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Top Ideas for Starting Your Own Business

Updated on July 2, 2010

Most employees don’t like their job. You can do pretty well in the corporate world when everyone in the cubicles next to yours hates what they do just as much. There is a spirit of competition between employees and office politics to deal with but in comparison to the world of being a small business owner it’s a walk in the park.

The three major factors that separate someone with an employee’s mentality with someone with an entrepreneur’s outlook are:

  1. Passion for what you do
  2. Courage to take risks
  3. Not lusting for immediate results

We will get into more specific business models ideas later. Before diving into that, it’s imperative that you take a look at the rewards and sacrifices that come along with owning a business. Nearly everyone fancies the idea of running the show, however too few know about the core values that all successful businesspeople share.

Passion For What You Do

Co-founder of Apple Computer Steve Jobs gave an inspiring commencement address in 2005 at Stanford. The main underlying theme was that Steve was guided throughout his career by following his heart. Be wary when teachers, parents, friends or even other business owners give you advice about career direction. Only you can carve out your own path.

Remember that each individual has vastly different interests and passions. When you deny what you love and go for an idea that is safe or has worked for others, you are living in-authentically and putting yourself at a great disadvantage. The reason is that whatever you choose outside of your passion, there will be competitors that love to do what you hate. In short a person with passion beats out the competition because the rewards of a job well done go beyond profits alone.

Founders of Apple in the early days. They got in at the beginning of the PC movement.
Founders of Apple in the early days. They got in at the beginning of the PC movement.

Courage To Take Risks

Taking risks isn’t about waving money around and hoping for the best. It’s about putting everything into a project or idea without knowing what the outcome will be. When you take a risk you venture into new frontiers where few have been and few can follow.

Proven methods may be good for beginners. However, the high competition and inability to get ahead of the pack gets frustrating as you gain experience.

People that think big fall harder when they fail but they also enjoy much larger gains when they got it right. Those who play it safe all the time are merely treading water.

Not Lusting for Immediate Results

Whether an employee cooks fries at Burger King or is an executive at Gucci, the fact remains that working for someone else gets you fast, predictable rewards. When you work a certain amount of hours you make a corresponding amount of money. Although a salary worker gets the steadiest form of payment, the results are much the same. People get used to getting tossed a bone immediately after performing a trick.

People new to small business sometime find it hard to come to terms with the fact they may have to practically work for free before they either perfect their business model, quality of service or gain a large enough client base.

Plenty ideas will fail and largely be a waste of time and resources. This simply cannot be avoided. You can only see if an idea is a winner or not by testing it out. The good news is that when you stumble upon approaches that work you can rinse and repeat ensuring future profits. Failed ideas only cost you in the short-term.

Bob Rook, music lawyer, with James Brown in 1977.
Bob Rook, music lawyer, with James Brown in 1977.

Idea 1 – Combine Two “Unrelated” Abilities

Imagine for a moment a young man named Ben Strand who loved playing in bands during high school. Although music was his first love he later became interested in law, got the necessary schooling, and went on to be a criminal lawyer. Several years later he looked at his Jazz guitar, which he continued to play as a hobby and yearned to be a part of the music business.

Sometimes the best business ideas are a blend of something you love along with a trade you learned out of necessity to earn a living. An excellent spot for Ben would be to start his own music law practice. His combined passion for music and legal knowledge will make him well-equipped to draft recording contracts and advise companies involved in the music business.

Idea  2 – Get There First

Today’s lightening speed technological progress ensures that new jobs and business opportunities will continue to appear well into the future. There is always a period that has the largest window of opportunity for a given sector.

Apple Computer as mentioned above was founded when only a tiny minority of geeks used computers. The market for computers was its most primitive state as computer users had to purchase kits and build PCs on their own. Apple was the first company to make personal computers accessible to the average consumer. Although being among the first doesn’t guarantee success in the future, it certainly helps. It is always best to get started in an area that has huge opportunity (even if only you see it) yet isn’t saturated with competitors.

Idea 3 – Improve Efficiency of Classic Models

Plenty of businesses are lagging behind technological progress and continue to use a dated, inefficient model. Sometimes taking a classic service such as paper printing and simply updating how clients order products, plus revamping design submission, the approval process, and invoicing can give a company a tremendous advantage.

Trade printers 4Over agree to work only with resellers and graphic designers. Orders are made through logging into the system and ordering specific products (business cards, for example), quantities and features such as a glossy varnish. This alone has saved the company an amazing amount of time in client communication. On the backend employees at 4Over have a definite electronic task list in front of them created from data generated by the system. Artwork can be transferred and accepted online, saving the client from driving down to a local printer to sign off on proofs. Everything from delivery requests to invoicing is completely electronic.


