Thinking of a good business idea is tough. Do you want to start a business, but have no idea what you would enjoy doing that’s also profitable? When it comes to running a profitable business, you want to come up with a great product or service idea that solves a problem a lot of people have whether it’s a big or small problem.
At the same time, you’ll also want to consider what kinds of things you are good at and what kinds of things you enjoy for your long-term happiness with your day-to-day life. There’s no sense diving into a fruitful endeavor if it’s going to make you miserable. You’d end up procrastinating because it won’t feel like fun, but drudgery.
Here are 4 tips to help you in figuring out a good business idea and how to meet in the middle of career satisfaction and reliable profit margins.
1. Undergo Self Evaluation
With the goal being to start a business idea that you don’t find cumbersome, you’ll need to begin with a look inward. This isn’t a process you have to do blindly either. Don’t be afraid to explore personality quizzes, strength quizzes, career tests, or other kinds of assessments to get third-party input. This way, with the more information you collect about yourself, you should start to get a very clear picture of the kinds of things that you’d find suitable in a day-to-day role or even what industries you’d excel in.
For example, CliftonStrengths is a personality quiz that helps you identify which of the 34 identified personality traits are your strongest top 5. Once they’ve discovered these, they share explanations of the strengths, as well as what kind of work or industry goes best with it. The descriptions go on to include other personality traits that you’d work well within others. This could really come in handy when you get to the stage of hiring people to work with you.
Compare the results of the assessment against your previous work or educational experiences to brainstorm possible industries you’re interested in, compatible with, and of course the tasks you know you’ve enjoyed in the past. This will put together a baseline of good business ideas before you start to narrow in on your future business.
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2. Identify Problems In Your Day
Now that you have a little direction, you’ll want to find a more specific space in the marketplace that you can corner. When business owners are assessing their value proposition, what they are really asking is: how well am I able to solve my target audiences’ problem?
To reverse engineer a value proposition, you could consider the biggest pain points in your day and think about how they could be improved or solved altogether. For Gopuff co-founder Yakir Gola, who was the only car-owner in his college friend group, that one problem sparked an industry-disrupting innovation. Who wants to constantly be called on by all your friends when they need to buy groceries or run down to the convenience store? It led to the question, what if the convenience store could come to you? Now for people without vehicles or those short on time, it can.
Finding a very specific need like this for a business idea ensures that people will buy into your product or service. It will be up to you to keep your customers coming back. Solve their problems well and brand loyalty will create a long-lasting revenue stream over time.
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3. Ask Friends and Family
If it’s not your own experiences you draw from, perhaps your friends or family have been through situations that can spark a business idea. Not only will this give you a place to finally jump off from, but it can provide you with a group of people to test out your business on.
Going this route, you know you have customers that trust you right from the inception, and they likely would be happy serving as guinea pigs if it means they get to watch and share in your success.
This kind of early and immediate buy-in can be a huge help to launching the business and creating marketable materials to pitch the value proposition to others in need of your company.
4. Understand Local Niches
Another source of business ideas and inspiration can be your local environment. What are the needs within your immediate community? Is there any tourism-related business that can be tapped into? Are you a small town with one busy road running through it that might be able to break up long trips for drivers who need a rest stop? Or maybe the problem is that there isn’t much to do in your town at all and people need something entertaining to do.
Cross-evaluate these possible opportunities with what you’ve learned about yourself from the self-reflection stage and you might just find a point where they intersect. This is a very important step because any of those businesses could or would work but you want to also get fulfillment out of the work you’re setting yourself up for.
All of this advice is not to say the process won’t produce its challenges. You may start feeling absolutely certain of one idea only to end up going in a completely different direction. That’s normal and part of the process.
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You need to be able to know when to push or when to pivot. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just bring it all back to the center of the Venn diagram and simplify things for yourself. What problem would you enjoy solving for other people for years to come? If you can identify that answer quickly, trust your gut and take the plunge. Starting your business will be the most worthwhile endeavor.
Where specifically do you get stuck in trying to come up with a great business idea you can start?
Share your comments and questions below.