Many employees going through the day-to-day grind of their unsatisfying work dream of being entrepreneurs, to finally have that business epiphany on how to entwine their ideas together into a profitable business model. For most individuals, however, that dream is just that and nothing more, and many ideas are left half-baked and abandoned, never to be visited upon again. How did today's successful entrepreneurs manage get their foot out of the door and risk it all to build successful enterprises? How did they gain the business acumen necessary to sniff out and follow an idea, and build upon it? Legendary investor Jim Rogers, who retired at 37, once traveled the world by motorcycle and Mercedes in search of business ideas. Steve Jobs once worked out of his parents' garage building the future of computing. Do you, as a potential small business owner, have what it takes to search for that perfect idea and preach it to the world? Here are some things to consider about yourself:
  • Do you dream of financial independence, to be free from corporate strings and monthly salaries, to be in total control of your monthly income?
  • Do you read up on market trends, and stay up to date on recent developments?
  • Are you willing to travel to far-off lands far outside your established comfort zone, in order to research potential markets?
  • Do you have enough cash in the bank to meet your expenses, in unpaid months?
  • Do you have enough cash to invest in a new business?
  • Is your family supportive of your decision to pursue your dream?
  • Will your family time be impacted by your new venture?

Photo by Sashi Bellamkonda

An old saying tells us that you can never be truly motivated to pursue your next goal until you quit your current, comfortable job. With comfort often comes decreased motivation and drive, which will not help you move to the next level. While financial security is important, with it comes apathy and with that, years pass, straight into your retirement. Of course, you should have a well-planned idea of where you're headed before you quit your job, but once you do, don't look back.

Look forward and start looking for ways to implement your ideas. While certainly no one expects you to follow in Jim Roger's globetrotting footsteps, here are some places where you can start digging for ideas:
  • BRIC Markets. Brazil, Russia, India and China are widely forecast to become the economic powerhouses of the 21st century. China has already become the second largest economy in the world. Many of the companies in the these nations, especially small businesses, operate in highly competitive environments that weed out the losers practically overnight. Many of these ideas, such as China and India's ultra-budget auto businesses, have market potential in the West but have yet to be tapped effectively. Read up on foreign businesses to gain insight on what businesses work universally.
  • Build a global business network. It's the 21st century, so there's no excuse to not take full advantage of the Internet and social networking to build your business contacts across the globe as far as you can.
  • Read, read, read! Although this requires actively weeding out the hype from the facts, business magazines and websites can still be valuable sources of business ideas.
  • Market Currents. Even if you are not an active stock trader or investor, following the stock market on a daily basis can educate you on the state of commodities (a crucial factor in many businesses), the state of world markets, world currencies and profitable sectors and businesses. Stock investing is also good practice for picking profitable ventures.
  • Untapped Markets. New businesses often produce a product that a market has no need for, simply because its a cheap and easy solution, pray and throw it into a crowded market where it is swallowed up whole. Tread where others have not.
  • Patented Products. We can't all be inventors, but if you are, patenting your product will immediately erect high barriers for your competition.
  • Existing Companies. Research companies, both good and bad, and see the choices that have driven them to the top or sunk them to the bottom.
  • Investing Partners. While it may certainly be a gung-ho move to go at it alone, you may be better off finding several business partners who can share insights and capital, and who can keep you in line. However, pick carefully. As with any group effort, the decision making process gets complicated exponentially with each additional partner.
  • Market Research. Conducting your own market research to thoroughly analyze local and global markets can help gauge the probability of your idea's success.
In the end, the most important thing is your determination and willingness to take a leap of faith. You can spend all your life dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur, then regret not taking the chance when you were younger, or you can spot that fleeting idea, hold onto it, and make it happen.