No matter how great your new business idea is, it will never succeed if you are the only one who thinks it’s a great idea. People have to want what you’re selling for you to have a successful, lasting business. Indeed, one of the best times to start a business is when you can ride a wave of increasing interest in a new, underserved market. This is exactly how Robert Jordan began his career as an entrepreneur with Online Access.
Jordan recognized the wave of interested people clamoring for information about the Internet and how to get online. This was approximately 11 years back when AOL was making a name for itself by mailing millions of free AOL CDs to everyone in the nation. Jordan seized the opportunity to join AOL in the movement to educate people about the Internet and how to use it.
Jordan didn’t waste time; he launched Online Access as a magazine to help people who weren’t online know more about the Internet, and it took off in a huge way. Riding the Internet wave at the beginning enabled Jordan to not only tap into a large market quickly, but it also positioned the magazine as a prime target for advertising. It became profitable almost immediately from the bidding wars among other Internet-focused companies.
Now Jordan has zigzagged away from Online Access and into new a few other companies, but his success all stems from his initial capacity to recognize a need in an oncoming wave and fill that need before anyone else. He has even published a book called How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America that compiles handwritten notes and interviews from other wildly successful entrepreneurs.
Naturally, not every business that catches a wave rises to such success. Jordan was lucky and smart enough to catch that particular wave, but there are plenty coming and going every year for entrepreneurs to ride. Pay attention to your area and learn to recognize when something is going to be big and how you can attach yourself or your business to it. And always remember to zig zag in these waves so you don’t crash your business.