Many potential entrepreneurs have difficulty deciding on their list of small business ideas. They either have too many small business ideas or too few. If you are going through this guide in order and not skipping any steps, you should at this point have prepared yourself to become your own boss. In Step 3 you should have at least determined what factors are important for you in deciding what business you want to start. In Step 4 you decided whether working from home is right for you and in Step 5 you decided whether buying a franchise was right for you.
The approach we are taking is the same as a shopper deciding what he wants to buy and then going to the mall to get it, as opposed to wandering the mall aimlessly wondering what present he could possibly get for his wife this year.
If you are still looking for inspiration for your small business ideas, read about and then watch a video giving you four business principles to look for when deciding on a business idea.
Here are some more ways of thinking about the personal and business goals you thought about in Step 3, “Your Goals”. Go through them carefully to come up with a list of small business ideas. As you come up with your list of small business ideas remember this philosophy which bears repeating:
…Business is not about tricks, win-lose deals, and dishonesty. It’s about action, persistence, patience, honesty, faith and hard work. Business is about creating long-term relationships; it’s about making those relationships WIN-WIN. Business is about creating value in the world and being compensated because you have made people’s lives better. Business is about getting what you want by giving people what they want or need.
Follow your passion
What do you enjoy doing in life? What are your hobbies and interests? Do you enjoy dealing with people or are you happier working on your computer? Don’t be afraid of sales. Every person has to sell, even if they are selling themselves. What’s important in your life?
Follow the money
What large need can you fill? What niche can you occupy? Be a specialist, not a generalist. Consider what people will still want or need during a recession. In fact, think of what people need more of during a recession. How about helping people create larger incomes or helping people save money?
Don’t try to fight big companies unless you have a big competitive advantage they won’t be able to overcome with lower prices
You will never be able to compete with the big companies on the issue of price. You will be able to win on the issue of service.
Consider the trends
Can you fill a growing need? Remember that business is about making people’s lives better in some way. Think of solving a problem for people, filling a need, or satisfying a want. Determine your unique value proposition.
Establish repeatable business systems
The more predictable, repeatable and reliable your business activities are, the more efficient you become. By studying, streamlining and then documenting a systemized approach to customer service, financial management, team communication, marketing, etc., you’ll be able to free your mind of the procedural aspects of your business and focus more time on creative and innovative ways to be valuable to your customers.
Special for the Work at Home Mom
If you are a stay-at-home mom looking for a business, there’s a great business resource full of small business ideas just for you. Go to the Work At Home Mom page now.
List of Small Business Ideas that May Work for You
If you are still looking for a business, there are lists of low-cost business ideas that may spark an interest. Here are some resources I like:
If You Still Don’t Have Your Small Business Idea
If you still haven’t come up with your list of small business ideas, buy a blank book. Start out by writing out what you want in your life and how your business can be in harmony with that. Carry your book around with you and write your thoughts, aspirations and insights. Reflect on journal entries to learn from the past. Use your journal to slow down your thinking and gain a new perspective. The best collecting place for all of the ideas and information that come your way is your journal.
Your First Financial Tool — Break-Even Analysis
If you have your idea, it’s time to use your first financial tool to test whether the idea will produce an acceptable profit.
You Now Know…
Many people who want to start their own businesses have difficulty coming up with a viable list of small business ideas. You now know:
That the best ideas are those that meet your goals.
- How to establish a framework of goals to test your list of small business ideas. You have a list of goals I used to help you come up with a goal sheet.
- That you can look at my business model and how that model achieves my goals.
- Lists of various sources to help you find your idea.
- A financial tool–the break-even analysis–which can help you determine whether your idea is viable.