Choosing a business idea is the first step!

What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? Many people describe an entrepreneur as someone who creates and runs their own business venture by taking financial risks. Although this is a fairly accurate description, it only scratches the surface.

All entrepreneurs have a few traits in common that truly define who they are and what they do. For one, creativity is a crucial trait for any entrepreneur to possess, whether they use their creativity to come up with innovative business ideas or to solve an existing problem. My entrepreneurship professor at Gonzaga University is one of the most outgoing and spontaneous people I have met while in school, and constant creativity is streaming into his conversations about business ventures. Along with being creative, entrepreneurs also prefer to work for themselves and create their own success, which for some is one of the main reasons they decide starting their own business is the best path. Out of all the characteristics an entrepreneur possesses though, my personal favorite is the enthusiasm and passion they have for their work. Their enthusiasm doesn’t fully get into gear until they’ve decided on a product or service to create. This roadblock can be difficult to overcome as some people may shut down ideas they believe are foolish, but in actuality have great potential if better developed.

A common misunderstanding about entrepreneurship is thinking that in order to create a product, you must think of something completely new that has never been invented. The key to being an entrepreneur is being open to new ideas, but also being willing to innovate those ideas already existing. There is already a vast assortment of incredible businesses and products in existence, and if an entrepreneur is able to improve on an existing product, they can gain an advantage over the competition. The task of choosing a business venture can be daunting, but there are helpful steps to take in order to make the choice easier.

The first step is to allow yourself to release your creativity. Find a piece of paper or grab your laptop and give yourself a few minutes to create a list of as many ideas as you can think of. No matter how ridiculous or incredible the ideas are, write each one down. One great way to come up with ideas if you’re drawing a blank is to think of common day-to-day problems you have and how they could be solved with a new product or service. The focus question to keep in mind while listing your ideas is, what is the problem and how does my product solve this problem? Along with listing ideas all at once, make sure you have your phone or a notepad with you in the car, office, or around the house so you can take down any ideas you come up with throughout your day. After creating a list, it can be helpful to review your ideas and choose your top five favorites. From here, try to improve your ideas so you have five solid products/services.

With my experience in entrepreneurship courses, I have narrowed choices down to one venture by deciding which business venture I would be most excited to work on. A professor once told me, “Never let money be a deciding factor for your career. If you aren’t doing what you love, you will never be happy with your decision.” The beauty in entrepreneurship is that you have the freedom to create your own venture, so create one that you will be passionate about. Your final step: put your idea into action.