__You can make money, or excuses, but not both…
What do you do when you have an “idea”? I made this comment recently and some of you asked me to make it a full post. When you have an idea, first of all, have the humility to appreciate that the probability that someone else has had the same idea, even before you, is 99%…
So do your research! Even with the best research skills, it should take you months working several hours a day to establish what others are doing in that space. Today, you at least have the Internet. The beauty of the Internet is that you really have an opportunity to do a “global search” into any new idea.
You can look at what people are doing in the USA, China, Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, etc. You will be pleasantly surprised at how universal entrepreneurship really is. Don’t despise looking into places you have not been to, or be dismissive of places you think are “backward” or “too small”!
One of my favorite searches is to look at patents. As a technically-minded person, I love patents and really anyone can read them. Some ideas, of course, are not on the web or patented. This means you must read articles, ask questions, and so on. Not so long ago, that was the only way to do research!
Your research will establish one of two things:
#1. You truly are the first person in the world to have this brilliant idea! If it is an invention or innovation, you must first then seek legal protection for it. There are experts you can find to help you on how this is done. Choose the right one! Once it’s protected then you can go out to seek support to turn it into a business.
#2. Someone else is already doing something similar. As I said above, 99% of the time someone already has this idea, and is more advanced in executing than you.
In business, that’s not the end of “your” idea. You must now look at various other options:
-Are they in your home market, or elsewhere?
-Can you collaborate?
-Can they license you?
-Can you compete?
Often it is not smart to re-invent the wheel, so maybe find a way to work with them, if they are not a direct competitor to you.
In any case, if you are not already in business, then it’s time to start one. Do a proper business plan. #SeniorClass, if you have some good business plan resources, please share them with your fellow entrepreneurs here.
As you put together your plan, be honest in assessing your own skills and capability!
Do you know how to raise money? When was the last time you tried?!
If you have been trying and trying to raise money and you have failed, simply blaming the system as being rigged against you is not always the best response. Sometimes, it may simply be that you don’t know as much about it as you think.
Perhaps you need to find a “co-founder” or even “co-founders”… #Peoplewho have skills that you don’t have.
Investors prefer people who have co-founders. When I started Econet, I realized that my knowledge in raising money for something this big was not enough, so I persuaded a friend of mine who worked as an international banker to join me as a “co-founder”. He became the Finance Director, and held 10%. He was also a great prayer partner in difficult situations.
#GetStarted! Set up a business, however small. Show you are serious.
Investors will come, but only to people who started something!
And please, let me say again! Do not make the mistake of shopping around an “idea”! 99% of the people who do that get burnt, and there is no legal recourse for it!
Unless you are holding an exclusive license or patent, be careful about talking carelessly to people, and writing about your idea openly (even on this platform). Don’t rush to newspapers to declare your plans. The only time I allow our people to make press statements about anything we are working on, is when we are ready to bring in customers. Competitors are real in any business area you enter. They don’t owe you a living.
You have to be quick, nibble, adaptable…and above all smart. Know when to fight, or to flee to a special corner. Nearly every great company out there once had a competitor or competitors that could have eaten them like a snack.
But the converse is also true: Every great company has a small competitor right now that will eventually challenge them and win!
Now is the time to banish all fears and excuses from your #mindset.
You are each stars already, in your own different ways.
Go get started.