Step 5: Coming up with a business idea

Coming up with an idea for a business is really, really tough isn’t it? Nearly everything you look at has been done before. Or it looks too hard to set up. Or it’s too costly (why are franchises so expensive?!). Hopefully this page will help kickstart your thinking. And on that topic…

Think, think, think

When trying to come up with business ideas, it might be a good idea to start with looking at something that you’ll enjoy (I know this sounds really obvious, but isn’t job satisfaction one of the reasons you’re looking at this blog in the first place?).

Try to figure out what you enjoy. What interests you? what really makes you tick?

Love food? Love a specific food item (jams, smoothies, snacks) or food in general (want to run your own restaurant, cafe or foodie tuk tuk!).

Do you love watching films? Can you provide a unique spin on film reviews? Perhaps you love the nostalgia part of cinema – so how about something to do with posters, t-shirts or movie props? Love just one film and can’t find anything decent fanboy websites about it – why not look at how you’d make money from setting one up? How long would that take and how would you make money from it?

Are you creative? Like making things? Could you sell fabrics, art, pottery – or how about setting up something which helps people realise their own dreams of making art? Is there money in that?

Love reading? Try something related to books – perhaps selling them (be aware there’s lots of competition) or something on how to write them (not so competitive but that’s because it’s hard to do!).

Love people in general? Love chewing the fat? Love helping people face to face because you love the immediate hit of satisfaction and happiness that you get? It might sound daft, but why not think about services which involve talking to people while helping them out. Mobile barber service, where local people book appointments online? Are you an expert in a topic? Are you sporty? If so, could you set up an exercise club and help people get fit? How would you charge for that? How would you make money?

When the going gets tough – the tough go shopping

Not sure what you’re good at? Why not make notes the next time you go shopping? It sounds daft, but why not get really picky and think about what could be done better when you see a shop, go in, look at products, pick them up, try them out or on, how you buy it, what the customer service is like. Notice anything during that process that could be done better?

For example, I’m a busy parent and my kids are invited to birthday parties pretty much every weekend. Life is manic at the weekened and I don’t always have time to buy a birthday card, go to a different shop to buy a birthday present and then go home to wrap it. Why doesn’t my local newsagent sell ‘pre-gifted’ birthday cards ie a card with a gift already inside? Imagine buying a card that has a certificate or token of some sort already in the card and ready to go? Okay it’s the kind of lazy present only a dad would buy but hey – everyone loves a gift token right?

Pin the tail on the donkey

Well not quite, but if you’re really stuck for inspiration, why not open up a dictionary at a random page and see what word comes up? Can you somehow turn that into business? How about doing that with a history book? There are a million books on how to set up a business, but why not focus on autobiographies of successful entrepreneurs? You may not invent a cutting edge piece of kit in a Californian garage, but why not look at how key players stumbled into their field of work?

Still stuck for ideas? There are loads of out there like this ‘Business Idea Generator’ quiz.

If you want to find out more about setting up a blog, improving your social media campaigns or how to drive more sales online, get in touch.