Let’s set the scene. You’ve been thinking about starting a small business. Maybe it’s been your passion for years. You’d love to quit the 9 to 5, be your own boss and explore your true potential.
The problem is you just can’t come up with the right idea. That’s where my guide to finding Small Business Ideas fits in.
First up, how seriously have you tried to come up with a business idea? Is it just something you wistfully think about?
Maybe after a few too many glasses of wine. Or when you’re stuck in commuter traffic on a cold wet Autumn evening?
Have you sat down with a clear head and thought about the type of business you’d like to run?
If you want to find a small business idea, it’s time to get serious…
Different Types of Businesses
First up you need to understand the different types of business. I can’t stress enough that it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. Spend the time now, before you start your business, visualising what it might look like.
Ask yourself these questions…
- How do you see yourself spending the day?
- Do you want a lifestyle business or go for growth and become a household name?
- Will you work from home or would you be happy working long hours anywhere?
- Do you want to sell to customers or other businesses?
- Have you thought about running a franchise?
- Do you want to provide a service or sell products?
- Are you interested in manufacturing?
- Will you sell online or on the High Street?
- Are you starting a full-time business or will this be a side hustle?
Some of these answers will depend on your business idea but it’s best to at least think about these questions before you dive into idea generation. My post Different Types of Businesses gives you the low down to help you think through your answers. Take a look before you read the next section…
# How To Find A Small Business Idea
Your small business needs an idea to get started. How do you find them?
There can be the “lightbulb moment”.
You’re in the bath, out for a run, visiting your nan and suddenly, out of the blue, you get a moment of inspiration.
The internet is awash with these stories. Some of them might even be true…
If this happens to you, then great. But don’t fret if the best idea ever hasn’t hit you yet.
There are other ways of coming up with an idea.
Plus, even “lightbulb” moments need to be tested.
How To Find A Small Business Idea
- What are you good at?
- What do you like doing?
- Which of these ideas match the type of business you want to run?
- What are other people doing?
- Testing your Small Business Idea.
- Try a Pilot
#1. What are you good at?
This is really important.
You don’t have to be a leading expert in your chosen niche but it’s a lot better to pick something you’re good at.
If you’ve never driven a car, it’s probably best not to set up a car showroom.
This is the time to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses.
Make a list of the things you’re good at. The longer the better.
Ask your family and friends.
Their answers may be insightful once you’ve got over the embarrassment. (Just don’t fall out over it… “what do you mean my cooking’s terrible!”).
It helps to take time over this list.
Start it one day and return to it a day or two later. There may be other things you’ve thought about. Think about tough situations you’ve overcome. Did you learn anything from the experience?
Can you turn any of these skills into a business?
#2. What do you like doing?
It’s not enough just to be good at something.
Whatever you end up doing for your business, you’re going to be spending a lot of time on it.
It’s best that your business idea is something you’re passionate about… and something you’ll continue to like doing over the next 3+ years, day after day.
When it’s your passion, there’s a much better chance of being successful.
Remember passion equals motivation…
Go down your list and cross off the things you don’t really enjoy.
#3. Which of these ideas match the type of business you want to run?
Your idea needs to match your lifestyle and the type of business you want to run.
Don’t get carried away… think about what it will mean to run the business every day.
For example, you love cooking and you’re good at it.
What about opening a restaurant? If that’s your passion and you can commit to the long hours required, go for it.
But if you have a young family and you’re the primary carer, not so great.
This doesn’t mean you can’t do something with food.
Enjoy writing? Start a food blog and teach people how to cook through online courses.
You just need to be realistic…
#4. What are other people doing?
This is a great way to come up with ideas.
Take your strengths and passions and see what other businesses are up to.
Does this give you any ideas?
Could you do something similar but better, or with your own twist?
An idea doesn’t have to be original.
Watch a few episodes of Dragon’s Den. How many of those ideas are truly unique?
Most are just a version of someone else’s business. A different slant, niche or branding…
#5. Testing your Small Business Idea.
You can think you have the best idea in the World but if no one will pay money for it, it’s not a business idea.
Find your market and test. Focus groups, online discussions (Reddit is good), go out and get some feedback.
What’s the competition? Can you beat it? What are your costs? Will you be able to compete on price? On quality?
Test, test, test…
The more time you spend testing, the better your business will be.
#6. Try a Pilot
Hopefully, most of you will be able to go through these steps and come up with a business idea that really suits your skills and lifestyle.
If you’re stuck why not take an idea that you think might work and find a way to start up on a small scale?
Perhaps as a side hustle?
It’s better to take a small step and start than spend the next 10 years looking for the perfect idea or the perfect time to start a business. Find out more from my post:
Myth buster – the perfect idea doesn’t exist.
Just start something…
Still stuck for an idea? View these 90+ Home Business Ideas You Can Start Today for some inspiration…
Download my 32-Step Checklist to Start A Business