The first step in starting a business is to come up with an idea. You can start by identifying the problems that you and others have. Some people use an unstructured approach when trying to find a business idea. Some people are more productive when they follow a step-by, systematic process that guides them through their brainstorming sessions.
Because business is basically solving customers’ problems for money, it’s a smart idea to start with a problem. After you have an idea, get feedback to validate it. Final step: Secure your idea and start the business.
In five easy steps, here’s how you can come up with an idea for a business.
- 1 1. For a business idea, look inward
- 2 2. For a business idea, look to others
- 3 3. Brainstorm Solutions for Your Idea
- 4 4. To ensure success, validate your idea
- 5 5. Make your idea a reality
- 6 Bottom line
1. For a business idea, look inward
Your own experience is the best place to start a business idea. You may find a solution to a problem you are not able to solve. Is there a way to solve the problem or can you suggest a solution? All problems such as these should be written down, even if they aren’t immediately solved. For inspiration, consider your strengths, interests, and skills.
Analyze your own problems
Your own problems are the best place to find a business idea. What are your daily challenges? This does not have to be a new business idea. It could be as simple as firing your lawn-care company and then finding it difficult to find a new company. This is a problem that’s worth looking into.
Make the most of your current strengths
Most business owners today build their business around their strengths. Your strengths could be the skills and knowledge that you have gained through work or hobbies. One example of this is if you have 20 years experience in sales and want to use those skills in real estate. Another example is if your passion for cycling has taught you a lot and you are able to fix friends’ road bikes.
Learn how to hone your current skills
You can also narrow down your job to offer a specific product or service. This is another way to generate a business idea. This is a well-known saying: “The riches are in the niches.” Because specific services solve specific problems.
You might be able, for example, to market yourself as a digital marketer who works with businesses. It will be easier to find the right business owners if you are a marketer in a specific niche.
Cross-pollinate your skills and interests
Cross-pollinating is the process of combining two different skills or interests to create a business idea. If someone works full-time as a software engineer in a tech company but enjoys creating custom drone monitoring software for farms or industrial businesses, cross-pollinating could be a viable business idea.
2. For a business idea, look to others
Look at the problems that others have if you are having difficulty coming up with ideas. Friends and families are often willing to share their daily struggles. Perhaps there is a business idea that could help them overcome these challenges. To find a business idea that appeals to consumers, you can research trends and current markets.
Listen to Family and Friends
When your family or friends are having problems, make it a habit to listen. Perhaps they are unable to find reliable movers within their local area that will not overcharge for a quote. Perhaps they are complaining about a particular problem with their bike. You can write down any business ideas that are related to the problem they are having, whether it is product- or service-based.
It’s a great way to connect with family and friends through social media. People will often complain online before telling their friends. Also, take a look at the industries that are near you with negative reviews.
Are the closest three pest control companies to your home all rated at least 3 stars on Google? This is a sign that a new pest management company could be more helpful to their customers.
Get to know other business owners
Two people with different strengths can create new companies. Apple was created by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Wozniak was a skilled engineer and had an interest in building the computer. Jobs was an experienced salesperson and marketer, with a keen interest in user experience. Wozniak and Jobs could not have sold the first Apple computer by themselves. They were able to do it together, thanks to their diverse strengths and abilities.
Follow the Trends
You can also spot trends and capitalize on them to find a business idea. Start selling your product on Amazon as soon as you know it is likely to become a big seller. Millions of dollars were made by the first fidget spinner movers in 2017. Also, you should look at trends across the country and see if it is possible to bring them to your area. Ramen restaurants, for example, were established in Los Angeles and are now rapidly expanding across the United States.
Conduct market research
For direction, you can use market research and industry research. IBIS World offers reports that are up-to-date quarterly on hundreds specific industries. It discusses whether the industry is likely to grow or shrink. A report costs around $1,095. A report costs around $1,095.
According to IBIS World, a local solar power installation business or massage business may be a good idea in the US
3. Brainstorm Solutions for Your Idea
You may be able to identify the problem and come up with a solution immediately. If you are having trouble coming up with creative solutions, there are strategies that can help. Make it easy to record your ideas and give yourself time to think. Look to others for inspiration. Get involved in local networking groups or entrepreneur networking sites.
Take the time to think
You can set aside time each day to reflect on the problems that you have listed. Meditation is a good way to meditate. This allows you to sit down and think about the problem for up to an hour. To relax and be more creative, some people choose to float in a local sensory-deprivation tank. This is a closed chamber that holds 12-inches of saltwater at room temperature. It can hold between 30 and 120 minutes. Spend time outdoors and go for walks. Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook and has often taken walking meetings in Menlo Park.
