Starting Your Own Small Business? Be Practical, Not Creative

small business ideaBe practical and the odds are far better that the business you start will succeed. Forget being creative. That's the advice from Scott Gerber, serial entrepreneur and leader of the "Death to the resume" movement.

Gerber really means "practical" -- as in not trying to innovate. Instead of aiming to launch competition for Facebook, set up a dry cleaner or a deli on the corner. From those small seeds can come success. Big dreams usually lead to big failure.

Experience confirms the wisdom of the practical approach. Waves and waves of immigrants came to America. They started up restaurants, bakeries, laundries, and, yes, dry cleaners. They didn't write business plans for a patented process for refining oil. It was the next generation, their children, which moved on to that level of sophistication.

When you are pushed against the wall, as were the immigrants and as are many unemployed and underemployed, it makes sense to go with what you know, what's simple to operate, and what can produce immediate revenue. Eventually, sure, with the wolf not at the door, you can become more original. Or, you can stick with the dry cleaning, open more stores, and maybe down the road, franchise the concept.

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