Finding the Right Industry for You January 25, 2012UncategorizedBusiness Plan, industry publications, market research, market survey, passion, tips to stay motivated, transferrable skillsMike Mann If you want to start a business, the ideal industry is one that you both have previous experience in and a high degree of knowledge about. However, this may be impractical if the industry is oversaturated or is not a good source of money at the moment. In such cases, you need a backup plan. The Right Backup Plan Most people make the mistake of choosing an industry they have experience but little interest in, but it is actually better to do the opposite. If you need a backup to your ideal plan, it is better to go with a field you are passionate about but lack experience in. You can always educate yourself in the industry as you get started. It’s the passion you feel that will provide the drive you need to be successful. You should begin by looking for an under-served market that strongly interests you. Identify a need in that market that you can train yourself to fill. Then start reading everything you can about that industry, particularly in trade journals and business periodicals. Find people who are willing to be mentors for you as you get started. One possibility you should consider is to find a specialty role in a particular industry. In an oversaturated market, for example, you could specialize in a particularly difficult skill that few people in that industry possess. You could also fill a supporting role in an industry that interests you, such as marketing computer software rather than programming it. Transferrable Skills You will find that a lot of skills from your previous work experience will transfer to your new business, even if you have never run a business before. All businesses require strategic planning skills and an ability to analyze problems. They also all require an ability to multitask and manage time well. No matter what field your previous career has been in, you have probably learned these skills to some extent. You have hopefully become proficient in communicating and interacting with others. With these traits, you can become successful. Some specific skills transfer readily from one industry to another, such as statistical analysis or working with databases. Nearly every industry now uses statistics in some way, and every company has some sort of database. Other transferrable skills, however, are not as obvious. For example, if you previously worked in tech support, you learned many customer relations skills that you can apply to client management. If you were a car mechanic, you learned some complex problem-solving skills that could help you enter the IT industry. The Importance of Research Before you start your venture, you need to do some market research. Businesses only survive if they produce products and services that people want. Figure out who your target audience is and incentivize them to participate in a survey. In this way, you can find out what they want and what will motivate them to buy what you offer. When you plan your survey, try to survey a variety of people and get a large sample size. Prepare your questions carefully to differentiate between segments of your target audience. Marketing efforts are always more effective when they are targeted toward specific groups. Your survey can help you determine what groups from your population you should focus on in your business. This way, you will be able to begin operations without making too many uninformed guesses. Having picked the right industry and done proper research, you are well on your way to a successful start. From here, the key is to stay motivated and passionate about what you’re doing and give it your all. It is time to turn your research into a business plan and start looking for the capital you need to begin working. Success will come as you apply your passion to your chosen industry and use your market research as a plan of action.