Finding the big idea

26 Apr 2010

Coming up with a big idea for your business, one that you believe passionately in, is the starting point for any successful start-up, says John Teeling.

He speaks from experience, having established Cooley Distillery in 1987 after being convinced for several years beforehand that whiskey production offered a huge business opportunity. His belief was such that he ignored the fact that almost everyone else thought the company would never survive.

Believe in your vision

“What you need above everything else is the idea,” he says. “It must be your vision and you must believe in it absolutely. Don’t go into something that you don’t believe in, because you’re going to have to drag this thing through the mire.”

Having the vision to recognise a great idea is something that often comes with time, he maintains. “Young people very rarely have the experience and the skill sets to see the vision,” he points out.

“For every Dylan Collins (Jolt Online) who saw something when he was 22 or Bill Gates when he was 20, there are a lot of us who don’t see these things until we’re in our 30s. If you haven’t got a great idea by 21 or 22, don’t worry about it.”

Keep looking for a business idea

He’s adamant that the most important thing is to keep looking for the idea and to put yourself in the position to find it even if that means making sacrifices. “You may have to go abroad, you may have to leave the nest,” he advises. “I don’t think anything else is more important than this. You find the idea by looking for it.”

Photo: John Teeling, founder of Cooley Distillery

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