The journey to self employment and success usually starts with an interest or passion that can be turned into a viable business. Doing something you love that makes money is about as good as it gets.
Starting a new business will take you outside your comfort zone but try to stick with what you know and are comfortable with as much as possible. If there are gaps in your knowledge it can be great to learn more or get training however you should always consider out-sourcing as an option. You don’t want to spend weeks learning how to do something that someone could have done for you in a few hours – this especially applies to tasks that you may only ever do once (like create a website). Personal learning is great and starting a business will contribute to this but don’t make more work for yourself than is already needed. In short; go with your strengths when brainstorming for a new business!
Below are some suggestions that might get you closer to identifying the type and shape of your new business. We are looking for the thing your customers will want to pay for – the Value Proposition. The Value Proposition is the solution that responds to the customers problem or need. Whatever business you come up with it must offer at least one of the following values:
- Newness – something that has not been done before or that satisfies a new need
- Performance – doing something better than it has been done before; creating an improvement
- Customisation – tailoring a product or service to specific needs for mass market or individuals
- Get the job done – helping customers achieve their outcomes
- Design – creating a product that stands out due to superior design or aesthetics
- Brand/Status – creating increased value through perceived brand superiority
- Price – offering comparable products or services at a lower price
- Cost reduction – create value by helping customers reduce their costs
- Risk reduction – value created by reducing the risks customers take when purchasing a product or service
- Accessibility – making products available to customers through innovation, expansion or affordability
- Convenience/Usability – adding value by making products and services easier to use
If your business idea doesn’t turn out to have a Value Proposition or if you have just started looking for that special business idea use the above list to prompt and inspire your thinking.
In order to nail down the business idea you will actually run with you should have as many ideas on the board as you can think up. There are several reasons for this but probably the most important is that if you don’t have a plan B or C or D you risk becoming fixated on plan A and if plan A has flaws or drawbacks you may be tempted to ignore them and run with it because its the only one you’ve got. Having said that, sometimes the first most instinctive idea is the best one so don’t be afraid to go back for another look.
Ask some open questions like:
- What do I know? – Do I have a knowledge that has a value to others?
- What skills do I have? – Do I have some skill that can be repackaged and sold ?
- What could be next? – whats that thing just beyond the horizon that will be the next thing?
- What needs fixing? A lot needs fixing – what is that problem crying out for a solution?
- Is there a niche to be filled? – Is something missing from the market?
- Can I do something new? – Can I learn something new or apply my skills to a new field?
- Is there a sleeping giant? – Can I identify a dormant category lacking recent innovation?
- Can I make something cheaper? – What is too expensive that needs a redesign or rethink?
- Is there a lack of something in the market? – Can I identify a brand new consumer need?
- Can I match one product with another in a way not previously done?
Just remember that inspiration can come from the smallest and sometimes most unlikely things so be observant and keep an open mind and if you are looking for a new business to start up or buy into have a look at some of the business models our own partners are doing, sharing or offering.