1. You can start just by talking to people you know (or people you want to know)
You know people. The people you know know people (and they, too, know people who know people). Your network is bigger than you think and it’s the best place to begin by setting up informational interviews.
Informational interviews are invaluable opportunities that not enough entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs take advantage of. In “How To Get An Informational Interview (And Why Even Entrepreneurs Need Them),” an informational interview is defined as “a chance to learn about a specific job, industry or organization.” These conversations aren’t the time to ask for favors, business recommendations or endorsements. The right way to conduct them is to contact entrepreneurs within immediate your network and beyond, ask them out for coffee, then sit down and have an informal chat about that person’s work (how he got his start, what lessons she’s learned and any other insights about his or her business or industry).
These coffee talks are especially helpful for aspiring entrepreneurs who are nervous about venturing out on their own. When you talk to other people who’ve taken the plunge, hearing about their experiences can help you begin to chart your own path.
2. All you need is pen, paper, and an idea.
Forget brainstorming. Try brainwriting. Choose a business idea, any idea, and write about it. Write down what it is, why you think it’s needed or important, write down questions you have about the idea (or questions someone else might have about it), write down problems with the idea and problems the idea would solve. After a five minutes, stop.
Is this all your business-creation process needs? No, of course not! But after a brainwriting exercise, you have something work with (and that’s more than you had before). Those five minutes of writing will help you refine and research what was once just a lofty notion.
3. Forget a business plan (for now).
Do you need a business plan eventually? Yes, especially when it comes to courting and securing investors.
Do you need a business plan now? Probably not.
Paul B. Brown, author of Just Start: Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future, believes that action trumps everything–and I agree. The process of writing a business plan is often too belabored, with entrepreneurs trying to overplan and overpredict every possible outcome for their businesses.
Like the infamous Nike slogan says, sometimes you have to “just do it.”