On a Thursday evening, entrepreneur/motivational speaker Tom Abbott addressed forty business-minded individuals at the Carrefour Jeunesse-Emploi in N.D.G about how to pick a smart business idea. The free conference was the first of five aimed at helping young adults between 16-35 get started on the path to financial freedom.
“There’s no such thing as job security unless you create the job yourself,” said Abbott as he got underway. “I believe it is not only best, but the only way to go.”
There are three types of entrepreneurs explained Abbott. The Intra-preneur runs his own business within the confines of a structured organization, such as an insurance salesman or mutual fund adviser. An info-preneur researches, packages and delivers information. Examples would be a consultant, author or seminar leader such as himself. The final entrepreneur is the auto-preneur. They make money automatically through investments into fields such as real estate.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need an innovative idea to start a successful company. Abbott even challenged the audience to come up with five truly innovative products over the last five years. Instead he proposed figuring out ways to take existing ideas and making them better, more efficient, more convenient or combining two or more (such as combining the fridge and freezer).
“Has anyone here complained or been frustrated with a product or service?” asked Abbott. After receiving the predictable chuckles and acknowledgements, he calmly stated, “Well, those frustrations are the perfect spark for a business idea.”
The fear of failure is prevalent in the minds of almost all would-be entrepreneurs. According to Abbott, there are two key reasons that businesses fail, and they can both be overcome with work. Knowledge is power, and managerial incompetence is when an owner hasn’t put the time in to learn how to properly run a company. Not knowing one’s target market also leads to failure, as many managers simply decide to target everybody.
Demographics can therefore not be ignored. Breaking Canada’s population down reveals that one-third of Canadians fall into the Baby Boomers category (born between 1946 and 1964), and their children, known as the Baby Echos (born between 1980 and 1995), account for 6 million Canadians (20 per cent). This knowledge dictates how one will market their business, and the sheer volume of people within these age groups increase the chances of success if they are indeed the ones targeted. Why, asks Abbott, are the Harry Potter books so popular?
At the end of the seminar Abbott reiterated that it is wiser to undertake a business that takes advantage of your talents, not one that you believe will necessarily make you the most money. Among the many tidbits of advice Abbott offered, at the core of the conference was the notion of being your own boss and having multiple streams of income. The younger you develop this frame of mind, the better.
“There were older people here tonight because they have become victims of what I’m talking about,” said Abbott afterwards. “They’ve been downsized, kicked off, you name it. Now they are looking at part two of their career.”
For the up-and-coming generation getting ready for part one, taking advantage of Tom Abbott’s advice would be a good start. The next seminar, “What’s the Plan?” is this Thursday from 6:00 to 7:30.
Tom Abbott is the Owner/President of his own company called Busy Bodies, his own Career and Personal Planning Company (started six years ago in Vancouver). He does engagements/ seminars throughout Canada.