Friday, July 17, 2015

Starting a business

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     A lady once came to my office looking for advice on "getting into business" and she was confused. She had some ideas, but she was getting advice that was all over the place.

     All her friends had advised her on what business to get into. Her accountant advised that she should wait for a better economy. Her lawyer advised several different ways to establish an operation. Family members had all sorts of ideas for the type of business she should pursue.

     Turning all the advice over in her mind, she was stymied. It seemed that her own ideas got lost in the shuffle.

     To cut to the chase, I asked "What are your interests?" That was when I saw her eyes light up. It turned out that she had a hobby doing pottery. She had a small workshop in her garage where she turned out pots and experimented with glazes. Something was always in her kiln, and she rushed home every day to her workshop.

     This short conversation marked the launch of her small business. Suddenly she saw a pottery-making business in her future. And she went on to concentrate on what she loved doing--and turning it into a business.

     All the advice she had previously received fell into place. All the reasons not to proceed became irrelevant. All the pitfalls lying in wait disappeared. She was now focused. 

     Some business ideas bring other considerations to the table. Lack of space, lack of experience, lack of funding, lack of confidence, lack of a market out there awaiting you.

     But it has been my experience that just about any idea or interest can be turned into a viable business. You might not grow to the size of Apple or General Motors or BankAmerica, but you can structure a small business around any idea. 

     Products and services are in constant demand by the vast marketplace that surrounds us. Consider fitness, catering, landscaping, foods, therapies, collectibles, clothing, consulting--the list is endless. 

     If you are interested in something--anything--then others are interested as well. They represent your market. The need for products and services is out there. Your job as a small business owner is to find your market--doing the thing you love to do. 

     The lady who built a business making pottery has been very successful. Her special glazes have tapped into a market that continues to grow. Her pots and other pottery today sell for big bucks. It took several years, but during all that time, she loved what she was doing. 

     Always consider the advice you get. But weigh it against your own interests and the marketplace. If you don't sell anything, you're pursuing a hobby--which can provide enjoyment. But if you pursue your hobby with an eye to the marketplace, you're on your way to establishing your business--and this provides enjoyment as well. 

     Matching your interests to the marketplace forms the basis for a business. It's a double-edged sword that cuts both ways.    

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