Entrepreneurs love to take an idea and customize it to the needs of a potential customer. That’s what starting a business is all about, isn’t it? Sure, you can add your own creativity to any concept and market it as a unique selling proposition (USP), but that doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel.
In fact, customizing a concept isn’t a choice; it’s a necessity if you want your business to be successful. All you have to do is find an unserved need in the market, look at its potential to offer something different and fill that gap.
For example, have you ever been charged a late fee for returning a past due rental video? You probably grumbled about paying the late fee, but you paid it anyway. Well, when a video store charged Reed Hastings a $40 fee for the “Apollo 13” DVD because it was six weeks late, he didn’t get mad, he got inspired.
Hastings wondered, “How come movie rentals don’t work like a health club, where, whether you use it a lot or a little, you get charged the same?” It was from this thought that Hastings created Netflix, a flat rate DVD rental-by-mail service. From its start in 1999, Netflix has grown into a big business with revenues topping $1.3 billion.
Finding Your Business Idea Is Only the First Step
How do you go about finding the right idea to start a small business? Begin by listing what you are good at, what you like, what things bother you? What would make your life easier?
Get a piece of paper, make a list and write down the answers to those questions to help inspire your ideas. So it might look like this:
Things I am I good at:
• Solving problems correctly and effectively
• Calming people down when they are upset
• Expressing emotions in ways that build healthy relationships
• Reading between the lines to understand someone’s real feelings
Things I like to do:
• Immersing myself in a good story when reading novels
• Spending quality time with my family and loved ones
• Playing computer games on my PC
Things that bother me:
• Finding poor spelling and grammatical mistakes in published books
• Picking up my dry cleaning
• Being stuck in traffic jams
Things that would make life easier:
• Having a personal chef to prepare my dinner
• Creating a chic capsule wardrobe on a budget
• Finding a dry cleaner that delivers
Of course, your list will be unique to your talents and pet peeves, but you should start to see themes and ideas emerging. In the above list, for example, opening a call center that provides customer service is one option, starting a fiction editing service is another.
Once you’ve created your list of potential business ideas, focus on the ones that are feasible and weed out the ones that don’t appeal to you. If you are passionate about something, but don’t have the knowledge to turn it into a business, keep it on the list. It’s easier to figure out how to acquire the skills and knowledge to start a service than pursuing something you’re not passionate about.
Settle on the idea that has the most promise and do some market research. If the idea looks promising, move it to the business plan stage.
6 Steps To Finding Your First Business Idea
- Starting a Business? You Don’t Need a Big Idea (smallbizdaily.com)
- How to Find Business Ideas (business-opportunities.biz)
- How To Come Up With Business Ideas (business-opportunities.biz)