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So you’ve decided you want to be an entrepreneur. This is such an exciting career path! But the question is… where do you even start? Coming up with a business idea can sometimes be the hardest part!
If you’re trying to come up with a business idea to start this year, whether it’s an at-home start-up, opening an Etsy shop, or even starting your own blog, here are 8 questions you need to ask yourself first and some other things you need to consider!
WHAT YOU NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN COMING UP WITH A BUSINESS IDEA
Before dreaming up your new startup business idea, here’s a few things you should consider first.
1. DON’T TRY AND REINVENT THE THE WHEEL
What I mean is, your business idea doesn’t have to be some revolutionary thing that no one has ever seen before. It’s smarter to look around and see what is already working, and create a spin-off of that. That doesn’t mean your product or business isn’t going to be unique- it still should be.
You’re going to need some uniqueness to stand out in a sea of other startups to get your company noticed.
But, you don’t want to get so unique that nobody wants your product or service. You need customers to make a business work, and if you see another business doing well- that means there is a market for whatever they are offering.
2. YOUR FIRST STARTUP MAY FAIL
This is going to be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s necessary to know. Have you ever heard that Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he created the first lightbulb?! This article here does a good job of showing you how many people we know and love today failed many times before they were successful.
This isn’t meant to discourage you from starting your first business either. I personally failed 2 other blogs before I made this one work, and many Etsy shops and products were uploaded and created before I ever made my first sale.
This happens to almost every single business owner out there, it’s a part of success. What matters isn’t the failure, it’s how you deal with it! Use the failures as stepping stones to success.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE COMING UP WITH A BUSINESS IDEA
Now, let’s get on to the questions. Before you open up your Etsy shop or start researching how to start a blog, there are some things you need to ask yourself first before choosing the business type you want to pursue.
1. WHAT IS YOUR PASSION?
First and foremost this should be the main concern. At least, that’s my personal opinion. If you’re going to start a business outside of your normal 9-5 it HAS to be something you enjoy.
There are so many reasons for this:
- In the beginning, your passion is what will 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?”
2. ARE YOU GOOD AT YOUR PASSION?
Once you’ve decided what your passion is, it’s time to get serious.
Are you actually good at it? And not just semi-good. Like good enough to convince people to give you money for it?
For example, the first business I started was a crochet business. I love to crochet, it’s one of my passions. However, It turns out I wasn’t very good at creating patterns to get people to buy them nor did I have enough time to make physical products and to ship them out to people.
That business ultimately failed. So, before you jump the gun make sure you have the time, knowledge and resources for the business you’re considering.
Let’s say maybe you have a passion and you’re not an expert at it… Don’t worry, not all is lost.
3. CAN YOU LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR PASSION?
If I tried hard enough in my crochet business, there is not a doubt in my mind that I could have gotten it up and running. You can do anything you set your mind to!
So, if you can find a way to learn more about your passion and be able to turn it into a business, go for it! You don’t have to be an expert in your business to make money, you just have to be willing to learn more over time!
You need to know enough to start but you don’t need to be an expert. Humans learn best through trial and error. And many, many business owners, myself included, have a few failed business ideas behind us before we found the one that works.
So, don’t get discouraged.
4. IS THERE A DEMAND FOR IT?
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.
8. 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’s 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 problem.
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!
8. 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?
Because people are either too lazy to go get the food themselves (guilty!), they don’t want to go out in bad weather, or 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!