I grew up in a coastal village where the people borrowed cups of sugar and flour when money had run out. I got so hungry that I would buy a slice of bread and a small packet of crisps from the corner cafe, stuff the corn chips in the bread and eat it to keep the hunger down. The church helped us and our neighbours when our fathers squandered the household money on liquor.
I caught fish off the harbour wall, learned to survive among the street kids and made it through school on the money I made from catching and selling fish from the commercial fishing boats.
After school I joined the navy where I became a diver and later diving instructor. Before I was discharged from the navy I had two serious work choices: to go into fishing full-time or become a newspaper reporter. I chose journalism. A few years as a business writer opened the world of entrepreneurial business to me. I studied at night for a degree to get into the business world. I got my first job with a bank and then a food manufacturer, which was about the most exciting business I could work in at the time.
One day my boss called our team together to tell us he had been fired by the recently appointed CEO. All of us were to be retrenched. Along with almost 100 others we were all to go. It was a terrible shock and betrayal. I worked then like I had never worked before. I came up with new ideas, set up three sideline businesses, identified myself as a lecturer and took a small business skills course not once but twice until I could run a business in my sleep.
I became hungry for answers. I studied creativity, idea generation, product development, learned from mentors and graduated with an MBA. I helped other entrepreneurs start something of their own from scratch.
Soon I realised that there was a need for guidance on turning ideas into a business. I interviewed entrepreneurs, dug into startup research, read a mountain of business success and failure stories. I discovered tried and tested idea generation methods and worked out a sensible approach to developing and implementing products and services.
Many people want to start their own business but are too afraid. We’ve all heard how small businesses fail, how risky it is and what can go wrong. Yet we see many thousands of business people succeed.
It can all begin with a new idea. But a new idea alone can’t generate income or revenue. The myth is that all that separates you from a million is one good idea. Creativity is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for success. It takes guts, daring and detailed planning to materialise your idea from concept to cash flow.
I believe anyone with the desire, passion and love for what they do can come up with an idea of their own for a product or service to form a new business. If you have reached the crossroads where you want or need to start something for yourself, then let “Breakthrough Ideas” be your mentor and guide.
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