Note: This is part 1 of a 4-part series defining entrepreneurship from author and serial entrepreneur, Jim Beach. We’re honored to have him on our blog. Make sure to check out his first book, “School for Startups, published by Mc-Graw Hill”
Part 1 – Is Creativity Part of Entrepreneurship?Ask 100 people on the street and 99 of them will say creativity is a fundamental ingredient for successful entrepreneurship.
More importantly, they will say that their lack of creativity is the reason they are not an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneur-wannabe’s (read: 72% of Americans) wait to be struck by a creativity lightning bolt, and they wait forever. Their goal is never achieved because they define entrepreneurship incorrectly, insisting that creativity be part of it.
But what if we remove creativity from the mix? No longer waiting for that cosmic creative zap, everything changes. Your goal becomes starting a business –- any business -– not just thinking about starting a business.
Old and Tried Ideas? That’s OK
Now, it doesn’t need to be something new or exciting. Old and tried is OK.
Instead of waiting for the next great thing, the important thing is to get a business started, even if that business is not a new idea.
Say you get paid by your first customer and deposit the check. Does the bank take 10% off the top because your idea has been tried before?
Or, when you tell your friends you are starting a business, do they think it’s less cool because the idea has been tried before?
No, in both cases.
Copy and Paste
And your friends will not be less impressed because you are not the person to think up the idea of a restaurant. They will, however, probably be jealous that you are fulfilling your dream and they are not.
OK, so where, then, to get your idea?
Simple: copy, borrow, or emulate someone else’s idea.
Or, to be more politically correct and to decrease the chances of a lawsuit, let’s say improve someone else’s idea. The point is the same:
New ideas are rare and hard to come by. Instead of waiting forever, search methodically for a business you can execute well.
Turn Your Job Into Your Business
One of the easiest places to look for ideas to emulate is at work. About half of American startups are some derivation or evolution of a previous work experience.
The old adage, “I could run this place better” has launched many an entrepreneurial career. Or, simply take the job you have now and offer your boss to do the same job but as an outsourced employee, and then go do it for several other businesses, too.
Randy Brown did just that. After working for 20 years in a law office –- starting out as a clerk and working his way up to office manager — he started a legal services outsourcing firm, won his current employer as his first client, and then quit. Now he services many law firms, doing the same thing he did before -– or more precisely, supervising his employees that did what he did for many years.
Is Randy creative? Does it really matter when his employees get paid and his clients are happy.
Maybe following in Randy’s footsteps isn’t an option for you, and copying your job or looking within your industry is not an option. That’s what Google is for –- just search for “top 50 business ideas” or “top startups with no cash,” or something similar.
The small business media write features on startups all the time. See an idea some guy is doing across the country? Be the first to bring it to your city.
Don’t get me wrong. Creativity is great. It can be a valuable entrepreneurship tool. But please do not let a perceived lack of creativity stop you from fulfilling your goals. Further, I would argue that successfully evolving an existing product or idea is a form of creativity.
About Jim Beach
He has spoken on entrepreneurship in colleges across the country, and has presented to several Fortune 500 companies. Jim founded TheEntrepreneurSchool.com, and InternationalEntrepreneurship.com to help other entrepreneurs worldwide. Follow him on Twitter at @entrepreneurjim .