Are you trying to figure out how, if or why you could start a business? As we know, its so important to have a purpose for your business beyond just “making all of the moneys”, and I wanted to share three really big categories with you to help you identify why/how starting a business could be right for you!
1. You see a need and want to fill it!
Many businesses are born from a passion to solve a personal problem, or a global problem or because someone has identified an unmet need in the marketplace.
When you see these businesses, you usually think “Why didn’t I think of that?!”
A prime example of this is the Spanx brand!
The founder, Sarah Blakely, (who, by the way is the youngest self-made billionaire in the world, who started out her career as a comedian and fax machine salesperson), was frustrated that she had nothing to wear under a pair of tight, cream pants, so she invented footless, body-shaping pantyhose!
Pantyhose have existed for years, as have shapewear, but Sarah couldnt find anything on the market to solve her specific issue, so she went ahead and solved her own problem! The really cool thing was that by solving her own problem, she undiscovered that SO MANY women were dealing with the same frustrations, and her initial project of trying making something to wear under her tight pants turned into her billion dollar idea!
These things can be so simple and so negligible that its likely you don’t even notice you’re working around a problem that you could solve each day.
If you’re interested in figuring out what you can solve, try keeping a journal with you and every time you think, “I just can’t find anything to do *this*”, write it down!
Who knows, your next great idea could be right in front of you!
2. To make something better/ improve on an already existing product
Do you ever use something that you just wish was a little bit more functional? Maybe there’s an item you use every day that you’re always like “Man, I wish this *insert item* could do *this* better/faster/clearer/less terribly”.
Many of the world’s greatest inventions have come from changing previous things to make them better (or different). A prime example of this is the saxophone really. Adolphe Sax wanted to make the world of music better with the most amazing instrument ever. So he attached a bass clarinet mouthpiece to an ophicleide and bob’s your uncle! Well, kind of.
Look around you right now. Take in all of the things in the room.
Someone is behind the development of every single thing where you are.
Are you sitting on a swivel chair right now like I am? If not, find somewhere to sit down because I have a story for you that might just blow your mind (It totally blew my mind!).
So, some time in 1774 or 1775, a man was sitting in a windsor chair drafting a document he’d been working on. He was frustrated that the windsor chair wasn’t allowing him to have enough movement, so he decided to solve the issue for himself. He modified his chair by adding an iron spindle between the top and bottom half of the chair, which allowed it to rotate on rollers. Voila! the first swivel chair was born.
I know, I know, that’s not really mind blowing. Bear with me though.
This man was so impressed with his invention, that he used it as he finished writing his important document, and when the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, the swivel chair was reportedly used by its creator when he finished his draft of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Yes, Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair!
You’re totally welcome for this random fun fact. I’m probably going to be telling everyone about it today.
You don’t need to re-invent the wheel to have a great business or product. Elon Musk didn’t re-invent cars. He just made them better for the environment and super cool. Who would have thought an electric car could be cool?! Speaking of cool - have you seen this video of a Tesla car floating like a boat? Seriously.
Its not necessary to create something super new and unique if there’s something staring you in the face that you Just. Wish. Was. Better.
Take that frustration or desire to solve the problem you’re facing, and go from there.
3. Because your unique skills enhance people’s lives
Is there something that you’re the best at in the world? Or in your niche? Perhaps there’s a talent that only you have which you know enhances the lives of people around you.
For example, I offer college audition preparation coaching for high school music students. This is an area which I know I excel in. I know my knowledge and expertise is one of the reason my students have been so successful (I mean, they would have had success without me of course, but I know the areas I worked with them on have enhanced their success).
Are you exceptional at something specific that people need? Perhaps it’s something you’ve been doing for free already because not only are you excellent at it, you also love it.
If this is the case, you’re on a winner! You know your service/skill is desired, you know you’re effective and successful at working with others in this area, and now you know it is something you can explore and possibly even grow into a business.
Of course, not ALL exceptional skills are business-worthy, I’m not so sure theres a market for my ability to select blazers (well, maybe there is?) but it’s definitely something I take pride in being excellent at.
Perhaps you’re looking to start a business to share this exceptional talent? If yes, explore all of the possibilities, find the place that your skill becomes desirable and useful to others, and you just might be onto something!
Starting a business is all about finding your viable idea, and working out how you can create something to improve your world around you.
Don’t focus on the money, focus on the purpose and how your idea can create impact around you.
(IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: Don’t ignore the fact that you do actually need money to start a business, so make sure you have some money coming in to bankroll your idea. Keep your day job and build an idea on the side if you must, an idea will not be able to flourish if you’re worried about how you are going to pay your rent this month, and an instant ramen diet will not help your body function at its highest capacity! )