When you start a business from scratch, you have no competitive advantage initially--which makes it hard to build the business. That's why every business needs an initial spark to get it going.
The idea itself is never enough. After all, you can't start a roaring fire by just imagining how great it would be to have one. You need some tools, or strategic assets, like wood, matches and oxygen to get the fire going.
A long line of business success stories have been built off of a strong initial spark. IBM built the services business they have today from a dominant position in mainframe computing. FedEx and UPS built billion-dollar logistics businesses based on their core assets--FedEx had a robust next-day air business and UPS had a leading ground operation. USAA and GEICO built leading financial services companies out of serving a core customer segment, respectively the military and government employees.
If you have a business concept you are thinking of pursuing, we suggest answering the following questions to determine the sparks you have--and the ones you still need.
So often we find that entrepreneurial leaders are focused on the quality of the idea rather than the quality of their own strategic assets. That's akin to focusing on the idea of a roaring fire rather than creating the spark to get it going.
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