The Guide: Part 2: Get Smart!

After you have conceived an idea that can be turned into a business, it is time to explore it further. The most important element is your own qualifications for the business, meaning your knowledge of its functioning and running. This can come naturally, such as forming a finance firm after you have majored in economics or finance, or starting up your own medical office once you have obtained your diploma (and some experience) in medicine, or even starting a business based on the skills passed down on to you by your parents. Skill and knowledge in the business activity one is about to endeavor into is just as important as one’s entrepreneurial and management skills, since a company always starts with one employee – the founder. Ideally, you should engage in a business activity in which you have some expertise, but if that is not the case and your desire to enter the business is considerable, start acquiring knowledge.

Living in the age of information, we are supplied with a prodigious amount of information on a daily basis. Since our time is very limited and precious, we wish to use it only on the best pieces of knowledge, thus maximizing our productivity. Since the task of extracting the best information out of a virtually limitless supply can be daunting, I’ve developed several steps one can undertake in order to use his or her time most effectively.

  • Identify the key speakers and leading figures in the field of interest. Whether it’s Steve Jobs for computing, Jeff Bezos for online retailing, or Warren Buffet for investing, every segment of the economy has leaders that built empires with their skills and characteristics. Study the unique qualifications that made these individuals so successful, and try to incorporate them into your own abilities and personality.
  • Identify the top books by these speakers. The majority of top-notch businessmen and successful entrepreneurs write books to educate the people that wish to follow their steps. Most of these books contain valuable insights, but with precious time in mind – be sure to make a selection before dedicating your time and energy.
  • Search the Internet. Sites and blogs that specialize in informing and educating about the business you wish to enter are wonderful sources of info.Still, given the amount or information available on the Internet, a selection is vital. You may trust what the search engines say is top rated, but yet again some independent exploration cannot do any harm.
  • Talk to someone already in the business. A direct, first hand recount about the business is often an excellent way of finding out more about it. This step can be undertaken after you have garnered some knowledge of the business, as it is an opportunity to ask questions. The problem arising here is where to find such an experienced professional willing to dedicate some of his time. A strategy would be to call-up several successful firms and ask for a 10 minute meeting with the executive or someone in charge, explaining that you want to find  out more about the business. I can confidently say that you will get much more NO’s than YES’s, but it’s worth the try. Even if you get a NO, persist in the calls because you might eventually get a YES (as Charlie Sheen did in the legendary movie Wall Street – a must see for all interested in finance).  If you do get a YES, show up exactly on time, ask your questions, and leave after the 10 minutes have passed. This way you can find out more, connect with some business leaders or insiders, or maybe even get offered a job. (See Brian Tracy – Creative Job Search -
  • The best way to get to know a business is experience. Finding a job in the trade in which you are interested may seem impossible, but it’s the source of the most valuable and applicable knowledge that can be obtained. After attaining some skills and insights about the nature of the business, a confident decision can be made concerning your own start-up.

Your idea may project a genuinely new type of business, but chances are even that innovative business can be pinpointed to a branch of the economy already in existence, so the steps still apply. In addition, as you research your idea, be sure to pay attention to how you can differentiate, meaning what would you do differently to distance yourself from competition and offer something compelling to consumers. We will return to this idea of differentiation in subsequent posts when we will analyze promotion and marketing strategies.

Knowledge, skills and perseverance are crucial to any success. Get smart!

The next post will venture into techniques to finance and officially start your business.

Ljupcho Naumov


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