We are proud to announce our NEW community destination. Engage with resident experts and fellow entrepreneurs, and learn everything you need to start your business. Check out the new home of StartupNation Community at startupnation.mn.co

Which Idea?

sblue218sblue218 subscriber Posts: 1
edited June 2008 in Selecting a Business
I`m a new reader/poster.  I am a 32 y.o. Ph.D. student and I`ll be graduating this year, hopefully in August.  This experience made me realize that I don`t want to "just work" in the area that I`m studying, Pharmaceutical Sciences.  However, the past year has revived a childhood dream of working for myself.  I have several business ideas, but I don`t know what`s more important "startability" or earning potential.  I`ve listed them in order of startup capital needed.

An employment preparation consulting service
Manufacture or License an invention - in prototype stage now
Hot Sauce - Sell several different (family recipe) hot sauces
Open a franchise of a local restaurant
Entertainment e-commerce
Premium alcoholic beverages
Pharmaceutical drug company

I do not want to be a person with regrets about not pursuing their dreams, but I`m a little scared of choosing the wrong idea to pursue.   Should I gain capital from the "cheapest" business and use it to fund the businesses that may be more lucrative?


  • sblue218sblue218 subscriber Posts: 1
    I have passion for all of the areas, it`s just manifested differently.
    But if I had to choose, it would probably be the Entertainment e-commerce idea or the hot sauce.  I`m just concerned about the amount of money I`d need to start either of these ventures.
  • sblue218sblue218 subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks. I originally wanted to produce my hot sauce on a pretty large scale. So that`s why I was
    concerned about the startup costs. Now I realize that I can succeed with smaller scale production.
  • sblue218sblue218 subscriber Posts: 1
    It`s my invention and I`ve sent in the designs for rapid prototyping. I should have it in my hands in about a week.sblue2185/28/2008 10:35 AM
  • JBSurfsJBSurfs subscriber Posts: 10 Member
    With your area of study, I`d personally go that route.  A phd in that area would separate you from the average person without the knowledge.  In my mind, that means less competitors for you because of the level of intellect requried in that field.  I should think committing your life so far to this area should bring up several ideas of new inventions or overpriced services this area can capitalize on. 
    Of course, if you have no passion for this and are doing it merely to have phd after your name, then go with what you like.  I just think the higher the expertise in an area, the less competition you will face.
    Good luck no matter what you choose, but keep us posted.
  • sblue218sblue218 subscriber Posts: 1
    Good points. I plan to pursue a career in my field and DO hope to start a pharmaceutical company in the future, using what I learn as an employee. However, I feel that the other ventures could supplement my salary and possibly provide me with the capital to start a pharmaceutical company.
  • GlamourTagsGlamourTags subscriber Posts: 0
    I have started about 7 new businesses, that either were sold, sold partnerships out, etc. and am currently in four businesses that are up and running as we speak.
    Passion is key as mentioned before - otherwise obstacles get under your skin and you will be working with that second choice thing in front of you all the time.
    The other thing, one business up and running can greatly help fund the next, but only when you are going strong. . I would know and it`s REALLY tough to divide yourself if your first business isn`t in tact and run by someone that values it as you do.
    Then maybe some other investment opportunity that has some ROI that won`t demand your time so much could be next - .  Loral Langemeier calls it the Wealth Cycle.
    The other thing - get a business partner or an amitious marketing/sales partner to help you. When you get up and running, then you have the thing called TIME that gets to be trickly. Always plan for it to cost more than you ever imagined to get going, so watch expenses as you go, don`t reinvent the wheel, and be sure to ask a boat load of people who are doing what you want to do but are already fabulously successful that will give you advice as to how to start and avoid their mistakes they made.
    I follow a good bit of Loral Langemeier`s info at www.liveoutloud.com and her info rocks the house with great advice, counsel, and her books and cds are great to reference when you need.
    Anyway, I hope you do really well. When ever you need help with marketing, I have invaluable resources to reference to help boost sales and then some.
    GlamourTags6/3/2008 12:20 PM
  • CraigMCraigM subscriber Posts: 0
    I agree with the first post. Passion is what should drive your decision most. That will keep you going through any roadblocks and make you more focused on success. I`m a serial entrepreneur, and I would suggest starting one thing now and realize up front that you may want to start multiple companies. Start one that you`re most passionate about first, then if you ever decide to sell it, you can start another, and so on.
    I was stuck for a long time like yourself. Once I identified my interests, it made it even harder to get started because I then thought I had to choose one to the exclusion of all others. Not true. There are a few obvious multiple streams. You can license your product and then start work on another idea. Think of your life in five year increments. Or whatever time frame makes sense to you. Be fully engaged in one business for the entire period. Then move on if you want to pursue multiple interests. Or better yet, hire people to run the companies, and stay connected as CEO or Chairman, where you`ll still be able to give input, watch the company grow, and be doing multiple fun things. You have options.
    Good books for you: Robert Allen`s "Multiple Streams of Income" and Barbara Sher`s "Refuse to Choose"
  • FranbFranb subscriber Posts: 0