This article is intended to inspire you to create your own business ideas based on your current expertise, experience and passions. Dry lists of business ideas are relatively worthless when you consider what you really need to do is look inside yourself for the answer.

Running your own business is not for the lazy or faint of heart. If you have a powerful internal compass and a desire to create new, better ways of doing business you may just be crazy enough to become a serial entrepreneur.


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    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 6 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      Good article. I keep thinking of a hub to detail how long it can take to get a steady base of customers--both with what I'm doing now and when I had a marketing consultancy. I saw a 6-month, 18-month and 24-month mark for expanding the company as important.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 7 years ago from east of the equator

      I'm a new fan and found this article useful for escaping from the harness of unemployment.

    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJ 7 years ago

      Awesome. I have no clue how to run a company, but I'm about to figure it out by running one. I somehow came up with an idea that people think is worth a lot of money, and when I keep mentioning that I do not know how to run a company, people say it's for risk-takers, and I do fit that. I love what you have to say about Steve Jobs. The whole history behind that company is really interesting and no one wear suits there! Their employees are freakishly happy and devoted to that place, it's unbelievable. The ones I know at Apple are like "I Love Apple" robots. Cool company. Great hub!

    • WebTechEngineer profile image

      WebTechEngineer 7 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Hi Sonde79, I like the hub, good stuff!! this is always a thing that it is easier said than done, especially when you have financial commitments like providing for a family. It takes a special set of skills to be successful at having your own business but it can be done !! if you are disciplined enough to set a course and stick with it, the sky is your limit.

      Once again, congrats on a well written hub!

      Thanks for sharing

    • duncanlauder profile image

      duncanlauder 7 years ago from South Eastern PA

      Well said!

      I would like to emphasize leveraging your skills and experience to create a business you are passionate about which has a market that demands your good or service.

      I started my company in the depths of a recession, but with hard work, commitment and honest hard work it has paid off.

    • sonde79 profile image

      sonde79 7 years ago from Canada

      The state of local business is horrible where I live (Windsor, Canada). I constantly see new signs go up on old buildings. It’s like an endless cycle of failure.

      A friend started ranting to me about a greek restaurant that used to be a favourite spot. Once known for some of the best authentic gyros in the city they now had a version that tasted like a gyro kit you get at the supermarket (with skimpy toppings). He was literally heartbroken.

      Sounds mundane enough but it got me thinking about restaurants that have failed, those that are struggling and those that are thriving in a recession locally.

      When times are tough the misguided restaurant owner increases the price enough to make an impact on loyal customers. Either that or s/he will give you a skimpy or second-rate meal (cost cutting). Consumers won’t put up with getting “less” for long and ultimately the place will lose loyalty and business.

      Those strong enough to give “more” when things are tight thrive. They stand out among the crowd and get the volume since they are putting the customer first, who are more value conscious than ever.

      Beyond that it’s about creating relationships to increase volume.

      I thought of a sushi restaurant with fabulous owners that won me over and made me a lifetime customer. If you are ever in Windsor, go to Hikari. They are incredibly social, treat those they meet as a friend, and go above and beyond the call of duty. It’s a place where I love to splurge. No matter what I seem to do, the chef will prepare something special, comp us drinks, give my friends and I passes to the club and even hang out with us.

      That will make anyone feel special even though it is easy to realize the owner does this with many other customers. Then again, his actions always come across as genuine, not like some business strategy. It’s just as much about enjoying life as it is about doing good business for Richard.

      If you take the leap and are generous with your customers not all reciprocate. Those that do will make up for it by far themselves and refer friends.

    • SwiftGlassEater profile image

      SwiftGlassEater 7 years ago

      Well said! I'm chest-deep in the murky waters of launching my own budding business and it can be an intimidating process, you just gotta keep thinking positive and never let your knife edge dull! I think the silent killer of self-starter businesses would falling victim to routine. You can always learn new things and apply new tactics! Good hub! Keep it up!

    • LeanMan profile image

      Tony 7 years ago from At the Gemba

      What ever business you decide to go into, take as much advice as you can get; you may be surprised as to what help there may be available for you. Talk to local government business support people who not only can give you advice but can also often point you in the direction of sources of funding and grants and other help to get your business off the ground.

      Talk also to the business managers in a couple of local banks who can be great sources of information and leads to additional support.

      But most importantly, go for it!!!!