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Business Ideas – You’ve Got to Know Where to Find Them – Part 2

Anything under the sun can be turned into a business. You’ve just got to know how to package it correctly, reach the right audience and convince them that they need what you offer.

Take game apps for instance: They didn’t exist in the past, so nobody bought them and people looked for other forms of entertainment such as movies.

Now that they’re here, people still watch movies, but they also buy game apps. Game apps do not prolong human life, eradicate disease, rid the world of hunger or “change the world”, per say, but they were packaged so well, reached the right audience and served 1 easily overlooked human need: Accessible Entertainment.

They were so fresh, and new, and enticing that people snapped them up and made their creators rich.

Digital Downloads & ebooks are another great example. 10 years ago, who would have taught that people would pay for computer files!

My point is that ANYTHING can be turned into a business idea, and then into a business.

However, ideas rarely happen in a vacuum i.e They rarely just pop into your head.

You need to be inspired by something: A movie you watched, a book you read, a kid’s toy…

Also, the initial idea is rarely a success. It needs to be refined many, many, many times. And usually lots of money just gets wasted during the development process. Welcome to the ‘School of Hard Knocks’…

So Where Do I Start?

You can start your search for ideas by listing the daily problems that erk you, and then looking for solutions for them. Even the simplest, smallest problems can lead to the biggest businesses. Movies don’t solve any of life’s “big problems”. They simply serve our need for entertainment. Yet look how big Hollywood is.

What can you do? Can you walk a dog? Can you babysit? You can start by doing these things yourself. Then you can hire others to do it for you. Boom! Suddenly you have a dog-walking agency, or a babysitting agency.

All entrepreneurs are essentially in the business of solving problems. Couple that with loads of passion and you’ve got the makings of a very successful business. It’s not going to be easy, but stick with it and the rewards will be great. It’s much more than money: It’s about building something from nothing and watching it flourish into something of value.

“Do Something Today. Every Brick of Failure Builds The Path to Success.”

Creating A One Page Business Plan

The one page business plan is the key to getting your business started and running quickly.

I’ll get to where the 93.5 inches comes from.

The One Page Business Plan Advantage

Most people start a business without a plan. The ones that do a business plan will sometimes spend months on the plan and never get to starting their business.

I am a huge fan of planning. If you don’t plan, you will never get your business moving forward. That said, you really need to start doing business to make a plan worth doing.

A one page business plan can help you define what you are going to do, who you will do it for and how much you will charge, but it doesn’t get bogged down in five-year financials, etc.

The One Page Plan: When to Use It

If you are going to try to get financing for your business from banks, investment bankers or angel investors, you will need a full blown business plan. At that point, I would recommend that you get a professional plan writer at that point.

If you are simply trying to start a business, you need to make some decisions. Who will you sell to? How much will you sell for? What will be your measure for success? And so on.

The One Page Business Plan: The Questions

This is a list of questions that you need to answer on your one page business plan. Answer them with one or two sentences, in the order I have them here.

  • What product or service will you offer?
  • Describe your average customer?
  • Describe your ideal customer?
  • What will you charge for your product or service?
  • What will it cost to produce the product or service?
  • What will your profit be?
  • What volume (how many sales) will you need to break even (profit – expenses = 0)?
  • How much do you need from the business in order to survive (your minimum income)?
  • What will be your measure of success (your salary, number of customers, etc.)?
  • Is your goal to build the business and work it for years or to build it and sell it?
  • What is your company’s mission statement (based on the information above)?

No answer should be longer than 25 words. In other words, imagine you need to put this information up on Twitter.

The One Page Business Plan: Implementation

The key to your one page plan is the same as everything else I talk about here: Get going. Start now.

Now you know who you want to sell to, how much you want to sell things for and how much you need to do to break even and achieve success.

That’s the map, now take the journey.

The One Page Business Plan: 93 ½ Square Inches of Success

Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Well, the journey of your new business begins with 93.5 square inches, the area of a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper.

How To Turnaround Your Struggling Business

One of the biggest questions I’m asked is “Why isn’t my business doing better?” or “Why, after 3+ years in business am I still struggling?”

The answer is often the same: The business is built on a weak foundation of excuses:

• “I don’t enjoy writing” or “I can’t write”
• “I don’t have time to do all that”
• “It’s overwhelming”
• “I don’t like technology”
• “I can’t afford to hire anyone right now”
• “The economy is horrible”

It doesn’t matter if your business is a coaching or consulting practice, an artist’s gallery, a service provider or a pizza maker, if you’re not doing consistent things to market your business each and every day, you’re not going to be successful (on any terms). Period.

As a quick example, I remember creating a plan with a client to grow her list — step-by-step:

• “do this on this day”
• “call these 5 people and say this”
• “follow these steps in this order”

Note that the plan was created “with” the client.

The client didn’t follow the steps (“too busy”, “didn’t get to it”, etc.) and then complained about the lack of results.

We tried it again. This time the client followed most, not all, of the steps we outlined. Want to guess what happened?

Her list more than doubled.

Why am I sharing this? Quite simply, as inspiration to stop making excuses and start taking action. If we spent a quarter of the time actually doing things as we do making excuses/complaining about doing them, we’d be far better off, as individuals, families, communities and a species overall.

Ready to turn around your struggling business? And if you’re not struggling? These tips will help keep you on track towards reaching your next goals.

First, you need to answer this question:

When it comes to your business:

• Are you committed to it or
• are you convinced you should have one?

Committed business owners find their way up, over, under, through, around any obstacles.

Convinced business owners stare at the obstacles, come up with reasons why they’re there and why they can’t do anything about them and then tell everyone.

Let’s assume you’re “committed”. The following will help you turn around your business:

1. It’s a business, not your life. Know what your priorities are and create your business goals within the parameters of those priorities.

a. Assuming everything else is equal, if you’re committed to work 20 hours/week, don’t expect the same results of someone committed to working 40 hours/week. In summary, be realistic about your goals.

2. Why should clients invest with you versus everything else they could do with their time, energy and money?

a. Again, whether widgets, coaching, consulting, services… the “what” doesn’t matter here.

3. Review your marketing activities. Are you doing enough of the right things consistently?

a. Hint: If you’re not happy with the revenue coming in and the number of transactions (clients, customers, widgets, hours), the answer is likely “not yet”.

4. This isn’t popular, but forget what people say about “don’t trade dollars for hours” or “that’s not leveraged enough” and focus exclusively on getting clients in, giving them a great experience and asking for referrals and recommendations. The rest will come.

5. Do the work. You likely identified several items from the above that you’re not doing or could be doing better. Do them and do them consistently. This will make the biggest difference in your business success.

If you’re “convinced”, it’s time to reassess what you mean by “having a business” and whether or not you truly want one. There’s nothing wrong with getting a job if that would be the best solution for your personal situation, ambition and willingness to make things happen.

My Request to You

Having a successful business takes work. Not “4 hours a week while tangoing your way through Central America” work (unless you have a large team to do everything for you), but rather you, in the trenches, do what you do and educating others about it (aka “marketing”).

Are you reading, willing and able to do what’s required to meet your goals?

Always remember: “Ordinary things, done consistently, create extraordinary and consistent results.”