Dear Mentor:

What community-building consulting business should I launch?

I am widely traveled management professional with about 27 years industry experience. At age of 51, I just left as a President of an Indian MNC [multinational corporation] in software services business. I had set up office in Atlanta, Germany etc with operations in Dubai and Singapore. Now I want change, as I must change my lifestyle. I wish to do community building work with some money to live the family. I want to do service based consulting, especially creating new forums, spreading better business practices etc which is lacking in the eastern countries. More upon your advice.

Community and Business, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

Dear Community and Business:

Obviously you have an impressive background with distinguished achievement. We feel that you would be successful in your next endeavors as well. Your idea of combining community service with some reasonable returns is quite interesting. However, the idea at this stage is rather general and vague.

As a successful businessperson, you know that the business concept must be narrow, specific, and targeted, at least in the initial stage. It must target a well-defined segment of audience and must offer specific benefits that are of interest to the target audience. These benefits must be differentiated from what already exists in the marketplace, and the cost of obtaining these benefits must be acceptable to the target audience.

If you plan to leverage your prior experiences in launching your new pursuits, you might wish to read an earlier article: How should I launch a software company?

To narrow down your business concept, you need to answer some questions, such as: Which country? What service? Who will really be eager to pay me for it? On a more personal note, you need to answer the very important question: How much money do I need to make to support my family? If you find you need very little money, you might consider activities such as volunteer work. There is no shortage of organizations that you could join, such as Rotary, or that you could model your activities after, such as SCORE.

We at iMahal have very similar interests to yours. We would be happy to engage in a dialogue with you as you refine your business idea further.

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