My brother-in-law recently asked me a question that I tend to get often: “Tell me if you think this is a good business idea…”
“Stop right there,” I said.
He was shocked (but not surprised) that I interrupted him. But I had to. I needed him to answer something for me before he said another word.
So many people love to come up with new business ideas but very few will ever actually act on those ideas. We all know people like this. You may even be one of them yourself. So before I sat through his long-winded description of his brilliant business idea (which it was), I asked him a very simple question.
“If I think it’s a great business idea, and then 100 more people also say it’s a great business idea, would you actually start the business?”
He paused. And then he admitted the truth. “Probably not.”
So if you’re one of these people who sit around coming up with new business ideas, I’ve created a list to determine whether or not you’re likely to act on your idea.
In other words, are you an entrepreneur or a talkrepreneur? I’ve rated the four most common types of people who talk about starting businesses. And I’ll rank their likelihood of being launched because I’m in one of those moods.
Likelihood of Starting a New Business: Miniscule
These people are the most common.
Gadgeteneurs are those who come up with an idea for a new gadget that will supposedly make life easier. Gadgeteneurs typically do not have business ideas. They simply have product ideas. Like a toothbrush that combs your beard while you brush your teeth. Or a coffeemaker that reads the newspaper to you.
But as great as the idea may sound, the gadgeteneur typically doesn’t have the engineering skills to build the product (or a prototype) on his/her own, nor does he/she know anyone who can. So they are typically unlikely to ever start a new business – they’re just seeking confirmation from others that the creative part of their brain is functioning properly.
Likelihood of Starting a New Business: Tiny
Similar to a gadgeteneur, an appateneur is someone who just came up with a new brilliant application for your smartphone. Perhaps one that can assess whether your shirt is properly tucked in. Or one that monitors your heartbeat while you juggle knives. Again, most of these app ideas are just that – ideas. The people who think of them usually can neither develop apps on their own, nor do they want to pay someone to develop the app for them (nor do I recommend). So like most gadget ideas, app ideas die at the cocktail party once the appateneur realizes he has no real chance or interest in creating it.
Likelihood of Starting a New Business: Decent
These people often come from the world of services. And they’re usually spot on knowing there is a demand for the new service.
Consumer A needs to hire someone to do Service X. Consumer A has no easy way of locating the companies that perform Service X. And while there are companies that perform Service X, those companies have no idea how/has no means to reach Consumer A.
So the brokerprenuer comes up with a system on how to connect the two. Think Uber.
These new business ideas are typically created by someone who works in the industry that performs Service X. They have first-hand experience and knowledge of the need to find a new way to reach the consumer. And so he/she wants to create a new way to broker the relationship.
And because all that’s typically needed is a relatively small amount of cash and a tech guy/gal to partner with, it is not unlikely for brokerpreneurs to launch their new business idea.
Likelihood of Starting a New Business – Very Possible
To me, this is where I see entrepreneurs get the most aggressive about starting their own business. They went shopping for something. They either couldn’t find what they were looking for or what they found seemed too overpriced. So they don’t think there’s enough companies out there selling them or selling them at the right price.
Time to pounce.
Starting these ventures can be expensive to start. And the I-Think-There’s-An-Opening-in-the-Marketpreneur may be entering an industry he/she has no experience working in. But as a consumer of this product, he/she still feels qualified to get into the game and solve the problem that exists. Of all the entrepreneurs I meet, this tends to be the category I meet the most.
It should be noted that when my wife and I founded The Tie Bar, we entered under Category 3. And while I had previously thought of other ideas that fell under Categories 1 and 2, there’s no question that Category 3 is the only one I ever acted on.
So Mr. Somethingpreneur, Stop Talking About It And Get Started
Regardless of what category you’re in, if you’re serious about starting your own business, I recommend a short list of advice:
Give yourself a timetable with deadlines. If your plan to start a new business is open-ended, you’ll never actually start it. And depending on your idea, technology may change or someone else may be the first to market with it. So create a calendar of things to do to launch your idea and stick to it.
Get the hell out of the way. Stop analyzing. Stop asking for everyone’s opinion. Stop seeking out a mentor. Stop finding the “right time” of year to start. If the idea sounds as good today as the day you thought of it, get started now.
I promise you - life is a lot more fun being an entrepreneur instead of a talktrepreneur.