How can you start a business with no business idea? This is a good question. I’ve met a lot of smart people who have loads of business potential but they simply lack a business idea.
I’ve been there and I know how frustrating it is to sit there and totally rack your brain trying to come up with a small business idea.
I’ll tell you right now, coming up with a small business is not as hard as you think. You have the tools and ideas necessary to start and run a successful small business right under your nose. You simply need to re-programme the way you look at business.
First off, you don’t need to come up with the next wonder product so don’t kill yourself trying to come up with one. What you need to do is consider the following questions very carefully when you are thinking of a small business idea:
1. What are your interests?
2. What sort of knowledge do you have on a topic?
3. Are passionate about the topic?
4. What do people come to you about when it comes to advice?
Look at these questions very carefully. The greatest success will come from doing something that your really interested in. Your small business idea should be related to something that you really enjoy or have a sincere interest in. This way, it will feel less like work and more like fun. This is the ticket .
No matter how obscure your interests are, you can work with it. You simply need to get what you love to do on paper and do a little thinking. No interests? Well, I believe everyone has an interest in something, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this page.
Everyone has a special interest or passion. Something that is of value to other people. What is it that you love to talk about? What is that you love to do? There’s gotta be something that you have a strong interest in.
What kind of knowledge have you learned from your job? What do you do on a day to day basis that you don’t even think about?
Therefore, before you go any further, sit down with a pen and paper and clear your mind. Go grab a cup of coffee and relax for a minute.
The first step in coming up with a small business idea is to write down 5 to 10 things that you love to do or you have a strong interest in. If your having trouble thinking of 5 interests, try thinking about a typical day. What do you do in your daily activities? Go to the gym? Play basketball? Golf? Play chess? Raise your children?
When you are thinking of a small business idea, write as many things down as possible. When you go to the bookstore, where do you go? What sections interest you the most? What types of movies do you like to see? What about your job? What do you love doing in your job? Is it customer service? Helping others? Research? Organizing? Whatever it is, write it down.
Once you’ve written down at least 5 interests, you have your basis for a small business idea. Believe me, there will always be someone to buy from you if your product or service connects with their needs. What do people come to you for advice?
Can your interests solve other people’s problems? For example, let’s say you love to go the gym. What is it that you love about going to the gym? Do people come up to you for advice? Can your love for the gym help people with weight problems? There are loads of potential small business ideas for fitness buffs.
For me, it’s business planning. I’ve been analysing business plans now for over 5 years and people always come to me for advice. What seems like second nature to me is valuable information that people are willing to pay for. This is a basis for a small business idea and it has lots of potential. Everyone has something to offer, you just have to think about it a bit.
The next step is to review your list. Keep on adding to the list as ideas come to you. This might take a little bit but hang in there and keep thinking. Take a walk around the street and clear your mind. Write down your interests as they come to you. Don’t censor any of your small business ideas. Don’t be shy, write down everything that comes to your mind.
Next, you will narrow your master list down into 2 or 3 interests. This will act as your short list and from these interests, you will form the basis for your small business idea.
Once you’ve written down all of your interests, you have to review your list and narrow it down to one small business idea. Can that interest be whittled down into a small business idea? Of course, you just need to be a little creative.
I’m not going to lie to you. When you are coming up with a small business idea, stick to something you have a strong interest in. Getting into a business that you don’t know nothing about can get a little messy. If you stick to something you know and love, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.
Alright, by now you should have a short list of strong interests. Now you need to narrow that list down into one small business idea. What interest has the potential for profit? This is where you need to do some preliminary research into the supply and demand for you potential small business idea.
The first thing I do is head over to the internet and find out what people are looking for. I go to Yahoo! Groups and Google Groups and type in my area of interest. I’ll take a look around and ask some questions.
Ask your friends and family and try to form a small business idea. For example, let’s say your interest is in carpet cleaning. You would want to check out the yellow pages, internet or any other place that might have some information on carpet cleaning. The important thing is to try and find an area within the carpet cleaning market that is currently being under serviced.
If you’re still drawing a blank, here are some topics that might help you with your small business idea:
Antiques and Collectibles
Arts and Crafts
This just a partial list of interests that may lay down the foundation for a small business idea. As the small business ideas hit you, write them down on paper. Don’t judge whether or not their good ideas on the spot, just get them down on paper.
Let’s say you have the following interests:
Let’s say that research is what you really love to do. Let’s say that you’ve done a bit of research and found out that the city you live in is a tourist destination. That is, people from all over the world visit your city.
With that in mind, how would you be able to generate a small business idea. What can you research about? Landmarks? City history? Why not write about the history of one of the city’s oldest and most interesting landmarks.
This booklet can be a history of famous people or famous hotels. Or how about a series of booklets on some of the city’s most interesting industries? Maybe an interesting perspective on the history of your city’s origin.
Tourists love this kind of stuff. If it’s well written and you can identify your market clearly, you can possibly do quite well. There are many possibilities for a small business idea here.
The main point is to generate a list of interests and brainstorm possible small business ideas. From that list, you can start to think of the possible ways you can start a small business. Just remember to keep thinking of your interests and sooner or later you’ll come up with your own small business idea.