Jack of All Trades...

Have you ever woken up in the morning with a great new idea for a business? Everyone has but usually once the fog has disappeared and the first cup of coffee consumed, you give up on the thought because you don’t have the “nuts and bolts” knowledge to put your brilliant concept into motion.

I am a great example of someone who is a “Jack of all Trades and Master of None”. Heck, my degree is in marketing and if that doesn’t tell you enough, just ask my wife.  But, although I may not know a lot of “stuff”, I do know how to find a lot of people that have the knowledge and experience I may lack. My truism has always been” it isn’t what you know but who…”.

Starting a new company is easy.  It can be done in an afternoon. For sake of ease and expediency, begin as a sole proprietorship.  File a fictitious business name statement with the County Clerk office. Then for about $60.00 go get a local sales license. If the product is tangible, register with The Bureau of Equalization.  It is that easy.

What is not easy is finding the time and the funding to start a new endeavor. If you come home exhausted every day from your current job, starting a new business may not make sense.  However,  if the exhaustion is due to the frustration of your current job or boss, then the timing may be right to begin your entrepreneurship.   If you don’t have seed money to appropriately research and test your new idea then put the idea on hold until you do. Don’t quit your day job until you can afford to go through the necessary planning.

As a Jack of All Trades, your concern is probably about the manufacture, distribution and selling of your better widget.  So before you get too deep in the developmental process, wrestle with the idea.  Draft an Executive Summary of a business plan and write why the widget or idea is needed, who will utilize it, what similar ideas are in the marketplace, what funding you can make available and why your idea or widget is better.  Discuss the idea with family, friends and unbiased professionals who can see the forest from the trees.

If you still believe that your new widget fills a vital need, begin your due diligence.  Catalogue and examine carefully your perceived competitors.  If there are companies doing similar products or services outside of your market call them and ask to speak with their marketing and purchasing departments. It is surprising how much information people will gladly give out. Speak with local suppliers. If they are not correct for you, ask them what types of companies have the required expertise for producing your widget.  Use the internet and search for trade organizations and third parties in the industry. Are there local associations in your new industry that you should join?  Are there trade shows that offer workshops and offer exhibits where you can touch, feel and learn what others are doing?

If you have a good idea, drive it down the road.  If it has substance you’ll find the expertise to help you build it.