My research paper in my final year at university was to find out whether graduating students would consider entrepreneurship upon graduating. The finding was that over 80% of graduating students did not consider entrepreneurship upon graduating but 90% thought of being involved in business in some form later in life. After the hardships Zambia faced in the 1990s, it forced almost everyone to be entrepreneurial minded. Whether these enterprising thoughts were acted upon is another question altogether. Almost everyone wishes to have a business that is flourishing so that they can finally quit the jobs they hate. Therefore, many people will work their minds up to have that killer business idea but end up with none.
I do accept that we are all not at the same level of business knowledge. Some people have grown up in business families while others have not. Some people are generally risk takers while others are not. Therefore, even when someone begins to think of a business, the sort of questions that will cross their minds will be different. There is no hard-and-fast rule to the world of business, if someone tells you that they have a book or DVD called, '10 Ways to Become Rich', do not bother buying that book or DVD because they are lying. People who have excess cash or come across cash want to multiply it and the best way to do this is to start a business. The unfortunate part is that many people want to start a business before they are ready to do so. Asking what type of business you should start is one of the options someone has at their disposal. However, raising such questions is like asking someone what your favourite colour should be. I would tell you blue and another person would tell you red, the next person down the road would say green. We may not necessarily be wrong, and we would give you strong arguments why you should choose a specific colour. Nevertheless, it is only you who would ultimately decide, which is your favourite colour. It might end up being blue or even none of the suggested.
The danger about asking people what business you should start is that many will give you what business they wish they could start provided, they had the money. They will give you all these numbers and paint such an opportunistic picture that if you are not too careful, you might fall for it. Some will even go further to give you the details and point out successful examples for you. Just because there is a glove, it does not mean that it will fit your hand. In the same vein, because there is a business idea around it does not mean that it is the appropriate one. You need to judge the ideas in the merit in which they are given and be honest with yourself whether you have the capabilities to turn the idea into reality. It goes back to the advice always given, start a business that you are passionate about, or you can find the resources to help you succeed at it.
One of the easiest ways to find out what you are passionate about is to discover what you can do very well that not every Jim and Jack can. It should be something that is nearly effortless to do, and you do not mind spending hours and even days on end until you are satisfied with your work. For example, it takes me about three days to put a blog together from the planning to the time it actually goes online. I will have to think of what to write about, type the draft, and edit it over and over until I feel it is worthy enough. I do it not because I’m forced to, it is because I enjoy and love it. I would want to be a singer but definitely God did not bless me with a voice. So you will not see me releasing any albums. However, someone out there has a golden voice I would pay to listen to. Others are good technicians even without having a degree when my laptop crashes I know they would do a splendid job. Once you have discovered the things you are gifted at, the appropriate question to ask then is, “How do I monetise this?” or if you have the money, “How do I make this a success?” These questions make it a whole lot easier to answer unlike an open ended one where someone wants to be spoon fed a business idea.
Finally, if you have not come to a point where you already have a business idea, my best suggestion is that you put your money in the bank and get a good investment book like Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki or Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. These books will certainly put you in a right frame of mind to come up with a business idea and make a self-analysis, whether you are up for it. Starting up a business is all about risk taking. The idea might be brilliant but still end up failing because of other factors. However, even in the midst of that failure there are a lot of lessons to be learnt that perhaps no book would ever provide to you. My signing off advice to people who are going into business for the first time, invest money you are prepared to lose. All the best.