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Have An Idea? Starting A Business? STOP! Read This Article
Jim Hart





   As a business consultant I am asked a lot of questions about success, especially from younger clients from age 25 -35 who are loaded with ideas and the youthful enthusiasm but lack experience. My answers are usually the same each time…you have to have a good idea, a written plan backing that idea and enough business knowledge to deal with the issues surrounding start-up launch and rollout. And that's where things get a little shaky for most people. They have the ideas. They have the enthusiasm. But they don't have a realistic written plan (if they even have a plan) and they lack true knowledge and experience.

Most people starting in business have never written a business plan and/or don't have enough business acumen to write one correctly. Specifically, they lack real world business education and experience. These same entrepreneurial-types virtually always over estimate sales and under estimate costs. They don't have a firm grip on management, marketing, advertising, human resources and accounting, law or finance. They have a lot to learn and will waste time and money on costly mistakes to gain hard learned and expensive lessons.

And the complexity of an idea kills many projects before they get off the ground. I have heard every “business opportunity” under the sun for manufacturing, distribution, retail sales, borderline scams and on and on and on… and my conclusion is this:

KISS—keep it simple stupid. Keep you start up costs low and human resource requirements at a minimum. The more intellectual your product or service, the more involved you will be in the day to day grind of work product output. You want to be able to clone yourself. You want your business to be so simple a monkey could do it. Let me give a quick example: Lets say you want to set up a mortgage company. In this case, you have to know a lot about a lot and your staff will have to know a lot about a lot and these educated people are going to want a nice big fat juicy payroll. Whereas, a business like an oil change company hires people with little or no education to simply drain car oil—a monkey could do it! The result is a number of successful business franchises. Simple process, low paid employees.

Then I tell people, before you run off and look for your big success with a new idea stop and think about how you can make money doing something simple, something you can clone, something with low start up costs, something you can test quickly and easily. Something like; “washing residential and commercial windows”. Why window washing? What's your up front start up costs? All you need to get started is a bucket, a squeegee and some cleaning fluid! Then, go sell. If you were the company washing all the commercial windows between Chicago and Detroit you would be a millionaire. And a monkey can do it.

The problem here is, like every business, making the sale. But remember something; if you create a new product or service, you will have to spend time “educating people” about your offer before you can sell it. That's twice the work. Do something they are already familiar with--that way you can spend your time selling rather then educating and selling. Something like washing windows. I don't care what your business or idea may be; if you can't sell it, the project will fail.

Copyright © 2006 James W. Hart, IV All Rights reserved

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