    If you do decide to do the hot sauce biz, check out the local farmers` markets and F2F opportunities your community may have. Where I live we have several. You might also be able to sponsor/co-sponsor some food events for various schools and organizations. For example, we have a huge chili cook off / fundraiser in my town every late winter. All the local oil related companies (about 100) participate, along with radio stations, etc.
    One thing schools are trying to do more of is help students learn about healthy eating. I understand that high school boys are up for cooking classes whenever they`re offered. So, you might be able to promote to high schools offering those classes to feature your products. You should offer recipes that you know the boys will love. There are endless possibilities. You just need to be well know and involved and have a great unique selling point.
    You could also publish a recipe book at lulu.com to coincide with your product release. It could include order forms and Web site info. Go for WOW with great graphics and compelling stories or anecdotes to accompany the recipes. GOOD LUCK,  with whichever you decide to pursue.
  • onthevergeontheverge subscriber Posts: 0
    If you have spent your adult life primarily as a student, then I would encourage you to bite the bullet and take a job in the industry you ultimately think you want to start an entrepreneurial venture in.  You can learn so much about the inner workings of the industry that will be invaluable for your entrepreneurial endeavors.  It is possible, and maybe advisable, to start with something small that you can do after hours or on weekends, like selling the hot sauce locally (at Farmer`s markets, etc) or online.  Your day job can provide your working capital.  During this time, you can learn and research and plan.  After a year or two, you can develop an exit strategy from your day job and go full-on with your own business.
  • Frank630Frank630 subscriber Posts: 2
    I would recommend taking a look at a "back of the envelope" analysis of both revenues, expenses and capital for startup before you do a full-blown business plan of any one of these. For instance the hot sauce option,
    Revenue = price per bottle x estimate of forecast of bottles per month.
    Minus Cost of Goods Sold= cost of bottle, cost of ingredients, cost of labeling, cost of labor
    Equals Gross Margin
    Minus Operating Expenses (general expenses not tied directly to product of product - should be pretty small if you are making them in your kitchen and promoting them through local stores)
    Equal Operating Income
    In addition, look at each of the options for obstacles to entry (big money to enter, FDA approval, liquor licenses, franchise fees). Just list them if you do not know them.
    As mentioned before look at the one you are passionate about and decide based on operating income and obstacles to entry.
    I hope that helps
  • familyguy81868521familyguy81868521 subscriber Posts: 2
    In my opinion, you should go wherever your heart may lead you.  Some people spread themselves really thin, trying to do too many things at once.  Focus on one thing, and be the best at it.  Maybe then you could pursue your other dreams.
  • JamesDJamesD subscriber Posts: 0
    I`ve spent a fair amount of time in the food business and I can tell you succeeding with a "new" hot sauce is a tough road.  Every person in the US with "Grandma`s" recipe for sauces, salsa, dressings, etc. has already tried to market to this niche.
    Every January there is a food show in California where entrepreneurs go to show their "new" sauces called "The Fancy Food Show".  I suggest you go to that show (or it`s companion show on the East coast at the Javit`s Center in NY in the fall) and see just how many competitors are out there in this category.  The number is mind boggling.
    You also can`t imagine the costs of "slotting" charges to get into the mainstream grocery companies.  If you have a few million dollars to do this then it may be worthwhile.  But I can`t imagine you being to actually make money at a small time business like Farmer`s Markets (not to mention it`s EVERY weeekend in the summer).
    Just trying to inform, not scare.  Wish you luck.
  • SlingshotPDGSlingshotPDG subscriber Posts: 0
    @ Imagine:
    Rapid Prototyping is a method used to make quick representations of products without the time and cost of cutting steel for plastic molds (the process used in full scale manufacturing).  There are multiple levels of quality for RP models, from very rough (for use in determining correct size and scale of parts, "proof-of-concept" models) to very high quality (looks,  feels, and works like a store-bought product) and everything in between.
    If your idea is really unique and there is a market for the product, the first step should be to get a patent.  Hopefully sblue218 has already done that.  You HAVE TO protect your idea, otherwise you run the risk of someone else(individual or corporation) beating you to it.  If you just run out and make a prototype and start showing it to people to try and sell your idea, anyone can steal the idea, and you have no legal recourse.  After that`s taken care of, you can design and develop your idea, do market research to make informed decisions about what features and benefits will create the best product, and decide whether you`ll start your own company around this product or license it to an existing company.
    I`d definately start with one or two of the top options to get a feel for what it`s like to run multiple businesses, and raise some capital for one of the riskier options at the bottom.
  • SmartSammySmartSammy subscriber Posts: 0
    Take a look at my Industry Insight SmartCard!  It is a balancing act between profit and capital---and my card might just shed some insights...find it at www.smartsamantha.com under my Brains Section or on my "Keeping Score"


  • justryingtohelpjustryingtohelp subscriber Posts: 2
    Are you interested in natural health as well?  You could market your hot sauce that way, as I understand it there are lots of benefits of ingredients in hot sauces, for example, capsaicin.  And you, as a Doctor (PhD) could be some type of angle? 
Sign In or Register to comment.