I have passion for a lot of things. How do I know which one I should really chase?
A: We all want to do something we love for a living, but how do we determine which of our passions can become a successful business? Fortunately, there is a formula for determining if an idea is a viable opportunity.
It is a two-step process.
- First you look at the idea itself and see if it meets the criteria for success.
- Second you examine the industry to see if it is an attractive field for launching a new business.
If you launch a true opportunity in an attractive industry, your chances of turning a passion into a viable business go up dramatically.
A true opportunity
Most of us have several things we are passionate about. The trick is to pursue the one that has the strongest probability for success. Start by evaluating each of your passions against the criteria for a true business opportunity.
Here are the critical components:
- Need – you have to obtain first hand evidence that people really need your product or service.
- Experience – you need to understand the industry from working in it or from regularly using the products.
- Resources – you have to cobble together the resources to create an initial prototype of your product or service.
- Customers – you have to find customers who are ready to buy your product as soon as you launch your venture
- Model – you need a sound business model where pricing, costs and margins allow you to make a profit.
Marshall Miller is a great example of turning a passion into a true business opportunity. He had a corporate job for eight years that he didn’t like. On weekends to maintain his sanity, he would take to the skies parachuting, paragliding and base jumping.
He and his friends started talking about how they might make a living doing this. They approached GoPro about filming their feats and making the footage available to the company – this was the birth of the GoPro Bomb Squad.
Marshall now has a number of companies that sponsor his jumps. He displays their logos on his helmets and parachutes, and provides incredible footage they use in commercials and custom videos. Marshall has been doing this full-time for nearly 10 years and is one of the top human flyers in the world. Here is a video we taped of him for our book, Main Street Entrepreneur:
An attractive industry
The second factor for turning a passion into a business is to launch in an attractive industry. Research suggests that about 30 percent of success in business is a result of the industry you enter – some are more attractive than others. Here are some considerations:
- Size – you want an industry with at least 50 million in sales (which shows it exists), but not more than a billion (which means it is crowded).
- Growth – you want an annual growth rate of 10 percent or more which means the industry is not shrinking.
- Margins – you want gross margins on products of 40 to 50 percent and profit margins of 10 to 20 percent which means it is possible to make money.
- Competitors – you want a handful of competitors but not hundreds which indicates that the market is overly saturated.
- Customers – you want multiple market niches for your product or service as opposed to a single group of buyers.
Here is an example of a thriving company in a great market. David Cann worked on the TV show Battlebots. His future business partner, Marc DeVidts, was a contestant on the show. Dave is skilled in software and Marc has expertise in hardware. They knew that many people are now telecommuting but need regular contact with their corporate office.
They also knew that the consumer robot market is growing significantly (about 17 percent per year). So they created a “double robot” that allows people to be present at office meetings when they are not really there. Dave and Marc put a video about their product on their website and received a million dollars of pre-orders. They have now sold thousands of their double robots. Here is a video we shot of them:
In sum, list the things you are passionate about and see which ones can become true business opportunities. Then evaluate each industry to see which ones have the highest probability for success. When you launch a true business opportunity in an attractive industry, you can create the company of your dreams.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
6 Steps To Building A Million-Dollar Ecommerce Site In 60 Days
Jared Goetz spent only 30 minutes a day and built a colossal Shopify sales machine.
Jared Goetz, serial entrepreneur and member of The Oracles, always had a knack for reaching an audience. At 26 years old, he’s co-founded four multimillion-dollar companies.
Whether he’s throwing the world’s largest foam party with fire breathers and circus acts (“Electric Flurry”) or selling inflatables to college students via viral campaigns (“Dumbo Lounge Sacks”), this serial entrepreneur knows how to turn an audience into a profit machine.
His latest venture, The Gadget Snob, is no different. An ecommerce store that supplies everything from jet-flamed pencils to laser keyboards, Goetz took his business from zero to $2 million in 60 days by plugging into the right audience. That’s no small feat in a competitive industry forecast to surpass $4 trillion in sales by 2020.
Goetz’s secret sauce to reaching the masses? Experimentation. As he explains, “You don’t know what people will respond to until you try a lot of things. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.”
Goetz shares six key components to building his million-dollar ecommerce store and turning profits in less than a business quarter.
1. Don’t reinvent the merchandise wheel
“Many owners think they have to reinvent the wheel with the merchandise they sell,” Goetz explained. Instead, he suggests focusing on products with a proven track record of success. “An easy way to spot a market trend is gauging how a product performs on social media. If an item is getting 10,000 Facebook Likes in less than a few hours, that’s a tell.”
When choosing merchandise, it’s also crucial to differentiate between commoditised and unique products. Commoditised products are widely available. Unique products are less accessible handmade or niche products that aren’t mass produced.
“If you go niche, gauge demand first. Observe what people are looking for. You might be surprised to see what’s selling.”
2. Create a formula, then rewrite it
Ecommerce comes down to a formula, Goetz says, and the outcome is affected by different variables: Product, advertisement, landing page optimisation, and customer lifetime value.
