Putting small business ideas into action
How do you come up with a small business idea and how do you decide if it’s any good? Can you do your own research? When will you need to get professionals involved? Here’s how to put your business idea into action.
Where do good business ideas come from?
Not many businesses start with a eureka moment. Some don’t even start with an idea at all. A hobbyist, for example, might just fall into business by doing what they love.
Most other businesses are built around very simple ideas. It might be an old concept in a new location. Or an old service delivered online. You don’t need to be touched by genius to come up with something. You just need to be able to spot an opportunity.
Brainstorming business ideas
It’s hard to sit down and think up a business idea through sheer willpower. For most people, business ideas form slowly, in an unplanned way. But that shouldn’t stop you from brainstorming.
In fact, a brainstorming session now could help you have a ‘spontaneous’ idea later. Many psychologists believe that when you give your brain a job to do, it keeps working on it even when you’ve stopped paying attention. This is called the Zeigarnik effect and it may explain why ideas often come to us when we’re out running, in the shower, or lying in bed, rather than when we’re actively thinking about problems.
So even though a series of brainstorms might yield nothing in the short term, they could still set your mind on the path to a big idea.
Start thinking about a business idea now, and your brain could work on it while you sleep.
What products to sell, or services to provide?
A lot of people try to come up with business ideas by thinking about products or services first.
What are people buying?
There are techniques (and apps) for estimating what’s selling on Amazon, for example.
Which products or services have the best margin?
It’s easy enough to compare retail prices to the costs of delivering goods or services.
What products or services would be costly to produce and sell?
Common sense will tell you what products spoil, go out of date, or are hard to ship. Likewise, you’ll have a sense of what services might become dated or difficult to deliver efficiently.
These are great questions to ask when doing a formal business plan. But don’t overcomplicate it when first considering business ideas. Start by looking for a gap in the market – preferably one that you would enjoy filling. You tend to learn faster and network better when working on something that interests you.
Good business ideas can be bold or traditional
An idea that’s really original will present different challenges to one that’s been proven before. Where is your idea on the originality scale? Does your personality and skill set suit one type of idea more than the other?