Choosing the perfect business idea
So you have decided you want to start your own business but not quite sure what to do and are unsure how to come up with the perfect business idea. Do you have a million and one ideas floating around in your head but unsure how to channel them into a cohesive idea?
Follow these simple steps to help you come up with the perfect business idea that will set you on the path to starting your own business.
In my opinion, there are three key elements to finding a business idea that stands a chance of success:
- Do something you love
- Do something you are good at
- Do something that people are willing to pay for
Simple huh? Well, no, not necessarily. These three points need to have some careful consideration applied. So let’s look at them one at a time.
Do something you love
- What do you love doing?
- What could you do for hours on end and never get bored?
- What really fires you and fills you with energy and excitement when you do it?
Write these down. Jot down your hobbies and interests. Think about what inspires you and what articles immediately catch your attention in magazines or online that you immediately want to read.
And don’t limit yourself to the present day. Think back to your childhood. What did you love doing then but you may have stopped doing in adult life but would love to have the chance to do again?
Running your own business is tough so by finding something that you love, you will find it easier to put in those incredibly long hours and keep motivated during the difficult periods.
Do something that you are good at?
- What skills do you have?
- What achievements have you accomplished?
- What have you won awards for?
- What do you know a lot about?
Again, don’t keep it to the present. Go back to your childhood and remember what you were praised for.
What skills do you have that you could transfer to a new business? You may have been a PA for the CEO of a company and made all their travel arrangements, organised meetings, diary appointments etc so could transfer these skills to become an events organiser.
If you have worked in a restaurant or café helping prepare the food you may have the skills to set up your own cake making business.
I know a lady who used to work in the hair and beauty industry but found herself frequently setting up procedures to prevent accidents. She has now set up her own business as a health and safety consultant for hair and beauty salons.
Do something that people are willing to pay for
So you have decided what you love doing and what you are good at, but what will people pay for?
You love cooking and you have won awards for your cake making skills at local village fetes. So will people pay for your cakes? I know a lady who did exactly this but found a niche in making up cake hampers.
You love photography and are qualified in childcare. So how about being a children photographer? Simplistic ideas here but hopefully you get my drift.
The above steps will have hopefully got you started with coming up with some business ideas.
Once you have come up with your idea, you need to make sure your business idea is solid by carrying out market research, competitor analysis, how you are going to fund your business and reach your customers etc. If you need help with any of this, come on over and join my Build Your Home Business course
A HOME OFFICE VERSUS AN OFF-SITE OFFICE
Which office type is best for your business?
Every company or business establishment have their own office space where customers or potential clients visit them to conduct business. An office is a place where all professional matters are handled and any business transactions are conducted. Having an office premise gives a professional image to a business and is preferable for many small business owners.However, some people find working at an office inconvenient whether from commuting time, restricted opening hours if the office is within a shared building etc. Or, they may simply not be able to afford the premises. Therefore, many small business owners decide to run their business from a home office.
How do you choose?
Working from Home
Home-based business owners set-up their home office where they handle all work-related tasks. In fact, most set-up their own home office where they can entertain clients and business associates at home. Many find this a convenient set-up since they can attend to their work while being able to still spend time with their family.
However, the accessibility of the comforts available within your home, it is easy to fall into the wrong idea that you are not working. Hence, you need to develop a sound level of self-discipline in order to separate business from pleasure and focus on what you need to do at work.
Which is better?
There are several considerations that one has to make before deciding whether to opt for a home office or an off-site office instead. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude that one is the better option over the other. The best way for you to decide is to come up with a checklist of these pros and cons. Then, determine whether the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa.
Also, you need to consider your own attitude towards work. If you are the type of person who had to be constantly reminded and lacks the initiative to work on their own, then setting up a home office could be a devastating idea. Below are a list of pro’s and con’s that would help you come up with a decision.
Home office: Pro’s and Con’s
- You have more freedom of flexibility in terms of working hours.
- You can reduce costs such as office rental, fuel usage (from driving to and from the office), and tax deductions.
- It is convenient since you won’t have to dress up just to get to work. You can have your breakfast or spend time with your family and then conveniently check your email.
- If you’re the type who needs to get motivated to work, a home office might not be conducive to you getting your work done.
- There are a lot of potential interruptions at home.
- There are a lot of home office considerations to make such as securing all office equipment you need at home, office furniture, and some other operational needs.
Off-site office: Pro’s and Con’s
- The level of pressure and urgency motivates you to produce quality work.
- The working environment is ideally designed to make working easier for you.
- You have access to all of the equipment or tools you need to conduct your work.
- You have to commute from and to work daily. It becomes more difficult for those who live far from the office.
- Dealing with other workers within the building can be difficult for some, especially with clashing interests and personalities.
- The expense or renting the premises
The decision is now yours as to which is best for you and your business. Whichever you choose, ensure you have everything you need to hand in your premises and make it a professional, yet comfortable place to work.
If you have a day job when starting your business, how did you make the transition to leaving and going full time into your own business?
