All those budding entrepreneurs out there – you don’t need a big idea, your drive is as good a start as any

If you ever have the opportunity to see serial entrepreneur Sara Murray speak she will champion the view that you do not need a big idea to be an entrepreneur – you just need the drive. Yet many people who speak to me say they are waiting for their big idea to start their entrepreneurial journey. So by way of inspiration, here are a few businesses that started out by being entrepreneurial before being entrepreneurs…

  •  The founders of Sony started out fixing radios in a bombed-out department store in Tokyo, and their first ‘idea’ was a rice-cooker (which did not really work).
  • Nokia started life as a wood pulp company in a tiny town in Finland.
  • Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak started out together in 1971 selling electronic  ‘blue boxes’ that made phone calls for free.
  • James Dyson’s first invention was the ‘Ballbarrow’ created long before his iconic vacuum cleaner idea ever existed.
  • Nintendo originated from a small Japanese family business that made playing cards.

By stepping out and trying something, these entrepreneurs were best placed to discover something even bigger. Dyson identified the need for cyclone technology in his Ballbarrow factory, and Masaru of Sony discovered the gap for the personal radio market on a chance trip to the US.
On the topic of idea versus drive I believe that the drive will lead to the idea being found. Whether it is because that entrepreneurial drive is “in the blood” as Gu Puds founder James Averdieck simply describes it1, or it is what James Dyson describes as a “health disregard for the status-quo”2, there is undoubtedly a mindset  that goes with being entrepreneurial. It is a mindset where one is constantly seeking out opportunities, or looking for the problem or pain to solve in peoples’ lives: Find enough people that share that pain – and you have a business.
 1. How they started – How 30 good ideas became great businesses
2. How they started – Global brands