Make it easy to record ideas
An idea can come to you at any time during the day, whether it’s while driving, showering, or eating lunch. No matter how small your inspiration may be, you should write it down in a notebook or on your smartphone. You can also place the solution where you can easily see it. To help you think it through later, write it down on a sticky note. Don’t be discouraged if the idea doesn’t work out. It’s important to be your best friend during any creative process.
Network with Peers
Talking to others about the problem and possible solutions you are trying to solve is a great way for creativity. People who are more outgoing may prefer to communicate with business peers rather than write in a journal. To meet like-minded entrepreneurs, join a local Meetup if you don’t have family or friends.
Register for a Website
Many websites allow you to connect with other entrepreneurs. These websites can also help you find co-founders to your business. Consider joining a founders network website if you have a problem you think needs to be solved but are not qualified to solve it. CoFoundersLab, for example, is the largest global network of entrepreneurs. FounderDating also allows you to meet like-minded entrepreneurs and receive advice.
4. To ensure success, validate your idea
Validating your business idea requires that you put in the effort to make sure customers pay for the solution. True validation is when someone purchases your product or services. It’s possible to predict how your product will perform in the marketplace until it is created or your business is established.
To gather feedback, you might consider creating some focus groups or surveys. It is possible to build an online audience and get feedback on your idea. A crowdfunding campaign is another great way to make sure your business idea is successful.
Focus Groups, Beta Testing, & Surveys
Focus groups allow for feedback from a group of people. Focus groups are a great way to gather feedback on products you can make yourself, such as baked goods. Beta testing is when you test different versions of a product (usually software) and get feedback. To solicit feedback from your peers, you can use an online survey tool like SurveyMonkey.
Online Audience Building or Customer Base
It’s a great way for you to validate your idea by building an online audience or potential customer base before you launch your product or service. If you are thinking about opening a tabletop gambling location, it is worth creating a Facebook group for local residents who are interested in tabletop gaming. It will be hard work to promote your Facebook group at networking events. Once the group has been created, you will be able to validate interest and find potential customers for your company.
Start a Crowdfunding campaign
A crowdfunding campaign is one of the most effective ways to validate business ideas. This is a way for you to raise funds through preselling products or services. A crowdfunding platform typically charges a 5% processing fee and a percentage of the total amount raised.
Ask Family and Friends
To validate your business idea, you should not ask family members and friends. They will often give positive feedback, as they don’t want you to feel hurt. They may also purchase your product or services to support you. They may even support your crowdfunding campaign, even though they would not have bought the product or service from another entity.
5. Make your idea a reality
Once customers have shown that they are willing to pay money for your solution to their problem, you can start making your business a reality. The first step in creating a business plan is to include detailed financial projections. Next, you will need to secure your idea or business through legal means. Finally, you need to raise the capital required to make your dream come true.
Make a business plan
Every business needs a strategic roadmap to help guide their business decisions. A business plan includes several elements such as competitor analysis, market analysis, and financial projections. A business plan is required if you are looking for funding from a bank, investor or other financial institution.
Business plan software is a popular tool for business owners to help them create a plan. Business plan software guides users through the process of creating a plan. Software that is well-designed will provide educational materials and easily-read financial charts. LivePlan provides over 500 business plans for you to use. Start today for just $19.95 per month
Financial Projections for Your Business Idea
Financial projections are the most important section of a business plan. It is also one of the most difficult. Financial projections are the income and expenses that your business can expect to have in the next 3 years.
For the first two years, income and expenses must be broken down by specific items and grouped by month. You will typically create projected financial statements such as profit or loss, cashflow analysis, and balance sheet. You can also use the financial projections Excel template provided by the Service Corps of Retired Executives.
Secure Your Business Idea
A patent is required to protect your business idea. Patents can be expensive. Although you can file a Patent yourself, most business owners hire a Patent Attorney to help them.
A patent can cost anywhere from $1500 to $15,000 for a more complex patent. A web-based consultation with an attorney can help you save money.
Fundraise Capital for Your Idea
It is difficult to find funds for startups or new business ideas. Most banks won’t lend money to startups. If they do lend, they will require that the borrower have the amount they need in a liquid account such as a certificate or savings account.
It is difficult to find investors. To meet potential investors, you can attend local business networking events. Be prepared with a detailed financial projections and a well-thought out business plan before approaching investors. Consider crowdfunding as an option to raise capital for your business.
It can be difficult to come up with a business plan. It is difficult to come up with a business idea . You should surround yourself with inspiration, and use every opportunity to think of solutions to everyday problems. You will be investing a lot of time in your business so make sure you are investing time on the front.