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A lot of books and websites tell you that you must “do what you love” and “do what you’re passionate about”. It sounds simple enough.
But when you’re ready to jump into a business of your own, the advice is hard to follow. It’s tough to decide what you love to do.
Because you love many things. You’re human after all. You have plenty of interests and hobbies. You start to feel nervous.
You go down this list of things you love to do. Then you start to get real panicky. Because it seems you could be doing 101 things. Suddenly it becomes really hard deciding what you really want to do.
When you cannot decide, you start procrastinating.
That is why starting a business is hard.
But what if you started with anger?
What? No Ferris Wheel?
Walt Disney first had the idea for a amusement park when he sat bored on a park bench, eating peanuts while his two daughters were playing at the amusement park.
Amusement parks in the 1950s were filthy, noisy with dangerous-looking types hanging around.
Bob Rogers, who worked with Walt Disney Company in 1968, described the typical amusement park:
“The colours and graphics were garish, the barkers were irritating and the employees looked dangerous, and the place was noisy and dirty. Stay times were around two hours partly because people got tired faster.”
Parents often went with their children but often got bored sitting around waiting for their children to finish their rides.
Unlike most parents, Walt thought deeper. Why couldn’t amusement parks be clean? Why couldn’t parents enjoy the rides too? Why must the park be so noisy? Because it was so nosiy, many visitors would leave after just 2 hours.
Walt Disney took these questions seriously. In fact, he was so serious and upset about the conditions of amusement parks at that time that he decided he could build a better amusement park despite having no experience!
The veterans of the amusement park laughed at his ideas. It wouldn’t make sense, said one amusement park operator, to have a park without proven money-maker items such as ferris wheel, roller coaster, hot dog carts and beer.
Yet another said that custom rides will never work because these rides will cost too much to build and will often break down and make customers angry.
It’s not profitable to build pirate ships or castles inside the amusement park. Plus customers won’t notice things like cleanliness so it’s just a waste of money focusing on cleaning up the park.
The list of things that most amusement operators would not touch were the very things that Disney would focus on and with such diligence that when Disneyland opened on 17 July 1955, it not only attracted people to stay for 7 hours (instead of the regular 2 hours at most dirty, noisy amusement parks), it was also pleasant, fun and clean – the hallmarks of what a family-friendly amusement park should be!
In the first seven weeks of opening, Disneyland recorded one million visitors!
Start With Anger.
Anger is a great place to start. It gives you something to focus on, especially if you’re unhappy about how things are, or if you’ve always said “I could do it better!” when you come across a situation or challenge that made you mad or angry.
Look within your industry. Is there a solution that’s poorly made or worse, is there no solution to a problem that keeps cropping up? Therein lies a great opportunity for you to start because all business problems are essentially looking for its match in a solution that’s clever and innovative. Sometimes, the solution could be right in front of most people’s eyes yet they never seem to see it!
If you do not agree with what’s commonly practised in your industry, and you are often complaining how things could be better, and you believe you have a better solution, it’s very possible you have the making of a business.
The key is, you’re frustrated, angry or annoyed at how things are usually done. You believe you’re not the only one who encounters the problem. You are confident that you can find a better way to get around the problem. These are classic signs of a new business. They’re the sparks that will lead you to finding a solution that not only solves your problems but also for other people.
“You Stick To Tractors…”
In 1916, a young man called Ferruccio was born into an agricultural family at Renazzo, northern Italy.
Since young, Ferruccio had always been interested in all things mechanical and he even took the effort to study at a technical school in Bologna. It was no surprise then that he served in the transport division of the Italian air force during World War Two. From 1944 to 1946, he also served a stint with the British military, in similar capacity.
When the war ended, Ferruccio returned to his hometown. Using what he knew, he began turning military vehicles into tractors. Not content with refurbishing military vehicles, Ferruccio started to manufacture tractors. Not long after, he started producing tractor engines and transmission units.
In no time, Ferruccio was making a lot of money. His wealth allowed him to focus on his childhood interest – fast cars of that time. He bought Alfa Romeos, Maserati and Mercedes-Benz. But it was his purchase of a few Ferraris that started his passion for the luxury sports car business.
Ferruccio was immensely fond of his Ferraris but he considered them too noisy and too rough to be proper road cars. He was unhappy with the inferior clutches of the cars and bad after sales service. Naturally he asked Enzo Ferrari for a better product.
Ferrari reportedly snubbed him, saying, “You stick to tractors and let me build sports cars.”
Ferrari dismissed Ferruccio as a tractor maker who couldn’t possibly know anything about sports cars.
It was this insult and challenge which spurred Feruccio to start his own sports car business in 1963! He vowed to build a better sports car to rival Ferrari.
By the way, Feruccio’s last name was Lamborghini.
When Towels Keep Falling Off
Cindy Sawyer was a mom who was repeatedly frustrated each time her hand towels fell off the towel bar.
It was the same with her kitchen towels. Her young children kept dropping hand towels in the bathroom each time they dried their hands.
She was tired of picking up towels off the floor so she decided to find out a way to keep her towels secure in place. In the end, she invented a decorative clip to hold towels in place.
Her invention, a special clip called ToweLocs is now a household product in the USA. It’s both functional and decorative. It didn’t just keep her towels in place, ToweLocs added a touch of refinement, personalisation and elegance to towels.
Who would’ve thought that a simple invention like ToweLocs was born out of a daily frustration?
Today, ToweLocs is a thriving business! You can find out more about this invention at http://towelocs.com
Here’s your Anger Exercise!
What are you usually frustrated or annoyed with? It could be work, it could be a hobby or it could be simply a way of doing things. (The next time you get mad, mentally note why you’re angry or frustrated.)
Is this an area that you would be interested to explore further?
What in particular about this problem could you improve?
How would you do it?
Could this be turned into a business?
*This is taken from a how-to small business book that we are in the process of writing. Stay tuned as we share more excerpts.