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Coming up with a business idea can be a really fun experience. But there are a lot of things that need to be considered, and it can be a difficult process.
Where do you even start?
If coming up with an innovative business idea sounds way too difficult, or if you just need some inspiration to get the ball rolling with ideas, here are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself. Along with some other useful information about starting a business!
1. WHAT IS YOUR PASSION?
This is the first question you need to be asking yourself. Starting a business is no easy task.
Whether you’re doing something online, or you’re going to be selling a physical product or service in a store- you need to have a passion for what you do.
This will not be the only factor in coming up with a business idea, but it is the best place to start. Here’s why;
- Your passion will need to drive you because money will not happen right away.
- If you’re going to step away from the comfort of a 9-5 because you don’t like it, you might as well step into something you enjoy.
- The mindset that you just have to pick a job to pay the bills, or you’re not going to like any job you have, in my opinion, is a terrible mindset. If you’re going to be spending more of your day working than anything else, you might as well enjoy it!
You most likely won’t like every part of your new small business job, it is a business after all, and won’t be all fun and games. So don’t think when business gets hard you should quit because you’re not enjoying it. But, it should still be something you enjoy.
And you will have to consider if your passion actually will make money, however, I think those should be secondary thoughts to “What is your passion?”
So to start getting some ideas flowing, think about all of the things you’re passionate about and write them down.
Start thinking about how you can turn that into a business. We’ll comb through those ideas and narrow them down as we go.
2. DOES THIS BUSINESS IDEA FILL A HOLE IN THE MARKET?
One of the things that you’ll need to have a successful business is your idea needs to fill a need or gap in the market.
Let’s say one of your passions is cooking. People love food and cooking. There is always a need for more recipes, easy to cook meals, and there might be someone out there that can learn from your skill.
However, that doesn’t mean there is a gap in the market. If you decide cooking is your passion and you jump the gun on writing up a cookbook you’ve skipped a very important step in the process.
Make sure people actually want the thing you’re creating. You need to find a hole in the market.
With how crowded a lot of business spaces are nowadays, this is easier said than done.
-FIND A NICHE YOU CAN SHINE IN
You need to narrow down your focus because “cooking” is too broad.
Maybe you could focus on a certain type of recipe.
- Cooking recipes for two people
- Easy recipes for picky kids
- Crockpot recipes
- Homemade Mexican cooking
- Traditional cooking
…The ideas are endless!
There should be something in your passion that you can niche down to until you find a hole in the market you can fill.
3. CAN YOU MAKE MONEY OFF OF THIS BUSINESS IDEA?
This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Can you make money with your passion?
This is probably going to shrink down your passion list quite significantly. But I’d do some research before getting rid of too many of them.
You’d be surprised what you can make money doing, and there may be something you haven’t thought of yet!
Coming up with a business idea is the easy part once you think about how that idea is actually going to make money.
You won’t get very far if you aren’t profiting off your idea.
Start searching around online using your list of passions as a guide and begin crossing off any that you can’t make money with.
4. IS THERE A DEMAND FOR YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
This is the final beginning stage of coming up with a business idea before you get to the tougher steps.
Once you get past the passion, it’s time to get serious about the money. Because you can’t have a successful business without it!
Do some research on your idea. Is there actually a market of people waiting to buy your new product or support your new business? And I don’t just mean friends and family, but of course, that is a good place to start.
You want to allow your business to expand past acquaintances and spread to people you don’t actually know.
If you can find a market of people waiting for your business, it’s time to move on to the next phase!
5. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS BUSINESS?
One of the most important things to ask yourself before coming up with a business idea is what are my goals?
You need to get clear on these before doing anything.
What do you want to come out of this business? What are the overall goals that you have? When coming up with a business idea, you want to think about the end result.
Figure out your main goals so you can work backward to create a plan for how to get started.
Obviously, income would be one of your goals. But that’s not specific enough.
How much income are you looking to make? Do you want a side income? To quit your full-time job? Save money for retirement? Setting a specific goal is better than just “make enough to quit my full-time job.”
