Does KVK have a good business idea for me?

“I want to start a business. Do you have any ideas for a successful business?” Aspiring entrepreneurs often ask me that question, and my answer is always equally disappointing. After all, if I had a good answer, I would probably not be an advisor, but a successful business owner. That being said, I do love my job as a business advisor, and I will gladly help you come up with ideas that work for you.

To address the elephant in the room: I cannot guarantee that you will be successful. Unfortunately, KVK does not have a secret stash of great ideas (in Dutch) lying around. Often, aspiring entrepreneurs are closer to coming up with a viable idea than they may think. I can help you get on the right track, but, ultimately, whether or not your business is a success is down to you.

Starting a business without an idea

In my mind, the fact that you want to start your own business implies that you have put some thought into being an entrepreneur. Secondly, the fact that you do not know what kind of business you want to start, implies that exploring why you want to be an entrepreneur can be worthwhile. Because why would you want to start a business if you have no mission or vision? Apparently, being an entrepreneur is more important to these people than the product or service they supply. But why give up a salaried job or benefits for self-employment? The answer is usually freedom.

No one to tell you what to do

Freedom: nothing ‘has to’. This is an incorrect assumption. I quickly try to correct this by reminding people that entrepreneurs have a lot of ‘have to’s’. Entrepreneurs have to work extremely hard to succeed. Every week they have to find enough customers to buy their products or services. They have to keep accurate business records. Although entrepreneurs are free in deciding what their weekly schedule looks like, the needs and wishes of their customers and the obligations involved in running your own company take up a lot of time. At the end of the day, they also have bills to pay, come rain or shine.

Are you an entrepreneur?

The most important question to ask yourself is: am I an entrepreneur? If you want to gain insight into your entrepreneurial spirit, why not try your hand at the KVK krachtmeting (in Dutch). In this test, you will find out more about your entrepreneurial skills (in Dutch). Because no matter how good your idea is, your success depends on your entrepreneurial qualities. A good entrepreneur is a jack-of-all-trades with lots of skills and qualities, like perseverance, confidence, and drive. You can always bring in outside help for tasks that are not in your wheelhouse, for example, financial records or marketing. But in the end, it is your business and you are responsible.

Fun and passion

Whatever you do, you have the greatest chance of success with an idea that suits you. As with a salaried job, it is important that you enjoy your work. In fact, it may be even more so for zzp’ers. When choosing a business idea, take a close look at your interests, skills, and knowledge. At the same time, you should never underestimate how important your attitude and passion for your business can be. If you clearly love what you do, customers will be more likely to do business with you. Besides, running a business that suits your personality will always be easier than doing something that you have no real affinity for.

When all is said and done, there is only one way to find out what kind of business is right for you. You have to go out there and do it. Write a business plan. After all, you begin your business plan with information about yourself. Who are you? What drives you? How keen are your entrepreneurial skills? You do not have to draw up a business plan, but it will answer the question you just asked me. It will tell you what you are good at, what you enjoy doing, and what other people enlist your help for. If you manage to translate these insights into a viable business model, you will end up with a profitable business. But only if the market is actually looking for the product or service you provide. How much you love your own product does not matter. If you have no customers, you will not earn a dime.

When in doubt, call

If you have arrived at the end of this blog and still have no idea where to start, or if you have questions about writing your business plan, feel free to call the KVK Advisory Team (available every weekday from 8:30 to 17:00).