Much of the innovation that defined the American experience in our first two centuries stagnated during the past 10 years. But this innovation stagnation has created the greatest opportunity we’ve ever seen for people wishing to start a new business. Provided, of course, that their product or service either improves the life of their customer or provides something their customer is already using but at a lower price.
In the 20th century, America grew to become the world’s greatest economy because of entrepreneurial innovations. From Henry Ford (cars) to Abraham Levitt (homes) to Steve Jobs (iPods, iPhones), entrepreneurs created new products and services so compelling that consumers had to have them. Moreover, each of these new products or services created entire industries of support products, such as gas stations, restaurants, furnishings, cell phones, etc. However, for entrepreneurs today, the last decade of innovation stagnation has created the greatest economic opportunity in history because there are so many ready-to-be-implemented advances in virtually every sector of our economy. The greatest personal fortunes of 2020 are about to be created by entrepreneurs who either lower the price of existing products or introduce new products and services to our economy.
Many people blame today’s financial crisis on Wall Street. However, once the crisis had begun, the crash on Main Street was caused by consumers realizing that the emperor had no clothes—that many of the products and services they were buying were simply not worth their cost.
As we assimilate the events that led to the great crash of 2008, as well as where we are now, it’s clear there is no better time to step up and be the entrepreneur or intrapreneur who has enough vision and courage to give consumers what they really want: innovation. How do you do this?
Consider these strategies:
Master your industry. Learn as much as you can about your industry. As you learn more, your functional skills will improve and you will build a network, adding value to your new idea.
Fix the world. Notice the problems your customers have and fix them in a new way or in a less expensive way than your competitors.
Focus on the solution. Instead of focusing on the struggling economy, focus on ingenuity. How can you separate yourself from the crowd?
Hold on to your dream. Don’t let past failures or dire economic forecasts make you a pessimist. Keep your youthful dreams alive and create your own opportunities.
10 Things Aspiring Entrepreneurs Should Do
Look for problems. Just pick up any newspaper or watch any news program and you
will see how many problems need to be solved. Finding problems to solve are the business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Our past and future success lies in human ingenuity.
Become a leader in your field. Accumulate knowledge. Pick an industry, focus on it, and master it.
Build your network. Become recognized in your industry as someone who is good at what he or she does. Build a solid reputation for expertise.
Schedule your time. Don’t waste your 168 hours in a week; schedule them. I schedule my time intensely.
Notice what could be improved. Businesses become rich because they find a way to serve others better.
Stay wide open in your thinking. When you’re 18, your world is wide open. But as each year passes, one more nail goes into the coffin, killing your dreams and inspirations. And by the time you reach 25, you’ve been beaten down and become a realist. And my advice is you can’t let these things get you down.
Hone your entrepreneurial instincts to make the world better. We have to take responsibility for making the world a better place, and when we do, we’ll create our own opportunities. All my businesses started the same way: I got rich by improving the world and making a lot of people happier in the process.
Deal with the slaps. Rebel against rejection. You can go out into the world and do anything you want.
Exhaust your existing skills. Utilize all of your existing skills—what you know and who you know.
Communicate well. Becoming a successful entrepreneur starts with accumulating knowledge about many topics. First you have to work on your generic skills: reading, writing, and basic math. If you cannot communicate effectively with people, you are in trouble.
Source: Paul Zane Pilzer