Business is hard enough without the business owner making it harder than need be. Here Brian Linton, founder of Sand Shack, talks about how he keeps it simple with his business by keeping it close to home. Struggling to find the right product or service to sell? You may not realize it, but business opportunities are all around you. When thinking of a business to start many people fail to realize that they don’t have to look far away to find a product or service to sell. Most successful business ideas develop because of the unavoidable, obvious truth that, “everyone is different.” So what does this have to do with entrepreneurship? Each person has unique resources, knowledge, or experiences to build a successful company from – it is just a matter of exposing them.

When I turned towards entrepreneurship as a college student 3 years ago I came up with a ton of good ideas. One of the ideas that I seriously considered implementing was buying and developing remote tropical islands in the Philippines. Ok, don’t laugh, I seriously considered doing this. Because I grew up overseas I speak Mandarin Chinese and I thought I could buy an island, fit it with a house and a helicopter pad and then sell it to some rich Chinese business mogul. Although to me the Philippines and China were “close to home” (I grew up in Singapore) – I obviously did not have the resources to carry out such an endeavour, as I realized $1000 would not be enough!

Eventually I found something that was close to home, easy to get, and something a scalable business model could be built around. The idea? Buying beaded necklaces from Thailand and selling them under my own brand in Cape Cod, Massachusetts during my summer vacation from college. It wasn’t a novel or innovative idea but it was ‘close to home’ for a variety of reasons.

First off, because I grew up in Singapore I have friends all over South East Asia, including Thailand. Secondly, whenever I would visit the United States I would go to Cape Cod to see my grandparents, and during college this is where I would spend my summers. While going back and forth between Asia and America I made the simple realization that all the beachy, choker, shell necklaces being sold in Cape Cod for $10 could be purchased in Thailand for $0.20. Hence, Sand Shack was born.

Obviously, jewellery is a very competitive industry, however, truth be told, you can make money selling anything – the key is finding something ‘close to home’ to sell. You can have all the insights, data vis and analytics software, employees and locations in the world, but if your product is no good, and something you’re not passionate about, it’s likely to fail. Something you can easily get or develop. And although I looked in areas across the globe for my business, this to me was close to home – it was a natural and un-daunting process for me to carry out, and it was something I knew I had a competitive advantage doing.

So when you are choosing what your company will sell, take note to the following steps. Following these three simple steps will not guarantee your success, success will be based upon your merit to sell what you chose, however, following these steps will ensure that you enjoy, and are passionate about, what you are selling.

  1. Decide what you are passionate about. What do you love?
  2. Find out what product or service you can easily offer. What can you offer that is already close to home?
  3. Research the market for the items you have chosen. Can you make money offering these products or services?