There are two types of people, those blessed with knowing exactly what they want to create and those who are trying to work it out. If you have made it here you probably will fall into the later and either be (a) trying to create a list of businesses that might work for you or (b) trying to decide with a list you have already created.
Just like when you go to the fridge for the butter and swear it’s not there but it is right in front of you, you just needed some help to see it. Often times this is true for bigger non-physical searches as well. I have put together some questions to help you decide on what business to start.
What are you good at?
Make a list of what you have experienced during previous employment or hobbies. It could even be just an aspect that forms part of your current job. For example, you work as a receptionist, but you are fantastic at organisation and scheduling and you have fantastic people skills.
These are great strengths that would be great for any business but that could sway the type of business you want to start. For example, great people skills often translates well into sales or great organisation skills could be used to start your own events or virtual assistant business.
It is also not a bad idea to make a list of things that you are not so confident at and you can consciously work on these areas and have a plan to get help from someone else.
What are you interested in?
This could be the same or different to what you are good at. With some lateral thinking often what you are good at can fit neatly into what you are interested in. I am good at accounting, but I am not interested in it. I am interested in business creation and development and being able to understand the numbers really supports what I do enjoy.
Often people will tell you to get into what you are passionate about, but passion often feels like a difficult thing to define. What if you don’t feel passionately about anything? I believe you just need an interest in it and as your business grows, your vision gets clearer your passion reveals itself and you will naturally move in that direction. Don’t over think it.
What resources do you have available?
Resources is a broad word, but I didn’t want to limit this to how much money or lending power you have available. Money is important but it not the only thing that will help you get started and there are plenty of ways get started if money is limited.
Resources also include what tools, equipment, space, time and contacts. It could be a massive advantage to you if you know people through your current network that could be suppliers, contractors, customers or even partners in your venture. If you start a business that utilises these contacts it will save you a lot of time and take some guess work out of starting the network from scratch.
Time is another resource to consider because if you can only spare 20 hours a week to work on and in your business this is a factor to consider when narrowing down your list as well.
What does your ideal business look like?
Do you have a dream of what business you would like to run in the future? Even if currently it does not seem achievable this can be a good clue as to where to go next.
For example, if you dream of owning a day spa in the remote hinterland but you have just finished beauty school it might be logical to start a home beauty service. You could run this a couple of days a week while you are working as you gain more clients you take the next step to do it full time. As you get your name out there more opportunities will open.
What opportunities and market gaps are available?
Before you jump straight into your first business it is always smart to do the research first. It would be a tragedy if you when all in with an idea but there was no demand for it in the market.
You need to look at who will be your competitors, what are you going to do differently to your competitors, what can you do better, is there demand for it and who your customers will be.
Test your market first with a small order of the product or offer the service through a free advertisement gumtree or Craigs List and gauge interest.
Where to look for more guidance!
Answering the questions above will form a good basis for when you look at creating a business plan a little further down the line. Try not to get to bogged down in this process but it will give you a good indication as to what ideas will be viable. If you plan on starting a business that is going to be a capital heavy investment once you have done your own research it might be wise to get a professional involved in the process.
Although the amount of information you can find on google is great I would recommend looking at government organisations because they often have great free resources and statistics to access when doing market research. I have also found that bank’s websites can be a great source of information as well. And of course there is massive information that can be found with a simple Google search!
Do your research before you start
Before I jumped in and started my local business I did my research to make sure the idea was viable. I looked at the competition and found that many of them did a poor job of marketing themselves, they were a little outdated and I felt lacked professional communication skills. Although I am not perfect at any of these I felt I could do this better than my competitors even if was just on a small budget.
I found out what competitors charged for their service, listed my expected regular expenses and checked to see if it would be scalable if I put on an employee or contractor. I also researched what legislation was out there to make sure there was nothing major that would stop me, and I could comply. You will never know the exact answer to everything until hind-sight but this is a great place to start.
Deciding on what business you should start is a very personal question and you are never going to have the internet spew out an answer yes or no. If you use the tools available, do your research and look for opportunities you are well on your way to answering your own question.
Let me know in the comments what your current ideas are? Or reach out and I would be happy to brainstorm to list advantages and disadvantages with you.