A great business is a business where a sale can be repeated exponentially, without requiring exponential resource growth.
The vast majority of people dreams of "passive income", money that goes to your pocket when you are not working.
So if you decide to start a business, creating one that has the potential to give you passive income would be the smart thing to do. Not only is passive income very nice, but it is also often correlated with with another nice thing much loved in Silicon Valley: growth.
How can your business achieve fast, sustainable, and exponential growth?
There are five criteria that make it easier to become a successful entrepreneur or to "get rich while providing great value". Nearly every unicorn from the past 10 years meets these criteria.
1. Separated from your time
If you are trading your time for money, you won't ever be able to make money in your sleep. Because you can't create additional time, you'll always be constrained by the amount of hours you can work. To increase sales, you'd need to increase resources at nearly the same rate.
2. Low investment risk
If your business requires significant investment upfront, you'll have to give a lot of equity away. If you have little equity left, you won't get as much as you should in the event of a liquidation.
3. Significant barriers to entry
Barriers to entry mean that it will be hard for you to start, but it means you'll have less competition. This can give you more leverage with customers.
4. Within your control
If you build your entire business on top of another, let's say Amazon Kindle for instance, you're giving away control. If they change their policies, their API, or restrict access, your business could collapse.
5. Urgent needs
If your business offers a solution to an urgent need, solves a real problem, or relieves a strong desire, sales will be significantly easier. A great business creates a market pull: people DEMAND your solution.
Of course, these criteria only apply if you are looking to create a business that can scale.
Plenty of people will prefer pursuing businesses that do not fit these criteria. But these businesses are unlikely to generate significant growth, and wealth.
Examples of good (but not "scalable") businesses are consulting, coaching, massage parlors, cafes, or yoga studios.
Examples of great businesses are yoga apps, starting a cafe franchise, most SaaS products, or dating apps.
Successful entrepeneurs have mentioned very similar criteria to vet businesses. These criteria, combined with idea validation criteria, are very useful to come up with an idea and determine whether it is worth pursuing or not.
Ultimately, a great business will be a business that creates value. But if you can create great value for people AND make money for yourself, why not try that?
Best of luck! And let me know how I can help.