a degree certificate to have some paper behind their name. Yet after completing a four-year entrepreneurship degree you have to pay a lot back if your parents are not financing your education or if you were unable to get a study bursary.

What would you do? Would you put $20,000 into an entrepreneurship education or would you use the money to start a business of your own? The trouble is that it’s a lot easier to secure a loan for completing a university degree (even in entrepreneurship) than it is to find an institution that would finance your idea for a small business.

Why does it take some people so long to come up with a business idea for a new product or service? New business ideas don’t just pop out of the sky and stare you in the face. Sometimes you do need to get some hands-on life experience which will help show you opportunities that you can spin off into a new product or service that would lead to the formation of a start-up business.

Even for someone who is reasonably established and mature coming up with an idea for a new business as a primary or secondary source of income can be elusive. The plain truth is that not everyone has an entrepreneurial eye for spotting business opportunities. Individuals who may have worked for years in a company and are suddenly retrenched may turn to buying a franchise – which is a ready-made so-called business opportunity – and discover that the franchise doesn’t perform as promised. One businessperson didn’t do his homework to assess customer demand in his local market and soon realised that he had bought a lemon. After investing a large chunk of his life savings he had almost nothing to show for it and was in a worse off financial position than when he was retrenched.

Is there really a way to start something of your own without years of academic training in entrepreneurship or experience in business?

Everyone is always looking for a shortcut. It’s not always possible. Yet at Idea Accelerator we use proven business concepts that have worked for other start-ups to help you come up with ideas for a new business as well as carefully and deliberately check out the market potential. It still doesn’t provide a shortcut because even after you have come up with a new business idea you may still need to spend several months establishing market demand through potential customer research, product development and business planning.

Yet we start with a blank slate approach that doesn’t include the baggage from university professors and lecturers who are glued to theories of entrepreneurship that may no longer have any relevance in the real world. Marketplaces are dynamic and ever-changing and with hyper competition business opportunities are harder to identify. Yet they are there and will be identified more easily if you have someone to hold your hand and mentor you through the process.

If you want a system to come up with ideas and accelerate your ideas from concept to market, join Idea Accelerator for concepts, strategy and connections that will help you accelerate your business opportunity. Click here to join. Your email gives you entry to join at no cost.

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