10 questions to help you choose a business idea
Have you got an idea but not sure if it’s the right one for you or do you need a business idea in general? Answer these questions to figure it out.
Question 1: What skills do you have?
On a blank piece of a paper start with a heading of “Skills”. There is no incorrect answer within this section.
List down as many skills as you can in five minutes that either you have or if you are thinking about a partnership you have on a combined basis. Skills could have been gained through work, education, life or a particular need.
Think about this:
What is your present job? Could you do your present job working for yourself rather than being employed by somebody else?
Note: Successful businesses are frequently started by people with practical experience in the type of work that the business is in, but who find that they want more independence in their working lives.
Question 2: Could you adapt your existing skills?
Sometimes the skills people have are already oversupplied. You may feel that there is no room for another joiner for example. You may not want to carry on doing the same thing as you have been doing for yourself. Could you adapt your present skills and use them in a similar field.
Working as a joiner and instead of working at people’s homes, using your skills to make and restore original windows, or making fireplaces.
Question 3: Could you turn your hobby into a business?
Do you possess skills acquired by doing a hobby, could these skills be used to develop a business.
If your hobby is gardening and it’s what you are really passionate about, what about a gardening firm? Are you good at cooking? What about a catering service for people having parties at home?
Question 4: What type of person are you?
Does your personality or physique suggest any business idea?
Let’s look at some examples:
If you have persistence, enjoy meeting people and are persuasive, you might be a good salesperson. There are often opportunities for self-employed people to become salespeople to sell other people’s products. Are you fit and enjoy spending time in the gym and are knowledgeable about health and fitness; you might be a good personal trainer. Many gyms and fitness centres and community centres will rent out space and equipment to allow you to run your business from their centres.
Question 5: Could you work from home?
Do you have enough space at home to use it as a workspace? Things such as translation services, copywriting, word processing and virtual
office services can all be run from your home address. Any other ideas?
Question 6: Are there any opportunities for tourism and leisure businesses in the local area?
Talk to people in local sports centres or Tourist boards; they may have suggestions for market opportunities in the area. Listen to your friends about what they need or what they feel is lacking in the local area.
Question 7: Can you identify any new ideas
If you have an idea for a completely new product, the patent office has a very good online search facility espacenet. It may be worth seeing what has been thought of before and not followed up or at least you can find out if your idea is not new.
Question 8: Can you look at an existing idea in a new way?
Fact: there are few original ideas. Most successful businesses come from modifying, refining or re-thinking an existing idea. The most famous example: post-it notes, these notes resulted from a glue product that went wrong. Try thinking about products you already know, could you refine their use or find a whole new use.
Question 9: Can you copy somebody else’s idea?
For example: Visit a museum or a folk history museum, look at the products of the past, is there anything that could still be of practical or amusement that could be used today. Travel can be a valuable source of new business ideas that have not been tried where you live.
Example: Kwik-Fit was an idea that Tom Farmer got from traveling to the US, seeing the “Muffler” shops.
Examples: Juice bars and Coffee Houses, i.e. the Coffee Republic.
Question 10: Could you buy and existing business or franchise?
You might consider buying an existing business- if you do, make sure you find out why the owner is selling up. Businesses for sale are usually advertised in local papers and websites etc. Franchises are usually a proven business, but make sure your local area could support such an idea.