What happens when you have too many business ideas? This is one of the best and worst problems to have. It’s the best because you have endless options in your career as an entrepreneur. It’s the worst because it usually creates a stall.
I chronically have too many ideas. That’s why I’ve introduced myself as a serial entrepreneur in the past — I wasn’t sure what else to say! While intriguing to the person I’m meeting, it also is vague, which means my networking game was a bit off. I needed to sort through and prioritize my ideas so I could focus on one at a time and grow into the next.
As a wise panelist said at the EntrepreneurYOU Conference put on by the Michigan Women’s Foundation last week, “Start with the idea that will generate income first.” There’s a lot more to it, so let’s start sorting through your ideas to find the best one to launch.
One of my coaching clients has this very problem. She has too many ideas, and doesn’t know where to start. She knows she wants to be a serial entrepreneur, too, but which one is realistic as a beginning?
I started by asking her about her. I wanted to know what her passion is. It’s easy to see when a person lights up during a conversation, and I kept notes as she spoke. Sometimes too many ideas confuse one’s passion — I help sort through all that.
We then talked about her work experiences. What aligned best with what she wants to do? Some entrepreneurial ideas are passion based but not experience based. This is when I say they need to ‘cook a little longer’. Potential customers, investors, and referrers will trust an entrepreneur with more experience in their chosen business area than those that don’t have it. Thus, if you really want to start a interior design studio, but you have no experience, you’ll have an uphill battle.
I also asked her about known startup costs. It’s hard to be 100% sure of the cost of starting until you’re deep in the research, but one typically has a general idea. For example, a brick and mortar business automatically takes greater investment (and likely a Small Business loan) than an online company. Cost of supplies, transportation, and marketing are also all factors.
Finally, we took a look at which business ideas are foundational to the rest of the work she hopes to do. That is, most business ventures have a similar theme that can be built off of, but some (like my web company) are a little off base to the other proposed work (like my nonprofit). Any business experience can be extrapolated to support another business, but the more closely tied one is to the next, the better.
That’s the formula. Passion + experience + cost + business ties = your order of operations. Sounds easier said than done, right? It is, so I created this worksheet to help you. Writing (or scribbling) out your thoughts is one of the most helpful things one can do to sort out their thoughts.
If you’re still not sure which business is best after you’ve used the worksheet, I’m only a phone call away.