In Malaysia (and probably in other parts of the world as well), we have a lot of entrepreneur-wannabe individuals who have plan (or plans) to have their own business (or businesses)…including myself. But, what does it take to start a business? Do you need a great idea to start a business? According to the book Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Poras, you don’t necessary need a great idea to start off. In this post, I’ll look at the pros and cons of starting a business with a great idea.

Many of us want to start our own business. It could be based on a franchise license, a business idea (or business ideas) or it could be based on purely the willpower of the creators. Funny? Ridiculous? Nope, it’s true. Throughout the history, we’ve seen the likes of Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Sony etc. which started off with basically …nothing…not even a good business idea.  The pioneers of these companies started off with one thing in their mind – to create their own company which will be successful in the fields which they are going to venture into. What kind of fields? They have no idea….they used the concept of “trial and error”. None of the above companies (who are few of the most successful companies in our world today) succeeded in creating something in their first try.  They needed some time before finally decided on a field (or fields) which they wanted to concentrate on.

The key point here is that these companies are started by a bunch of “right people” who have the company’s interests in their hearts. What they did was to have brainstorming sessions..again and again and again…on what they could do to be successful. They kept repeating the same thing until they managed to achieve a result which they considered as SUCCESSFUL.

Why do these companies are better without a great idea? Well, if you started off with a great idea…..there’s a possibility that the idea will sell very well…..providing your company a lot of needed $$. It’ll be hard for you to change that idea (thus lacking innovation)….or even let go of it (stubborn and ego will come in). In the end, your company will be sticking to the few business ideas you initially started with……and not adapting to the ever-changing market. Face the fact, no company can be successful without proper change. Your company will be left out.

However, I do understand that in most industries, a great idea is needed to start off a business. You’ll need a great business idea to convince the venture capitalists…the possible investors…the banks, or even your relatives and friends. Without the idea, most people would label you as “foolish” or “immature”. I’m in that situation right now. It’s something inevitable in our world today. Everyone wants to see something concrete and reliable, before they can trust you.

Conclusion, I feel that to start off a successful business, you don’t need a great business idea. You need good people, and commitment to make the business a successful one. It is the process of developing the business which matters, not the single business idea. However, if you can have some great business ideas…and start a business/company based on these ideas with the right people and the right commitment…..and most importantly, stay innovative and not tied down to these ideas…then congratz, I believe you’ve found the correct formula in creating a successful business. 🙂

Again, open to comments. 😀