Part 4: Identifying Business & Market Opportunity

So when is all is said and done (I hate the phrase “At the end of the day”) the dream we choose to pursue needs to provide financial support to our long term goals and aspirations.  Even if you love what you are doing, the longevity of it is likely not sustainable if it cannot economically contribute to the other aspects of your life.

arrowResearch –  For the past several months I have researched my ideas.  Since I am considering something a completely new industry I have had a lot to educate myself on.  Make sure you understand items such as:

  • Federal, state, and local laws relating to the industry
  • Tax implications
  • Industry statistics .
  • Market size and expected growth

This might sound overwhelming but it is certainly necessary as you need to understand the nuances to avoid any unpleasant surprises as much as possible.  Most of this information can be found on government websites, industry associations, and by talking to those who are already in the industry you are looking to get into.  Psst…honestly this part is really fun because you are going to learn so much about your idea (I promise!).

arrowBuild a Plan – I won’t lie…I love building a bad-ass spreadsheet that shows my financial opportunity and a progressive plan on how to get there.  I realize that this is not everyone’s cup of tea and can be an intimidating part to planning your new business (maybe a future blog post on this?) but it really is necessary to know your plan and a roadmap on how you are going to get there.  This of this as building the story of your business and who doesn’t like to tell a fun story?

arrowSeek Council – Seek out people who you trust to challenge your idea and help poke holes in it.  This can be so hard to do because we just want to think about the unicorns and rainbows (plus it’s hard not to get defensive of your concept).  But this outside view is invaluable to help identify potholes and build a stronger story for your business.  Plus the reality is that these people only want to help you be an even bigger shining star than you already are!

Keep in mind that these 3 items are not a one-and-done.  As you move forward and learn more your plan and road map will alter for these new bits of knowledge.  So revisit it on a regular basis to ensure you are still making good decisions for your business.

So there you have it…this is the process I went through when trying to decide what direction to take next.  While going through this process I scrapped several of them before starting because I learned enough to tell me this was not for me (at least right now).  Everyone’s evaluation criteria is going to look a bit different, but what is important is that you have some so that you can have guideposts to help you make those big decisions.