You don’t have to live in Silicon Valley to think about starting a crazy new business.
Eric Hippeau (CEO of the Huffington Post and a former partner in a venture capital (VC) firm) knows what it takes to start a new business, and he seems to think crazy ideas are better. Like this remark in a recent blog. Here’s what he said:
“Most entrepreneurs come from outside their industry and have thrived because they didn’t know they were breaking the rules. This tendency to operate outside of convention makes them indispensable to an American economy that has always relied on creative solutions” (link to full post)
Of course, this isn’t actually true. Consider all the chefs who open restaurants. The engineers who start new engineering businesses. The lawyers and accountants who launch their own private practices. So saying “most” companies is an exaggeration.
But it is an important idea anyway…
So lets make the statement true: “The biggest, fastest-growing new companies start in industries that are different from their owners’ prior career.” (My words, not his.) If this is true — and my experience says that it is — why is this so?
The answer should be vitally important to every person who dreams of starting a new business (and those of us actually doing it!). The vital answer is something like “Beginner’s Luck”… but it’s not luck, and you don’t have to be a beginner to make it work for you.
I call it “Uninformed Optimism”. It’s insight and intuition mixed with pure can-do attitude. You have an intuition that there is a problem that you can fix. You may not even know much about the market, but you know there is an opportunity.
When you don’t have preconceptions about your customers, you can listen more closely to what they are saying! You might also try harder to solve the customer’s ACTUAL problems instead of the problems you THINK they have.
Are you holding back on a crazy idea? Lots of people I know have these crazy new business ideas* that seem so far out … so disconnected from their daily lives … that they simply believe the ideas are “too crazy to do anything about.” Maybe, just maybe, these are exactly the kinds of crazy ideas that you should be pursuing. CRAZY ideas may just be the best new business ideas of them all.
By identifying new problems, crazy ideas move us in the direction of unique solutions. When we work on new problems (instead of the old ways of doing things), crazy ideas become market-defining and market-dominating new businesses.
Looking back, I benefited from some Crazy Ideas: I honestly did not know anything about the markets for the companies that I’ve built. The ideas seemed crazy, so I relied on my own research, innovation and clear competitive ideas. And it turns out that those ideas were the best business ideas by far! Those ideas tended to solve a new problem while moving swiftly away from the entrenched competition.
Two things happen when you flesh out a Crazy Idea:
(1) You may actually identify and define a “new” problem… AND
(2) your business becomes the best solution to the problem.
If the problem you’ve identified is real and resonates with the customer, watch out! That’s a recipe for a very successful new business. So dig up all those crazy business ideas and imagine what you could do with them. Maybe they aren’t so crazy after all!
Dedicated to your profits,
* PS If you are looking for crazy new business ideas, join me on Springwise. Its about as creative and crazy as it gets. A great place to stimulate new business ideas.