“Once you figure out what produces the best margin, copy that. Most who fail in ecommerce are 90 percent there but haven’t worked out all the variables in their formula,” Goetz shares.
For Goetz, a pivotal variable was drop shipping. “I spent a lot of time bootstrapping my earlier companies. Drop shipping was a game-changer because it allowed me to advertise before securing the inventory, yielding greater outcomes.”
3. Build a legit Shopify store
A successful Shopify store must win confidence. “In the sometimes-fraudulent digital ecosystem, you have to earn a consumer’s trust,” Goetz says. “A money-back guarantee and free shipping guarantee are great places to start.”
Goetz also suggests choosing a theme that’s congruent with your industry. “With branding, you want to look professional, not spammy or creepy.” Gadgets are fun and technical, so his site has bright colours and precise language. “If I were running a men’s fashion store or toy store, I’d change my theme to match the merchandise and brand. Branding is key to converting customer views into sales.”
4. Find winning ads with huge ROI and scale
For Goetz, marketing comes down to one word: testing. “The only way to find out what works is to test it many times,” he says. “Test 10 audiences on each product, so you know where to invest your energy.” For The Gadget Snob, Goetz hired an ad manager to optimise Facebook campaigns. “When you strike gold with a successful ad, replicate it, but scale incrementally to ensure you’re staying targeted.” He suggests increasing ad spend 20 percent per day, not 500 percent.
When building campaigns, it’s also vital to use language that’s shareable and creative. Sales psychology is your friend. From his perspective, classic scarcity techniques have been around for centuries for a reason. “Try incorporating a quantity incentive: if you buy one, it’s full price; if you buy two, it’s 50 percent off and so forth.”
“Creating an email list is also vital. Email campaigns have a higher conversion rate than cold Facebook campaigns, and you can incentivise email campaigns with rewards. You can make money by merely pushing ‘send.’”
5. Hire a VA, then specialists
For Goetz, hiring a virtual assistant was essential to scaling. “At first, my VA helped with everything,” he says. Once his site got off the ground, Goetz hired people with specialised jobs for specific tasks.
He also stresses the importance of universal procedures. “Having clear onboarding processes and procedures is key to growth. Make your systems as easy as possible because while you might have 100 orders today, tomorrow you’ll have quadruple that.”
6. Get your customer support airtight
For a store to operate at full throttle, Goetz stresses the importance of customer support to maximise your profits. “You need your customer support to be airtight and available 24/7,” he says. “Online shopping goes all night and people place orders at all hours.”
To support questions and concerns, Goetz says that live chat and around-the-clock customer service is a must. “In our era of Amazon Prime, customer service expectations have never been higher, he says. “The last thing you want is a minute hiccup or technical goof obstructing a sale.”
Ultimately, ecommerce allows entrepreneurs to reach untapped markets and reap the rewards. As Goetz puts it: “My ecommerce site affords me ultimate freedom.” By following a few basic steps, you, too, can build a Shopify store to run from anywhere in the world, and perhaps even create your own million-dollar sales machine.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
10 Businesses You Can Start Part-Time
Find your perfect match for a successful part-time start-up.
Start your part-time business today
- Public Relations
- Freelance Photography
- Corporate Videos
- Small Business Advertising Agency
- Writing, Editing and Proofreading Services
- Internet Marketing Consultant
- Web Design
- Tax Accountant
- Business Consultant
- Business Plan Consultant
Launching a company – even if it’s operated part-time – is all about drawing on your skills, talents and interests to create a viable business. What you know and what you’re good at form a good basis for a part-time business because these companies either become an extension of what you enjoy doing most or they are based on your strengths.
Working part-time while still maintaining a permanent job is time consuming and often exhausting, so choosing what you take pleasure in or are good at can keep you focused and motivated. The right fit is important when it comes to launching a part-time business. Selling a service rather than a product does not require large start-up costs, which means you can grow your business without financing until it becomes self-sustaining.
Are you looking for a business that you can launch in next to no time?
Corporate Communications & Promotions
Corporate communications covers a host of areas, mainly because this is the sector that takes care of how companies look to the outside world – something that is very definitely a service, but also that is not often taken care of in-house.
If you can write, edit, have a knack for advertising, can take photographs or create promotional and corporate videos, you can offer your services part-time to companies both large and small that are in need of these services.
10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!
Where do you find a good business idea? Right here. Here you’ll find several innovative business ideas that are ripe for plucking.
Where do you find a brilliant business idea?
It’s not as hard as it may seem at first. In fact, the idea is arguably not all that important. There’s a reason investors talk about backing the jockey and not the horse: It’s often not about the idea, but the execution.
A great entrepreneur can turn even a mediocre idea into a success; all that’s needed is a USP and great customer service.
That said, some ideas are undoubtedly better than others. And some businesses are easier to get off the ground. In the following pages you’ll find a curated list of business ideas that have reached a point where they’re just waiting to be exploited.
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