Yesterday my friend Pete asked me this question.
"That's the wrong question!" I said. "Asking people around which business you should start could increase your chances of failure."
"Why?" Pete asked.
"Because you will be forced to mold yourself into the business idea I suggest," I said.
"What do you mean, Hector?"
"Pete, we all have unique gifts. You should start a business where you can maximize those talents. Operating on your strengths will increase your odds of success."
"Makes sense," said Pete, still hesitant to accept my advice.
"Think about it," I continued, "getting a business off the ground is very challenging. If you need to develop the skills that the new venture will demand, this will quickly become a very unpleasant journey."
"I think I get it," Pete responded, "What you're saying is that if I'm a 'shark,' I should seek for fish and stay within my territory."
"Well, that's a great way to picture this lesson," I said amazed by the clarity of his analogy. "Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't be sensitive to new ideas or challenges, I'm hopefully helping you narrow down your options."
"So where should I start?" he asked.
"Start by embracing who you are. What are your strengths? Identify your weaknesses. What is your passion? Your Purpose? Be aware of your financial limitations. Any location restrictions or technical abilities required? Will you consider partners? Who can they be?"
"That's a long list!" Pete said surprised.
"It's not easy. Be patient, and most importantly be aware of your emotions. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, it will influence your feelings. Make a rational decision, not an impulsive one."