All award-winning entrepreneurs have had a dream and followed it, turning their ideas into a commercial success.
There has never been a better time to follow your dream and turn it into a reality. Having a dream is the key, the starting point. Do you have that new product in mind? Are you ready to go? Then I say, full speed ahead. Go for it now!
Sadly, I have seen scores of individuals who have had a terrific idea but, for whatever reason, they were unable to follow the dream to start and grow a new enterprise. Whatever the reason, they never left the couch and the dream died.
Great companies have been built by innovators who saw an opportunity and had an inspired thought about how they might meet customer needs.
Most entrepreneurs tell me ideas come as if they were mining for gold. They sift through thousands of dull stones until they find a bright one. The key is to start the process with a broad funnel of possibilities from which pure gold will be collected at the narrow, filtered end.
I recommend investigating the following: distributive technologies, new resource discoveries, demographic changes, lifestyle and taste changes, economic changes, calamities and government rule changes.
Each of these categories contains unique niches with profit potential. In addition, innovators might consider product improvements, better pricing, enhanced service and other channels of distribution.
New product and service ideas might come as you listen to buyer complaints and wishes. Potential customers in your industry are the most common source of new product ideas.
Your next step is to do your homework and determine the best opportunities.
After your research with a target audience and the initial development of your idea, it's time to visit once again with potential customers. You might ask, "Will this idea/product be a solution to your need? Would you buy it? What would you pay for it? Where would you buy it? What improvements should be made?"
With this information in hand, I suggest you return to your lab, garage or office to act upon what you have learned. Once you are ready with the next iteration, contact potential customers again for response to the changes you have addressed. Repeat this process until the customer is ready to buy.
The idea I had to start MarketStar, the company I founded and led for nearly two decades, came to me while I worked as president of a startup company known as Net Line Inc. Our young firm needed people to introduce and promote our technology products to computer dealers nationwide.
We called them on the phone. We contracted with manufacturer reps. We met with them at trade shows. We advertised in trade publications. None of these things worked.
Then one day we decided to hire and train electrical engineering students from nearby universities to visit computer dealers during their summer vacation. With this effort we began to see some traction, but stopped when the company ran out of money.
Happily for me, I had a moment of inspiration. If Net Line needed sales assistance, why wouldn't other startups need the same help? I began contacting small technology companies to learn if they would pay for temporary sales reps to promote their products.
The answer was "Yes," and we were off to the races. Now, nearly 24 years later, MarketStar is a global business with several thousand employees that generates more than $8 billion in sales per year for our clients.
Do you have an entrepreneurial dream? I'd love to hear from you. Visit www.AlanEHall.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.