Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Choosing a business

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     It seems everybody I've ever met has dreamed of starting a business. It's a common phenomenon. Then the dream gets lost in the weeds.

     They think about a dozen different businesses. This might work, but I don't have the money. That is a good idea, but I don't know enough about it. Gradually they talk themselves out of every possibility. 

     In short, weeks turn into years and they keep showing up at their day job. It's easier than making the break. And, besides, I'm too old to start a business. 

     Your age has nothing to do with when you might start a business. Neither does money. You can still start a business in your home, in your spare time, with little money. 

     Starting a business has to do with you, your passions, your interests. You can start a business built around the things that interest you.

     If you are interested in something, others are also interested. They represent your market. The business you establish brings together your passion with the marketplace. Your business matches your interests with the interests of customers and clients.

     Easy examples: (1) Jason collected post cards--you know, the picture post cards showing buildings and bridges. They were popular 50 and 100 years ago. Every city and town had post cards showing the sights. Jason's day job was in accounting, but his nights and weekends were spent chasing down small collections of post cards. When his collection numbered over 10,000, Jason quit his accounting job and spent full time buying and selling post cards--at conventions, on eBay, and directly to other collectors. (2) Roberto had many LPs from the early days of rock, blues, and pop. He was passionate about the sound that LPs produced and had several stereo systems on which he played them. His LPs dated from the 1950s to the 1990s. Suddenly he discovered that there was a wide spread interest in older LPs. He set up a website and put the word out on social media. Today, Roberto's business supports his family. He sells to a marketplace that is world-wide. (3) Jennifer has done a similar thing with beer cans and bottles. (4) Margaret concentrates on items made of glass. (5) Bill is into old tools. (6) Jon turned his matchbook collection into a business.

     Harder examples: (1) Ruth turned her interest in gluten-free foods into a small store that offers all sorts of food specialties. Her customers are people who want nut-free, sugar-free, GMO-free, lactose-free and other foods. (2) Carl is one of Ruth's suppliers. He set up his bakery to provide the types of foods that health-conscious customers wanted. (3) Gwen decided that pizza had another life. She set up her pizza shop with all imported inputs. Her oven came from Italy, and the flours, tomatoes, garlic and herbs come from there as well. 

     Your small business might never turn into a Microsoft or Apple, but the principles are the same. Do what you are passionate about, target the marketplace, and never look back. 

     Choosing the business to go into is not an easy task. But you always begin with yourself. Start with what you're passionate about and build out from there to find your market.      



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