Think about any goals that you have for your business idea, money-related and otherwise.
-WRITE THESE GOALS DOWN
You may be telling yourself “Well I know in my head how much I need to make”. Doesn’t matter.
Write it down anyway. Writing down your goals is the second step for getting clear on them.
It’s a psychological thing mostly. But trust me, the biggest battle when starting your small business is going to be yourself.
Take a few minutes and write down your goals. They can be vague to start, but once you’re done get as specific as you can with them.
Actually figure out how much money you’d realistically need to live on if you want to quit your job. Or decide how much extra income you want to save, go on vacation with, put in retirement, or whatever else you may be going towards.
6. WHAT PROBLEMS WILL YOUR BUSINESS SOLVE?
Businesses need to solve a problem in order to be successful. We call this a “pain point”. Someone has an issue and your product or service is there to fix it.
Here are a few examples. A customer is hungry and needs a quick bite. The solution? Go buy some fast food.
Someone needs gas for their car to get to work. The solution? Go to a gas station.
This works in all scenarios. Someone is bored and in need of entertainment? Go see a movie, buy a video game, go play mini-golf, ect…
Your business doesn’t need to solve these issues or fix these “pain points” exactly, but it needs to solve some problems.
Hopefully, by now, you’ve got some ideas floating around in your head. To make sure the business or start-up you’re thinking about will actually be successful in the long run, define common pain points within your product or service.
- Think about the problems you’ve had, and potential solutions for them
- Ask friends and family about the problems they might have
Try to identify any common issues with similar products (if you go the product route), or anything you noticed that can be improved on to make the overall experience better in some way
Pay attention to any holes in the market, comments, or common complaints with the users or shoppers of a product.
For instance, what are people struggling with or complaining about? What are they asking for help with?
Make a list of things you are noticing, but be prepared to cross ideas out. Remember, not everything will be able to become a profitable business!
7. WHAT SOLUTIONS DO I HAVE FOR THESE PROBLEMS?
Once you’ve decided on the pain points, you have to come up with solutions that you’ll fix in your own business.
The reason businesses become, and stay, successful is because there is a vast majority of people struggling with a common problem!
In what way will your business fix the pain points you’ve thought about? This is where the success will be in your business.
For example, take a look at all the door-to-door services there are now; DoorDash, Postmates, GrubHub, UberEats.
Why are they so successful?
- People are either too lazy to go get the food themselves (guilty!)
- They don’t want to go out in bad weather
- They have no transportation to get to the restaurant
Those are a few common pain points. Therefore, a food delivery service is a logical solution to fix them!
Take the pain points you’ve collected from your personal experiences, friends, and family you’ve talked to, and what you’ve observed from other businesses. Then decide how you will improve and solve those pain points in your own product/service.
Once you’ve got all of those questions answered, you’re well on your way to coming up with a business idea!
8. WHAT TYPE OF BUSINESS COULD YOU START?
Once you’ve answered all those questions, you probably have a few business ideas in mind. But in case you don’t here are a few ideas of online businesses you could start!
-START A BLOG
This is obviously by far one of my favorite types of businesses you can start!
It is so easy to start, but not as easy to maintain. If you love writing, this could be a business you could start.
If you are interested in starting a blog, check out the resources I have on starting a profitable blog, like this post here! How to Start a Blog for Beginners
-START AN ONLINE SHOP
There are a few different online shops you can start and many different things you can sell in them.
I would personally start out with either Gumroad or Etsy. Those are the main two platforms that a lot of online content creators use to sell their items.
I sell digital products and printables in my shop, but you could also sell physical products as well. I find physical products to be a bit of a hassle, but if it’s something you enjoy- do it!
-START A YOUTUBE CHANNEL
I have been absolutely loving creating YouTube videos and the entire process of being a YouTuber and while it isn’t an easy job, it is something that could pay off in the long run if it is something that you are really passionate about!
None of these online businesses you could start are going to be easy to do, but in the end, they will be worth it!
You can create passive income streams and actually quit your job to work from home full-time! If that is something that you are interested in, check out these resources below to help you get started!