If you are just in the beginning stages of looking for a business to start, one of the best places to look is what I call the “Too Area“. You have heard it said before, “look for a need and fill it”. So in your exploration of trying to decide on a business to get into, you want to look around and find things that are in demand, but are too difficult, too dirty, too complex, too expensive, too dangerous, too embarrassing, too fragile, too big, too small, too ugly, too impractical, too far away, too tall, too short, to smelly and the list goes on and on. Obviously there is a wide range of options when thinking about starting a simple small business. However, almost every new business begins this way even though they may not realize it.
One of the simple small businesses we own is a video production company that specifically caters to other small businesses. One of the reasons this business has been successful is because it’s not really that simple of a business to operate.
These days video cameras and editing software are readily available to just about anyone. However, the complexities of producing a high quality video product is beyond most people’s technological capabilities. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t curse being in a high tech business. Nevertheless, I know it is these same problems and nightmares that we deal with daily that is the reason people come to us rather than try to do it themselves. In other words, the technology and the process is “too complex” or “too frustrating” for others to deal with and this is the primary reason for our success. We are willing to do what others can’t or won’t do. Also, the equipment is “too expensive” for many small businesses who may only have the need for a video product once or twice a year. So the “too complicated” and “too expensive” factors work to our advantage.
Many of you know that at one time my wife and I owned a successful entertainment business. My wife and I were professional magicians for over 10 years. Again, the reason for our success, besides the fact that we had a good product, was that many people were and still are “too afraid” to get up in front of an audience to speak or perform. Compound that with the fact that the techniques that we used were “too secret” or “too unknown“, required “too much practice” or required “too much time” for most people, again the “too” factor worked in our favor.
Another small business that we own but has been struggling for a while is a website development company for small businesses. One of the reasons that it has required a little more effort than we expected is because these days everybody and his brother thinks that they can build a website. Now website building is even taught in most junior high and high schools. So every kid in school thinks they are capable of building a professional website for almost any business. Therefore, the competition has grown tremendously. But there is a lot more to building a website for a business than simply putting a pretty site online. Especially if it is actually going to work as a successful marketing tool. The problem is that many small business owners are not aware of this. Many think that “if you build it they will come“. So, although our company has been moderately successful, we have had to discover niches and find ways of distinguishing our services and capabilities from the amateur website builder. We have done this by specializing in “Internet Marketing for Small Businesses” where the marketing aspect has become the dominant focus of our business rather than the actual website itself. The most time-consuming and costly process has been educating the business owner about the difference between an amateur built and professional built website. The lesson to this is never go into a business where you have to educate the public before they want your product!
So I urge you to look around. Even in tough times there will always be plenty of opportunities for anyone who’s willing to do things that fall into the “too” factor.