Ask 100 entrepreneurs about how they started their businesses and you’ll hear 100 different stories about spotting a trend, seeing an opportunity, leveraging expertise, or just trying to get out of a hated job. It’s inspiring that so many people got into business for different reasons but these different reasons actually make it HARDER for aspiring entrepreneurs. Rather than revealing one clear path to success, all these different story ultimately reveal is the potential for many paths to success. It’s no wonder that aspiring entrepreneurs get frustrated at a lack of clarity when trying to break into business.
So in this blog post I want to make it totally simple and clear step-by-step path to start any business.
Step 1. Solve a problem
Successful businesses grow out of a problem. If you have a trick or a workaround or a solution to a problem then you have the seed of a business. It doesn’t even have to be a very big problem, or even a problem that people know they have! (Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
As long as you can identify a problem (one that people feel or one that people don’t yet know they have) you’re on your way to building a business. I’ve written about this in greater detail in my blog post Follow This Simple Rule When Trying To Start A Business.
Step 2. Get paid for your solution
Once you’ve identified a problem that you can solve, it’s not enough to just solve the problem – you need to get paid for the solution! This can be done in a number of different ways – more than I have room to list in this post. Ultimately, you want to find a way to offer your solution to other people and have them hand over their money to you for it… whether you sell it as a product or a service.
The first time you get paid is a “proof of concept”. It’s proof to you that the concept of your solution is valuable enough that other people are willing to spend their money on it.
Step 3. Hustle your butt off!!!
You’ve found the problem you can solve. You’ve sold it at least once. Great! Now do that again. And again. And again and again and again! Hustle your butt off and start selling more and more – more often to the same people (if the problem comes back), and more often to more people to build a wider market.
Don’t underestimate the need to hustle here. This is where many entrepreneurs fall down because they think that starting the business is the fast track to success. And although it might be a faster track than the 40-years-at-a-desk-job track, it still requires you to get up in the morning and hustle! (Fortunately, it’s usually a lot easier and more fun to hustle on a business you own)
Step 4. Scale
Once you’ve started hustling and selling, you’ll soon discover that the business is too closely tied to you. If you have to take a sick day, you lose out on the potential income. So you need to scale up, using some combination of automation, systems, franchising, or a team to help you replicate the actions you’ve been taking by yourself.
Look at any business anywhere. McDonald’s, Apple, Amazon, Disney, Target… you name it. The business started and grew in the way I described above. You can do the same with your business idea!