This can be such a difficult one to answer but affects so many ladies trying to juggle the security of a day job and the desire to run their own business.
There isn’t a perfect answer and it will be different for everyone, but here a few ideas to help get you thinking.
Give yourself a deadline.
Firstly, set your self a deadline of when you want to leave your employment and make that jump into self-employment. If you don’t, the security blanket of a monthly wage may just hold you back from ever making the leap.
Give long term notice
If it is possible, give your employer long term notice. Let them know you are wanting to set up on your own but don’t want to let them down and they may just be understanding (as long as you not going into competition with them). It’s a win for you as you now have your deadline and need to build your own business to sustain you by the time you leave and it’s a win for them as they have longer to find a suitable replacement and get them trained up.
Go part time
If possible go part time. No, it’s not always possible and your employer may not be too keen if they get wind you are setting up something of your own, but if you don’t ask you don’t get.
Take up temporary work
Make the decision to leave your employment but line up some temporary work for 6 months somewhere else to help the finances whilst you get off the ground. Look for maternity cover positions which would be an ideal timescale for this option.
If you can save up enough to cover your outgoings for six to 12 months, this will help provide that much needed financial buffer that you need. Having 6 months savings and also getting systems in place so your time can be spent finding clients and not getting it ‘off the ground’ will be worth its weight in gold.
Cash in on savings
Do you have any savings pots, pension funds, long hidden premium bonds etc that you are willing to cash in to support your business financially in the early days? If you do and you are not prepared to cash them in, I have to ask the question how committed are you to your business and do you really believe in it. Harsh yes, but when I hear women say they need that money in case the business fails, they are already admitting defeat.
Take a holiday
This is a holiday in the loosest sense of the word. What I mean is take a holiday but work your butt off to see how many clients you can get during this time. Book appointments in advance if you are in the service sector. See how much money you make. Try to get these clients to book repeat sessions and to recommend you. This ‘holiday’ may just make you realise what you could do if you took the leap of faith and went for it.
Take the leap of faith
Yes, you have to be brave for this one but sometimes you simply have to do it. It will be a sink or swim situation but there is nothing like not have that security of employment to get you focused to bring the money in,
Did you make the transition from your day job to running your own business? How did you do it? Please share in the comments box below.
Do you suffer Bright Shiny Object syndrome?
You know the feeling. You are in the middle of something, maybe doing some research on a project you are working on. And then you see it. First a little twinkle out the corner of your eye. And then it turns into this wonderful bright shiny object that simply demands your attention.
We’ve all been there. And this Bright Shiny Object is the best thing since sliced bread. Until ….. you see another one. Oh, what to do. So many shiny things to chase after!!!!
Now, these distractions can be just for a few minutes. Even in this situation, you are going to lose so much time trying to refocus on what you were originally working on. But the worst case is when this takes you down a new track and you leave your old plans unfinished.
The danger point is that you keep chasing new things and never actually complete anything. Therefore, you never get the results you set out to achieve and so the vicious cycle of chasing another BSO continues.
Here are my three top tips to help deal with the distractions.
Determine your end goal
Firstly, what is your end goal? Keep looking at your plan and make sure that everything you do takes you towards to your goal, not away from it. It is too easy to get side tracked and led astray so by referring to your plan on a regular basis you can make sure you keep on track and focused on what you ultimately want to achieve.
Yes, you are bound to get caught up with other ideas as you grow your business, but if you keep stopping and starting something new, you will never get anything finished. You will end up confusing yourself and ultimately, your clients!!
Commit the bright shiny object to paper
Whenever you have a new idea pop up, write it down. Have an ideas book or board. Pop everything on here. And then sit on it!! Wait for a few days at least and then come back to it. Does it still look so attractive? Are you still fired up by it? Is it going to take you closer to your end goal or is just a distraction?
Make a date in your diary
If you decide you still want to go ahead with it, don’t start until you have finished what you were working on before this new idea came up. Your old idea will have been important enough for you to start on, so make sure you complete that first. You may just find that when you have completed what you were already working on, you have found yet another bright shiny object and so your last idea has lost its attraction.
Focus on one thing at a time, do it, and do it well. Then you can move on to the next.
Do you suffer from BSO syndrome? Share with me in the comments below.
Would you love to start a business but don’t think it’s possible?
Have you always dreamt of setting up your own business but the thought of entering the big wide world of entrepreneurship simply scares you more than Freddy Kruger popping in for supper on Friday 13th?
Would you love to escape the humdrum of working 9 to 5, being told where to be at what time, when you can eat and when you are allowed to take much needed time off with your family?
Well, your dream to start a business needn’t be so scary. In fact, whilst it will undoubtedly be hard work, it can also be quite exciting and give a new lease of life that leaves you energised and looking forward to each day.
But first things first. There are a few things to consider if you want to make your journey as smooth as possible and go from fearful to fabulous.
What’s your passion?
The start-up businesses that have the best chance of success are those that are based on a passion that will carry you through the difficult times. Doing something you love day in and day out doesn’t feel like work. It feels like fulfilment.
