Finding a business that will provide you with a money-making venture requires strategy and skill. While some are lucky enough to have business ventures fall on their lap, others have to undergo a careful process of research and self-analysis before finding out what business is best for them. Research has been an important process in determining the entrepreneurial venture of Michael Reagan, President of Power Signs and Graphics in Arizona. In fact, the choice to get into the sign business was a result of his extensive research coupled with a close self-examination of what he really wants to do in life.
Like many start-up entrepreneurs, he didn’t have a realistic and clear picture of what he can feasibly sell to make money. Instead of simply following the age-old rule of going for what you know, “I spent about six months researching what it is that I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he said.
“Every time a thought came to me about the characteristics of a business I would like to have, I wrote it down in a piece of paper.” He took a close look at his capabilities to gain insights into the kind of business worth starting for him. The process entailed knowing the sum total of his experience, knowledge and skills. He had to understand the kind of expertise that he had gained from his education, his past jobs, from previous management experiences. Aside from knowing his strengths and weaknesses, he had to be sure what kind of business suits him most. At the end of the day, “I had about 103 characteristics of business that I want.”
What he found out guided him in his choice of business.
“I didn’t want consumer goods with inventory stacked on the shelf. I didn’t want anything that was perishable. I don’t want anything that people could get sick from. I wanted something that is not just limited to a neighborhood, like dry cleaner or a pizza shop. I wanted something that was a part of service that will be purchased by business executives. I wanted something that was technology driven.”
And the list goes on and on.
The next step was to match the characteristics he identified with existing business ideas and opportunities.
“I categorized everything, looking at different types of businesses that matched many of those criteria as possible,” he recalled. “Then I began looking at categories of businesses to see how they match my criteria. As I continued to go through the list of possibilities, it started to narrow down into this opportunity of joining a FASTSIGNS network.”
Once he figured out that the sign business possesses most of the criteria that he want in a business, his next step was to decide on his take-off point in the industry. “I had to make decisions on ‘Do I start out as independent? Do I find and buy a small existing sign company? Or do I buy a franchise?”
When he decided to buy a franchise, his next question was “which one, because there were about seven different companies at that time to choose from, and a lot of them has since failed.”
Reagan’s business selection was “a 3-step process: find the industry; find out how I could get into the industry; and when I decided to go into franchising, decide on what franchisor I was going to go with.” Finally, he settled on FASTSIGNS, and there has been no turning back since.
His advice to would-be entrepreneurs?
“Learn a lot about yourself as a person as far as what you really should be doing as a profession for the rest of your life. And don’t just get into something because somebody tells you that it is a hot opportunity, or it is a great deal; or you can make a lot of money. There are a lot people who go into business for themselves, and the first couple of years, about 80 percent of them fail. Because you do not have the make-up the overall skills, talents and mental and personality make-up to survive as a business owner.”
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