Helping business owners with mental health issues, Start Small but Dream Big
Top 10 tips to find the perfect business idea for you
Many of us dream of being our own boss, of organising our own time and answering only to ourselves. In the States, research shows that as many as 67% of millennials, and 45% of those aged 35 and over want to be self employed. In the UK, the Office for National Statistics reports that almost 5 million people are self employed.
While being self-employed isn’t easy and requires plenty of hard work, it can also be massively rewarding. A recent study, shows that people who work for themselves are happier than their employed counterparts.
While you may have the passion and drive to make a success of a business, it could be that you don’t yet have a business idea. There are so many options out there that it can be overwhelming. It can also seem as if there are no gaps left in the market.
The good news is that there is even if don’t have a business idea yet, there are ways of coming up with great ideas that you can make a real success of. Here are ten tips to help you out. Make sure that you jot down any ideas – however out there they might seem – as you work your way through them. You don’t want to forget a genius idea!
What experience do you have already? Have you worked in retail, administration, IT, or customer service? Alternatively, what hobbies do you have? Maybe you knit or love making furniture. Perhaps you’re a keen fisherman or hiker. Whatever you do at work or in your spare time, you’re sure to have some knowledge or skills that you can base a business on. Crafters should check out Etsy, while for those with office skills, UpWork is a great freelance platform.
When do you want to work? Some people can only work when the children are at school, while others need to work in the evening or at weekends. Some jobs can only carried out at certain times: domestic cleaning is usually done while people are at work; while office cleaning is done after business hours.
How much money do you have to invest? Businesses usually need some kind of upfront investment. How much you can afford to invest will affect what kind of business you can start. Low cost start-ups include cake making and dog walking. High cost businesses include opening a salon or buying a franchise. It’s easy to overlook costs, but this handy, downloadable combined checklist/calculator will help ensure you don’t forget anything.
What have you seen people advertising for recently? Look in shop windows or on websites where people can advertise for services they need. Handymen, cleaners, baby sitters, and dog walkers are often in demand.
Have you ever said ‘Wouldn’t it be great if…’? Or maybe one of your friends or colleagues has. That could be the basis of a great business idea. In New Zealand, two friends moaned about cleaning up after a party, when they had hangovers. They realised that other people felt the same, and so the Morning After Maids were born. Their service includes cleaning, breakfast, and even puppies! Check out their website here.
Have you noticed that your friends and family have something that they don’t use very much? Or that isn’t used at certain times? Parking in towns and cities, near train stations, or by big attractions, is often at a premium. Apps like Justpark.com match up empty driveways with drivers. It could be that a local hospital or business needs more parking spaces for its staff. You could handle the admin for your neighbours, and take a percentage of the fee.
Are you a whizz at admin, spreadsheets, or computer programming? Do you love writing or researching? Then check out some of the freelance sites out there, and get yourself listed. If you can commit to set hours, then something like a Virtual Assistant, or making sales calls could suit you. If you can’t work set hours then writing, programming, or creating spreadsheets or databases, are likely to be a better option. These allow you to work at times to suit you. You can also advertise your services to local businesses or sole traders.
Have you noticed a problem in at work that never seems to get solved? Maybe the toilet roll always runs out because no-one remembers to order it. A service that delivers essentials on a set schedule could be a winner.
Is there something missing in your local area? Perhaps you can’t get spices, vintage style clothing, or craft beer unless you travel some distance. Is there something that your friends or family complain that they can’t find? You could fill the gap.
Do you have the time and ability to learn a new skill that you could sell? There are lots of free online courses in all sorts of things. These range from specialist cleaning techniques through to app development. Udemy offers a wide range of courses, in subjects ranging from technology to personal development.
You should now have a list of great business ideas. If not, this list of 398 options from Small Business Trends might help. Use it alongside your thoughts from my tips above to expand your list.
Once you have some business ideas, the next step is to decide which one you can make work. We’ll be covering how to do this in another post.