How important is it to have a great idea for starting a new business? I think that the idea is not really important at all. I often hear from people around me about what great ideas I have for business. It might seem like it when looking at one of my existing businesses that it was great idea, but it wasn’t at the start.
I started many of my businesses by accident. When I look back on how I came up with the ideas I can say there was no major thought process behind any of my business venture. I didn’t even have any substantial experience in those businesses when I started.
I knew I would be moving to Nevada and I tried to think of what I could do there. I knew Nevada was a very popular state for incorporation because of the very friendly business climate. So I figured it might be worthwhile to try an incorporation service. I also started another business in real estate, but I will talk about that later. Let’s go back to the incorporation business.
First, I went to Google trying to find other companies offering an incorporation service. I was trying to figure out how they worked, what was their pricing, if a person needed a lawyer to incorporate a business or if I could do it myself, what were the state fees, what forms must be used, etc.
The next step was to start it. This is the most important step in any venture. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen around me, most people never do this step! I decided to offer just one service: Nevada corporation. I didn’t want to start by offering all kinds of company structures and additional services. Honestly, it was too much information at that time so I wanted to keep it as simple as possible so I could handle it. So one service was complicated enough at the time.
After that I decided to create a website. I forgot to tell you that I was really cheap (“didn’t have too much money to spend”) so I designed the site myself. I am not a webmaster or graphic designer. I know very basic HTML so I could do basic table designs or forms which people could fill out and send to my email. That was all that I needed for making my first website. You can see it here in the Internet Archive:
At the start I even used free web hosting. Later, when I received my first order I paid the cheapest hosting company I could find at $25 per year. That didn’t work well so I upgraded to $50 per year when the money started flowing in. The most important lesson was that I tried to do it the simplest way possible. Do you see some genius idea behind this business? Being realistic, these were very amateur web pages done by an amateur who tried to start something.
This beginning led to a business which is processing over 500 orders every month and is one of the top five incorporators in the state of Nevada with sales of two million dollars per year. I added step by step small improvements over time. Today, we have a very unique business with great ideas our competition doesn’t have. But most of the suggestions came from our customers or from what I learned along the way in terms of what needed to be improved.
So if someone tells me that they want to start a new business and the only thing they are missing is a great idea, I just have to say that it is nonsense. No great ideas are necessary. I think the most important thing is to find a way how to start very simply and improve on that way. Instead of writing business plans or doing market research just do what I did. Find a way how to start very simply and don’t invest too much money. You are not risking almost anything just a little bit of your time, but the reward can be great.