Saturday, June 1, 2013

Stop Searching for 'The Next Big Thing:' Tips for Building the Best Business for You

As driven as you might be to launch the next Google, Apple or Facebook, the process of identifying a great idea can be intimidating. Many would-be entrepreneurs become so concerned with creating “The Next Big Thing” that they become paralyzed and can’t progress.

That’s obviously not a good predicament. Here are five steps for seeing past your thirst for greatness, and instead simply building a great product and company:

1. Recognize your skills. The avenues to internet success inspire many young entrepreneurs. Few of these individuals are focused on the “big idea,” however. They’re interested in how they can use their knowledge and skills to build a viable business.

Are you a programmer with creativity to spare? A skilled marketer? Identify your strengths and aptitude level for diving into the necessary marketing -- and possible fundraising -- needed to launch. Once you assess your skills, you can begin to think about what your “big idea” is and work toward it.

2. Identify an opportunity. While some businesses may launch with an idea that’s revolutionary, many globally-recognized entrepreneurs achieved success by simply identifying a solution to a problem. It might not sound as glamorous as the lightning rod of inspiration, but a viable solution to a common obstacle is the basis for targeting an audience. How can your insight or technology skills improve others’ lives or make tasks more efficient?

3. Analyze the market. Your road to success might be built on improving upon something that already exists. Examine your market and any similar ventures you can learn from to help shape your business. Just consider the example of Facebook. The social network was created after MySpace, and, before that, Friendster already existed. We all know how the story ends, but it’s worth mentioning that Facebook’s contributions, though seemingly small by comparison, served as a spring board for the company’s ascent.