You can dream of running your own business but it can be frustrating trying to develop a brilliant new idea. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking revolution, like inventing some radical technological breakthrough.
The key to having the perfect business idea is finding a business concept relevant today and meeting customer’s needs that they are willing to have met or fulfill desires that they’ll pay you to satisfy.
This is why most successful businesses are based on existing ideas with a minor tweak to fit the local market, a modest improvement that better meets their needs and wants or beat customer expectations on price, service, or quality better than the competition.
We all have our own experiences, both personally and professionally. Rely on this when searching for your new business idea. Think about Joy Mangano getting frustrated trying to clean the floor with a hard-to-use mop and coming up with an idea for a better one.
Southwest Airlines built a successful business model on serving major cities in Texas that business people routinely visited and hated driving four to six hours to reach and would pay for a two-hour flight to save time and conduct their business affairs in one day, getting home in time for dinner.
Several meal kit delivery services have broken into the public’s awareness, letting you order meals from a menu and have everything on need delivered in one box so you can make what you want without shopping for ingredients or having food waste. The combination of different experiences and expertise is where the most significant breakthroughs and new successful business models come from.
1. Identify the skills you’ve developed.
Look at your experience. This is more than just the job you have at the moment. Parents may have experience with childcare, navigating healthcare system paperwork, or filling out education plans for a special needs child.
The jobs you held previously and while in school, along with any volunteer work you’ve done, should be included in this list. You are trying to generate a list of what you could do to earn a living. You’ll narrow down this list later.
2. What would work?
If you hate the work, it isn’t going to work as a business plan. No one performs a task well if they don’t want to be doing it, and a high pay rate loses its luster in a short period. Another consideration for each skill you’ve put on the list is whether or not someone would pay you to do it. Ask others what they’d pay someone to do instead of having to do it themselves.
It doesn’t have to be a highly skilled task. Some mothers now make a living doing naturally in-depth combing of nits out of hair to remove lice instead of applying layers of toxic chemicals to a child’s head and hoping to kill it. Also, compare the skills you’ve listed against the competition.
You may be a good cook, but trying to set up a restaurant is likely to fail unless you deliver a type of food in demand that isn’t supplied by the local market. Locally sourced products are scorching right now, and they provide an opportunity for small local producers who otherwise couldn’t compete against national brands.
Look for problems that are arising in your community that people would pay to have resolved. Don’t blame the economy – people still pay for services and goods that add value. The market changes along with the economy, so people are more likely to pay for repairing what they own instead of replacing items. This is where refurbishing discarded things or improving existing ones could become a profitable business. Setting up a consignment shop for a product type instead of opening a store that sells new ones is a good idea.
Look for opportunities to combine your services with someone else’s business, whether creating websites for friends, professional presentations for others who don’t have time or skills to make them, or do bookkeeping for small business people who don’t have the time to keep up with inventory and invoicing. In these cases, you don’t have to develop a brand new idea – only find new people to serve who will pay you well for doing so.
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