Why Your Next Business Won't Start as a Great Idea

Starting a new business - P1030459.JPG
Flickr: Lars Ploughman

If you are like many of us and fed up with the state of the economy today and the prospects for job growth, starting a new business can be a really appealing option. However, for the same abysmal economic reasons, you may be nervous about your lack of a breakthrough idea that will guarantee your success.

What many new start ups fail to realize though is that true innovation and many of the million dollar industries out there are not as simple as a “man with a plan” mentality.

In fact, the likelihood of finding the next big thing is so slim that it’s not worth the investment at all. Instead, you are far better off taking a systematic approach to your industry and working from there.

Making “Little Bets”
In his book, Little Bets, author Peter Sims discusses this phenomenon in detail. Basically, through extensive research he has found that some of the greatest ideas and businesses of our time, such as Apple, Amazon and Pixar Studios rely far more on small risks than on big ideas.

Sims thesis is that through making little wagers in terms of time and money, entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed since they will be able to quickly fail without losing too much.

Once you learn from a failure, the key is to pick up the pieces and make another small wager to see what develops. By looking at a problem from this angle, we begin to depart from the traditional thinking encouraged by schools that places logic over creativity and stifles a lot of innovative growth.

"The Brain Show"
Flickr: TEDxPioneerValley2012
Changing Your Thought Pattern
We all remember the problem solving schemes we were presented as students, especially those of us with business degrees. Most of the time, tackling a problem in the workplace involved a look at the macrocosmic as well as microcosmic elements that created it and developing a detailed action plan.

While this method can and does work in a lot of managerial situations, it is not the answer for innovation. If you are looking to start a business, tackling a great problem with a one-stop solution is not easy and the answer will not magically appear.

Basically, you need to start small. Comedians, for example, will test new jokes and routines in front of small audiences, gauging response and overall impact and making necessary changes before presenting a new act in a large venue. This remains true even for the most famous among them.

In this same light, you need to find small venues in which to tackle a business problem and find cheap, easy solutions to small elements before making large investments in time and energy.

Just like a comedian cannot afford to bomb a joke in front of a sold out Las Vegas crowd, you need to make sure that any investment you make in this sour economy has been tested and vetted before “jumping in.”

Start Small and Start Now
The good news about this method of action is that it doesn’t require dropping it all tomorrow and taking a major risk in terms of your livelihood. If you are serious about your next business venture, you can start with your first “little bet” today and then work from there.

By making changes to your approach and learning though fast failure you can begin to refine your ideas and then move towards success. You also have the added benefit of maintaining your current job as a means to supplement your experimentation and eliminate the total risks involved in starting a new business.

Starting a business means hiring someone, and nothing is quite so important when hiring someone as making sure they aren’t a criminal. If you want your business to succeed, you have to know that you can trust the people working for you.

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