Entrepreneurship: Getting Started
I started my company (EMJ) from the trunk of my car (and it was a small trunk so that’s a small business). I grew EMJ to $375,000,000 in sales prior to selling it to SYNNEX. I am now CEO of a $1 billion business. My successful blog at (jimestill.com) generates a lot of comments and questions. I want to share one of these thoughtful questions with you, and share my answer.
The question: "First off I just want you to know all I'm asking for is advice, which is the most valuable thing I can get right now. I have been working in a field of interest for many years now as a hobby. I've always had many very good ideas but I never had the resources to make them happen. I always figured it was because I was too young. Now I'm older, I have a job and I'm plagued with the same problem.
I'll have a great idea but it will usually be out of my range because I either do not have the technical ability, the funding or resources to make the idea I vision happen. My most recent plan evolved from my experience running similar websites, I found there was an un-fulfilled need. I decided to start judging the need for what I was offering so I did my homework and contacted over 130 other similar sites. Within a day I had 20 sites interested in what I had to offer. That's great and all but those 20 sites generate about 6 times the traffic I could handle. So once again I'm in the same position. I do not have the resources I need to properly execute my idea. My basic question, what is the best route to take when you have a great ideal that is more then you can handle. A little more about me, I'm 23 years old, I have been running web sites and involved in the industry for around 6 years. I have a good paying job in another industry which makes it even more difficult to make the "jump".
Thank you for your time." My response: 1 - There is never a right time. Entrepreneurship involves risk. This means yous sometimes need to just jump. This said - I always say "fail often, fail fast, fail cheap" so I always look at the downside. 2 - It is very powerful to be under resourced. It will make you more resourceful and likely allow you to run a leaner more competitive business. 3 - I like to choose opportunities that are the right size for me now. This is a beautiful thing for business - there is always a right size business opportunity for everyone at every size. When you are starting from your basement, you can take a $100,000 opportunity and do well.
Bigger companies cannot do this so will leave you alone. 4 - When the opportunity is too big for me, I consider narrowing my scope. Instead of being the biggest seller of bar code equipment, be the bigger in bar code for warehouses etc. 5 - Consider partnering. It is better to have 10% of something that is worth something than 100% of an idea. 6 - Ideas are a dime a dozen. It is the implementation that counts. How often do you see a restaurant with a line outside and the one next to it goes bankrupt. All the time. Ideas are easy.
7 - I know a lot of people who almost start businesses. They are not successful. To steal from Nike - "Just do it". And do it now. Time is the enemy of ideas and business. Someone else has the same idea. It is the one who perfects it that wins.
Start Next Week Articles
Start Next Week Books