Building a solid business of your own requires learning from the successes and occasional failures of those who've come before you. Every piece of advice, every lesson learned and shared by other entrepreneurs, brings you closer to realizing your goal.
With adequate doses of entrepreneurial effort and customer appeal, almost any innovative idea can be transformed into a successful business. Once you decide that entrepreneurship is for you, it's time to brainstorm and come up with the business idea that matches your likes, dislikes, interests, abilities and dreams.
As a fledgling entrepreneur, your goal is to discover the type of business that fits you--and your customers' wants and needs--best. Typically, this involves conducting a thorough self-assessment to identify the things you do best and the activities you love to do. From there, generate a list of business ideas that incorporate these items in some way, and narrow the list down to the one that promises to maximize your future happiness--and your future profits.
Before deciding on the business that's right for you, keep in mind that customers are the most important ingredient in the recipe for entrepreneurial success. This means that if you choose to offer a product or service that customers don't want or need, there's no opportunity to succeed. Think carefully about the type and quantity of potential customers who exist for your product or service. Consider the range of other businesses that are currently serving those customers' needs, and decide how your offering will distinguish itself from those competitors, and how it will be able to compete aggressively.
Since each person chooses their "perfect business" in dramatically different ways, we've found three entrepreneurs who have agreed to share their stories about how they came to settle on the types of businesses they started. Over the next 12 months in this column, these entrepreneurs will return to share other specific details about building a successful business.