So, think hard about what you love doing. What can you see yourself doing in 10 years and still loving?
What are you good at?
Now here is the tough question! What are you good at? It’s no good having a passion for something but not being very good at it. People simply won’t part with their hard-earned cash.
Putting passion and talent together, I know that I love walking my dog, but keeping her under control is a challenge and I am sure if I tried to start a dog walking business, my passion would turn into a chore. You need to think about this carefully. It’s no use starting a gourmet burger bar if your cooking skills are akin to flipping burgers at McDonalds, no matter how much you love being in the kitchen.
What will people pay for?
The third piece of the start a business jigsaw is considering what people will pay for, and enough people to make you a profit. You may love crocheting tea cosy’s but if everyone is now making individual cups of tea rather than using a tea pot, you are not going to make any money from your business idea.
I started my business consultancy because I have an absolute passion for helping other women build a life and income stream that gives them the freedom to do what they have always dreamt of. I knew I was good at this as I had a proven track record of helping hundreds of people start up and build their own successful business. And I knew that if people were serious about their business, they would willingly pay to get the help and support they needed to kickstart their success.
So now you have your idea to start a business. But what next? There are a few key steps you need to take if you really want to give yourself the best chance of success.
The first step is self-belief. You must:
- Believe you are good enough
- Believe what you sell is worth it
- Believe that your clients will gladly pay you
Because quite simply if you don’t believe in yourself and what you are doing, then why the hell should anyone else? This can be a real challenge for women starting their business so take the time to write down all things you have achieved in your life, all the compliments you have received, qualifications you have gained etc. Look at this on a regular basis and start to believe in yourself.
Create a plan
Remember the adage ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’. Yes? Well it applies to you when you start a business.
It’s all too easy to become so enthused and excited about your new idea that you dive in without any real thought and planning. This invariably leads to a rude awakening down the line.
You need to plan:
- How much you want to earn
- Your capacity for how much you can make
- What hours you are going to work
- Who you need to help you and what resources you need
- How much it is going to cost to get your idea off the ground and to keep it running
- What you are going to charge
- How much profit you will make (and will this be enough for you to live off)
- How you are going to be better and/or different from your competitors to stand out from the crowd
- Who is going to buy your product or service and how you are going to get them to know about it
- How you are going to take payment and deliver to your customer
Test your idea
To minimize the risk of failure, try testing your business idea out on a small scale before going all in. This will provide you with valuable feedback as to whether others love your idea as much as you do and if they are willing to pay for it. You can then tweak your idea if necessary and minimise the risk of a spending far too much blood, sweat and tears on something that simply isn’t going to work.
If you are currently in a day job, by testing your idea out of working hours on a smaller scale, you can continue to earn a salary to pay your household bills each month and ease the financial pressure whilst getting your business off the ground.
If you’re serious about starting your own business and making it a success, find yourself someone who has been there and done it and made it a success to help you on your path. Trying to go it alone will be both be lonely and quite likely a very expensive mistake. Find someone with the experience and independent perspective to help you steer clear of the numerous start-up mistakes so many make.
If you follow these top tips then you can start a business. It ain’t gonna be easy. It’s going to be a rollercoaster of a ride. I remember the days of going from a feeling of euphoria that I was going to be a millionaire by the end of the year to the depths of despair that I was going to be bankrupt by the end of the month all in the space of 5 minutes! But if you are brave enough to hang on tight, you will make it to the end and the feeling of achievement will be worth every single bit.
There is nothing better than working on your terms, at the hours you want, and setting your own ceiling of income to live the life you have always dreamt of.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I have survived the hard times. I now have a business and life that I simply love and could not be happier. If you would like me to help you build the same for yourself, take a look at all The Small Business Kit has to offer.
Recently in my Facebook group, I asked the fabulous ladies what piece of advice they would you give to someone starting their business today. There were some great answers so I thought I would share them with you here today.
- Be consistent and positive at all times
- Failure is natural and part of the process. Learn from it and do things better next time! 🙂
- Enjoy it. Be patient, it won’t happen overnight
- Be sure that there is a niche in the market for your product or service and be different!
- Research, research, research.
- Join groups like this one as going it alone never works.
- Cultivate the art of patience, have an open mind, learn new things and remain flexible
- Make sure you have a solid foundation first before you to try to run & lots of patience
- Ensure you absolutely love the product or service you are offering, otherwise it will never reach it’s potential!
- Trust your gut, even when ‘experts,’ can’t see what you can see!
- Find your tribe – we all need people to support and believe in us. Appreciate them hard!
- Be the person that you want to be, act as if you’ve already achieved everything you want
- Accept every offer of help that you are given, it’s tough going solo.
- Don’t buy crap you don’t need.
- Get one package done really well before branching out.
- Focus on one social media platform.
- Surround yourself with brilliant people.
- Spend time on your business from the start. Get great systems and take note of everything you do. It’s amazing how fast we forget how we started.
Feel free to add your own piece of advice that you would give to someone starting out in the comments box below.