Rod Drury: How to start a business

An article by Rod Drury was published in todays NZ Herald
Alternatively you can view the article at Rod’s Blog

Rod is writing a series of 6 articles in the herald on the various aspects of starting a business. Today’s one focused on the initial idea behind the business and whether this idea was actually one that would take flight. Rod touches on several business idea concepts/ models that are almost doomed to fail for very obvious reasons. So obvious that they are overlooked – yes ironic i know.

For me, a developing young pre-entrepreneur, such advice and views are in high demand. They surpass anything you can read in a book and provide you with ‘real’ experiences and lessons with the hope of reducing the probability of a similar business failure. Being at Auckland University and heavily involved with the SPARK initiative I don’t have to look to far to satisfy my thirst for this advice from NZs top entrepreneurs . I actually had the pleasure of hearing Rod present.

I believe Rod’s view aren’t to far from the truth and there are probably another 100 ‘statements of doom’ that can be added to the list. However I do believe where great challenge lies so does great opportunity. All it may take is developing a novel way of doing something or the exploitation of a niche market better than others can.

It’s actually quite disappointing to know that so many ideas fall into these situations and that this is resulting in low numbers being funded. One – does this mean that as an innovative nationality us kiwis not being innovative enough to build a viable business model and Two – does this mean that there is a surplus of angel and VC funds out there waiting for the some of these viable business ideas 🙂 . I would love to know the acutal figures. I will follow this up with a few searches of my own

To add to some of Rods concluding remarks

Write a summary – for each of my ‘top/ most viable business ideas or innovations’ – I currently have 3 – I tend to write a one page summary. I use this to concentrate/ focus /clear /get down on paper all of my thoughts surrounding what the business is, the market and how it will work. I tend to keep it in bullet point format. From here I tend to extend it into the 3 page venture summary that Rod speaks of.

“If you are going to fail, fail fast so you can move on” – A line that I have heard several times but never loses its importance

I can draw similarities to Rod’s source of ideas – alot of my own business/ innovations (that are hiding and hopefully will be revealed someday) are generated from problems that I experience throughout the day. Being a PhD science student these are ever present. I have actually trained myself to think when i do run into an everyday problem – how can i fix this and can I make a business around this solution. The next step is to actually write this idea down – A FATAL FLAW FOR ALL GREAT IDEAS. We have all had a brilliant idea in the middle of the night whether it be a gift for someone, something new for the shopping list or in this case a business idea, made a mental note to remember it and write it down in the morning. However when it comes to the morning your mind is blank. To fix this I have dedicated and transformed a Warwick 2B5 into my idea safe. To keep up with the digital age I have it in Microsoft Word Format as well. And to keep up with secruity risks this digital age brings it is saved on several drives including Googles document application. I am a firm believer you should write down all ideas. Even if it isn’t totally novel it may be when you combine it later with a to be written down idea.

Great article Rod – keep it up


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