Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of money to start a business.
In fact, you don’t need very much at all.
What you do need is to think, but not just any regular old thought. While it helps to have a eureka moment, your real currency is the amount of thought you put into your great idea.
The trouble with thinking, the thing that makes it so tricky, is that you can’t really quantify how hard you’ve thought about something — so it’s easy enough to discredit it as a kind of work.
Okay, so we’ll call it “ideation” instead. It’s a ten dollar word used to legitimize the work of thinking.
That’s how little thoughtfulness is valued — we have to give it flair with a slicker name — yet if you are thoughtful, you’re a rare breed.
You see, the great entrepreneurs are passionate, and obsessive. But obsession means you go over the details again, and again. It consumes your thoughts.
This is why being thoughtful is perhaps the most underrated quality of an entrepreneur.
Which brings me back to what you really need to start a business.
A napkin. Yep. It’s really that simple.
Draw and write out every last detail of your vision.
This is the quickest, and least painful way to learn what you don’t know.
As you do this, you will run into problems. Aspects of your idea won’t make sense, you’ll see obstacles, and you’ll realize how difficult it’s going to be.
Now’s the time to ask yourself how bad you really want it.
If you’re willing to sacrifice sleep, time, energy, short-term fun, and deal with a little heartache, then you’re ready to begin solving those “problems” — you’ll find a way.
So you can’t do X, Y, or Z yourself? Find someone who can, and pay them to do it, or give them a stake in your great idea.
You need so much less than you think to get things going, but you have to try, and you must inspire talent to build your vision with you.
If you can do it yourself, that’s awesome — but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Very few are the Zuckerberg go-it-alone type. Even Jobs needed his Woj.
When you’re in the ideation stage, you can’t afford to skimp out on your research. You don’t have to know how to do everything, but you have to know about everything. After all, you’re the visionary — and without knowledge, you can’t right the ship when that perfect storm comes.
The good news is that after you’ve put in the thought, there are a million ways to turn your vision into a reality. Nowadays there’s crowdfunding, pre-seed investing, and equity you can use to recruit.
You just need to get started. In fact, some of the biggest businesses out there were sketched down on napkins like Southwest Airlines, many of the Pixar movies during their golden era, and even startups like Yik Yak.
Don’t think you don’t have enough to get it done. There’s a lot more to making it happen than just thinking and wishing it would come true.
Nothing happens on philosophizing alone — but your idea is the seed. The work and effort you put in will nurture your idea until it bears fruit.