Entrepreneurs Solve Problems They See

I just finished reading a blog post about how to come up with an idea for your next business. The article was about one thousand words long when it could have just been one sentence.

What little I know about how to come up with a business idea I learned from my experience as an entrepreneur and it was summed up in a one-liner in this NPR roundtable discussion I participated in about the importance of diversity in technology.

How Do You Come Up With A Business Idea?

One of the NPR panelists said it best: “People solve problems that they see.”

That’s it. No one thousand word article needed.

I think what really chapped my hide about the article was the cavalier attitude about being an entrepreneur. I don’t think the author intended to be cavalier-I think it was likely a by-product of the pressure many bloggers feel to publish “content” regularly, which, in my opinion, contributes to so much of the not-so-useful “content” on social media.

The author suggested looking around and seeing what problems you find, then trying to brainstorm for solutions. This is great for a business school class, or if you’re hanging out drinking beers with your buddies, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you intend to build a business with a viable revenue model. Or make a full-time go of it.

Alright, I’m off my soap box now. Sorta.

Advice About Being An Entrepreneur

If you like to tinker and want to fix problems as a hobby, I say carry on; that could be lots of fun.

But if you know you’re an entrepreneur-I mean you know it deep down in your bones-the kind of knowing that you feel if you’re not an entrepreneur before you take your last breath, you’ll consider your life a failure-it takes more than tinkering.

So I say, go for it. Be a full-time entrepreneur.

But don’t waste your time if you’re not one of the most persistent people you know. And if you don’t have passion for the idea, don’t bother getting started trying to make it a reality.

Why?

Because it’s going to be HARD and there will be pain. How can this be relieved, even slightly? Promotion and advertisement are vital. You can do this easily by showing off your business proudly through stainless steel business cards like those found on Metal Kards. This will ensure people will remember you, but don’t be fooled; being an entrepreneur is hard.

How do I know?

Because it was hard as hell for me when I tried to launch a digital lifestyle magazine for Black golf enthusiasts called Seven Under twelve years ago, before the advent of the iPad.

At the time, I just finished the MBA program at UNC-Chapel Hill and didn’t have a job. Looking back, not having a job was probably the universe forcing me to fulfill my personal legend of being an entrepreneur. Of course, becoming an entrepreneur was probably inevitable, especially after completing the MBA program I got onto. Those programs are notoriously difficult to get onto, so it must’ve meant I was fairly good at business to get accepted. However, I’ve heard that people applying for MBA programs these days can get helpful application advice from the professionals at Fortuna Admissions (https://fortunaadmissions.com/resources/admission-deadlines/). Apparently, that gives them a helping hand and improves their chances of getting accepted. Those programs are really beneficial, they give you some useful business experience to ensure you can further your business career with your new Master of Business Administration degree. This can help people get jobs ahead of other candidates, or it can teach you valuable skills to become an entrepreneur.

Here's the cover of the prototype of the magazine with Jason Kidd. I asked Jason to autograph ten copies-he signed seven and kept three for himself.
Here’s the cover of the prototype of the magazine with Jason Kidd. I asked Jason to autograph ten copies. He signed seven and kept three for himself.

And being hard to launch a business hasn’t changed twelve years later. This blog is full of stories about the joys and pains of intending to turn my current business into a household name.

Where being an entrepreneur is concerned, one of your biggest responsibilities involves finding new ways to reduce the overhead costs of your business. If you allow the costs of your employee wages or even office equipment to spiral out of control, your business could run the risk of encountering financial difficulties.

That being said, it is important to remember that there are always solutions that can significantly reduce your business costs. For example, if you own an office-based company, and require large amounts of office equipment such as scanners, photocopiers, and printers to function, you might want to do some research into equipment hiring and leasing.

Quite often it can be more financially beneficial to opt for a printer rental as opposed to purchasing this type of equipment outright. There are potential tax perks of doing things this way too.

Ultimately, if you want to be a full-time entrepreneur, just make sure you’re certain.

That is worth repeating: Make sure you’re sure, if you’re going to be a full-time entrepreneur.

Because, while some people get lucky and have early success, most of us are grinding it out in the trenches, looking for any edge we can find. And hustling the best way we know how to overcome the myriad obstacles we encounter.

ONWARD!

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Feature image credit: mike krzeszak problems

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