Many people (including myself in the past) are stuck in jobs they hate, trudging along through their nine to five wishing there was a way they could break out of this rut and start a business. Quite often there are fears, confusion and anxiety of the unknown prospects a new business offers, not to mention not knowing where to start.
This article discusses the first step in breaking down these illusionary barriers preventing people from starting a business. How to come up with a business idea.
What are your interests?
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? You will surprised what great business ideas can come out of one’s hobbies. Check out this great video about US start-up Go Try It On. Basically the concept came from the idea of the founder Marissa Evans who used to ask her sister and friends about new outfits and whether they looked good on her. The usual advice was to “Go try it on!” as to get a true sense they would have to see you wearing the outfit. Marissa thought a great idea would be an online marketplace of opinions for those wanting to know if an outfit was right for them.
I started Small Business Wizardry as a lot of my friends would ask me for advice on various aspects of starting a small business. I thought a good idea would be to create an online resource and show people who are fearful or confused that it really is easier than you think to start a small business.
So what is it that interests you, can you come up with any exciting ideas?
What are your strengths?
Have a think about all the times in your life when you have received positive feedback. Have you helped someone out of a bind? The things other people have acknowledged and appreciated may be the services you should be offering to a wider audience!
What problem do you solve?
Is there a service you wish there was or product that does something that would make your life easier? If so set about creating it! Chances are if you want the product there are others out there just like you! I started Small Business Wizardry as I couldn’t find anywhere I step by step process I could follow to starting a business so I set about creating a business that would offer that.
Perhaps you work in an industry where your competitors offer poor customer service or you believe that the firm you work for doesn’t deliver value to its customers. If you think you can do it better then chances are you will be creating a successful point of difference that customers will value.
The key point here in attracting customers is that they are not looking for things to buy they are looking for solutions to problems. This is true when you are contemplating all the points in this article. Look to solve problems, not sell widgets.
What funds do you have available to realise your dream?
Sometimes your dream business, be it that corner store, cafe or other business you admire, may be out of reach due to insufficient funds. If that is the case think about ways you can get involved in the industry for minimal cost. Perhaps you could even work part time at a company in your desired industry. This will give you the benefit of working out if this truly is your passion, give you valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t, including how you could offer a service that improves on your competitor’s offering.
One low cost way to go about accessing funding is to have a professionally prepared business plan. This business plan will be a useful tool in accessing funding from banks and/or investors. You may also wish to check out our business finance articles for more ideas.
Other low cost ways into your industry may be through consulting or blogging about your industry. This may end up being a bigger success than your initial vision of owning a store or service business outright. Once again look to solve existing problems in your industry. People will pay you if you can identify a problem in their business that can be solved by your consulting or through informative blogs.
How much time do you have to dedicate to your business idea?
This may be somewhat tied to how much funding you have. Many people say they can’t start a business because they don’t have the time, or they can’t risk leaving their employment to take the risk of starting up their own business. There is some middle ground though. Start small, build a website in your spare time. Think of products you can create that you can sell over the internet. Perhaps an ebook that you could write in your spare time. Once it is up and running online there is no more work involved other than getting out and promoting it!
Have a think about the points above and see if what business you can create. Got any other ideas, let us know in the comments section below!