A fashion model in Sri Lanka came up with an idea for a new business when she was selling hair care products to salons and garments from the boot of her blue station wagon. Although she was a successful model her father wanted her to do something in business. Her idea was to come up with a fashionable brand that could cater for both local and international visitors. Now her fashion house is one of the largest and the only publicly listed such company in Sri Lanka.
It all started with a promising new business idea. Some business advisers like owngrading the value of an idea mainly because they are interested in selling their business training and consulting time. But the creativity, the most valuable part, the core element is the idea that comes at the right time. As the fashion house owner who built a business from scratch says, an entrepreneur finds a gap in the market even in a sector that is highly saturated and does something which may never have been seen or done before, or does something differently – something that is correct for that time and for the future. Continue reading “Where do you look for your new business idea that you can turn into gold?”
Some time ago I went to the farewell party of a successful entrepreneur who built up a marketing consulting business over many years. It was interesting to learn how many awards he had achieved over the years for brilliant work and how he had always been able to attract blue-chip clients. But now that he’s in retirement, he has had to set new goals. He will be lecturing at universities, engaging with the media and communicating brand and marketing leadership and helping to nurture young brand leaders.
I came across an artist who built his own home, sells his artwork and gives people private lessons. His life is fascinating because he lives his passion. But it also has a shadow side. He has to keep expenses down to the bone by doing most things himself. He was able to buy his house from his previous job but now makes enough to live on from his artistic pursuits so you won’t need to ever go back to a “regular job”. Continue reading “What is your purpose in starting a new business?”
You may decide to take the plunge and move in a new direction but fear sets in and you find yourself trapped in “death valley”. This state has many different descriptions including depression, being immobilised or paralysed by your fears.
I was in some training the other day where the lecturer asked us to name our favourite colour, give our hobby or passion and say what we would do if we were president of a country. Once everybody had listed their colours, the lecturer mentioned how each colour resembled your personality. Continue reading “Can your favourite colour empower and guide you?”
What have you made yourself? Did you make anything when you were young? Have you thought of making something recently?
If you answered yes to any of those three questions, then you will know what excitement happens when you make something of your own for yourself. When you make something for yourself and you can also find a market, or you have thought about the market before you even made your product or service, you will know how satisfying it can be. It puts your destiny in your own hands.
It’s by no means an easy route to take. I’m not talking here about going into full-scale manufacturing but coming up with something that you can initially do on the side and may lead to bigger things. There is a compelling case for making something of your own. We still live in a world where we sell our expertise and time to someone else. But a growing number of people both young and old have started to make things for themselves. You only need to look at the app developer market to see how many young people have got involved in making apps for smartphones.
I have visited many morning markets around the country and have discovered that both young people and old are making things of their own. Products that have stood out for me recently have been a line of specialised skin creams, smoked products, organic coffee, specialised “cage” dolls beautifully made by a sculptor, and a kitchen sink board for preparing vegetables and salads. Here I am only scratching on the surface because there are so many wonderful products that people have come up with.
Yet, it is tragic when someone comes up with a good idea but is unable for various reasons to execute it or, simply put, put it into action. I came across the example of a school teacher who is retired recently and decided to open a kindergarten. But months later she has not got off of the ground and has been forced into going back into teaching at a school for delinquents in a rough area. You see, this is a typical story. By not taking your life into your own hands you end up settling for second best. This is where you get kicked in the face, where takers steal and confiscate from you and others pass the pennies at the end of a hard year of working. Perhaps this schoolteacher will get her kindergarten going eventually.
If you have never come up with something on your own whether it be a product or a service, meaning either a physical item or an intellectual concept or service, then they are ways to bridge this gap. There are ways to come up with ideas on your own that you can make viable. The is a process for product and service development. Find a system, a method a process that works best for you.
PS Disclaimer: I have started five small businesses from scratch, one of which failed and four which were successful.
I went to a Saturday morning market some time back and was surprised to see a range of hand and body lotions being displayed on a stall that were a cut above the rest. On making enquiries I found out that the lotions which use milk and honey was a hobby business started by a man from the Netherlands. I have a skin ailment so I’m always on the lookout for new creams that provide relief and heeding. After speaking to the owner I discovered that the business had been started as a hobby and then grew into a micro business and subsequently he is selling his products via the Internet and was talking about national distribution. His range was extensive and included woman’s facial products as well as an after-shave balm for men. Continue reading “Hobby entrepreneurs provide first step to starting a micro business”
Creativity often gets a bad rap when it comes to business because people see being creative as wild, chaotic and risky. These are the stereotypes that come with not understanding the role of creativity in taking an idea from a mere thought or notion to a fully realised product, service or small enterprise.
I came across a quote from the famous drawing teacher Betty Edwards in her “The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, “We often describe creative intelligence as “the ability to see things clearly”. When starting out with a new business idea that has potential, you can only get to see whether it’s going to be viable when you learn to see it better with greater precision and fine discrimination. What this means is that creative intelligence is actually the ability to perceive things with greater clarity. Continue reading “Why shun creativity when it can help you see your business idea more clearly?”
Creativity and novelty is applauded by some people and in certain fields but when it comes to the real world of small business creativity gets a bad rap. This is why as a small business it’s better to come up with something that is slightly more new or novel on the market than develop a product or service that is radically different. An old rule of thumb in investment circles says that you shouldn’t invest in something that is more than 15% different or new than is already available in the marketplace. Continue reading “How do you overcome the bias and prejudice against creativity and novelty?”
A person buys a second-hand business. He or she takes the business over from the previous owner and trades. Another person buys the same second-hand business but looks for ways to improve it, create new revenue streams and perhaps even ready it for possible expansion or franchising.