How To Find a Good Business Idea (Expert Guides)
Business ideas for aspiring entrepreneurs
Having a solid, growth-oriented foundation for business or entrepreneurship is great – but you probably need a work desk, an internet package, some apps, and, of course, a business idea to get off the ground.
Why? Because, good business ideas are hard to come by. How hard is it? Research shows that nine out of ten startups in Nigeria failed as a result of using unverified business ideas.
And while there’s a lot of talk about how the people executing make or break a business, your idea is important. Even with the right mix of entrepreneurial skills, you’re unlikely to be successful without a good idea.
Ideas are where it all begins, and in order to become an entrepreneur you need to find a promising business opportunity, and then know whether you’ll be able to permanently escape from the 9-to-5 grind.
If you’re aware of the challenges and you’re still dead-set on practicing entrepreneurship, use the tips and strategies in this blog post as a jump-off point to spark your own business ideas.
You may also like:
- 3 steps to validate your business ideas
- How to build your entrepreneurial foundation (where most people stuck!)
- 5 characteristics of an entrepreneur (you must know)
In this post, we’ll talk about:
- Imagining your ideal work day
- Finding a problem to solve
- How to choose between a product-based and service-based business
- Choosing your profitable business idea
Let’s jump in.
- Contents hide2 Find a problem to solve3 Choose between products and services
Imagine your ideal work day
The first step is to sit down and imagine your ideal work day five years from now. How is this helpful?
Well, you’d be amazed by the number of people who aren’t passionate about their work or the number of people who’ve shared their aspirations for living a location-independent lifestyle but don’t actually want to spend time away from their families.
You certainly don’t want to end up in the same boat.
The aim of this content is for you to drop any ideas you might already be attached to and ask yourself – what do I really want out of entrepreneurship?
This will help you figure out the best business to start in order to feel fulfilled.
- Do you want to finish the day’s work before noon?
- Where do you see yourself living?
Essentially, you are creating a roadmap in terms of what your professional life will be like.
Answer all the questions you find relevant. By doing so, you should be able to better imagine your ideal work day and see whether any business ideas you’ve thought of align with what you want your professional life to be like.
Scrap the ones that don’t line up because they aren’t going to make you any happier. For example, if you can’t live away from home, the idea of becoming a travel consultant wouldn’t be viable.
That’s because travel consultants are known for their authentic, real-world knowledge of different destinations, and that comes with going to those places.
Find a problem to solve
Now that you have a rough idea of your ideal working day (and a few business ideas), it’s time to discover a problem to solve.
No matter your skills, product genius, or sales and marketing chops, at the end of the day, your success as an entrepreneur hinges on your ability to solve problems.
Not just any problem, but a recurring one. Something that your target audience has to deal with all the time, and makes them wish that there was something available to make their lives just a tad bit easier.
Random question: Have you ever spent too much time searching and trying invalid, expired, or fake coupon codes while you’re shopping online?
The founders of the LA-based browser extension startup Honey had the same problem, and they came up with a solution that made it easy for shoppers to find eligible coupon codes before checkout.
To date, Honey has raised $40.8 million in funding, and the browser extension has been downloaded over 5 million times on FireFox, Safari, and Chrome.
Hence, a great way to expand your list of business ideas is to find problems that need solutions. Below I share a couple of tactics that actually yield solid results. Tested and trusted!
▸ Use Quora
Quora is a hugely popular Q&A site that lists questions from various categories, making it easy to spot patterns. Within Quora, you can subscribe to different categories or follow Spaces (communities and collections set up around shared tastes and interests) to find dozens of questions related to your niche.
It’s almost as if your target audiences’ problems are served to you on a silver platter, waiting to be addressed. To get started on Quora, enter a keyword related to your interest/passion in the search bar at the top.
Quora will then present you with a list of topics around that niche. Your next step is to find patterns within your results, and then brainstorm solutions.
In the above example, my team and I happened to identify a pattern that gave us a business idea. One of the individuals on Qoura was asking if there’s any strategy to run a profitable e-commerce company in Nigeria without having to base in the country.
While there are lots of such e-commerce ventures, an e-commerce entrepreneurs could easily market their products to this demographic regardless of his or her location.
They could partner with manufacturing company in China to make their products and keep the inventory or use a drop-shipping supplier for the purpose.
Another interesting aspect of Quora is its ‘related questions’ feature. Whenever you click on a question, Quora will take you to a separate page that lists related questions in the sidebar.
You can browse through these questions to identify additional trends, thereby eliminating some research work. Once you have spotted a few worthwhile patterns within each category, start thinking about the potential solutions.
Repeat this process until you have 20 or more business ideas from Quora
NOTE: Jot down every idea you extract from Quora in a journal. Do the same for the ideas you had left after imagining your ideal work day. This will make it easier for you to remember them, as well as ensure you have a list ready for validation.
▸ Browse through the comments section of popular websites
On popular websites, the comments area is usually full of questions from people who regularly visit those sites. Sometimes, these individuals want to know more about the subject of an article, and sometimes they have interesting questions for the website owner.
With that said, here’s some advice so you don’t waste hours scouring the websites, checking every article, and finding that many of them didn’t get comments.
Use BuzzSumo or another similar content analyzer to find the most popular posts on a website.
The results presented by these tools are a list of most popular posts on a website based on social media engagement. If the post has many shares, it will usually have a red-hot comments section as well.
Choose between products and services
You’ve got some ideas about your own personal desires and some problems that need fixing. Now we’ll narrow the playing field a bit more: choosing whether to start a product-based venture or sell business services.
The main difference between the two is that the product-based venture involves selling a physical item, while business services are intangible.
Both types can be very profitable, and there are loads of entrepreneurs who’ve gone on to become millionaires with both product-based and service-based companies.
But as with anything, there are pros and cons to consider before getting started.
Launching a product business
Starting your entrepreneurial journey with a product business can require more time. Whether you choose to keep your own inventory or take the dropshipping route, you are ultimately responsible for your products’ quality, as well as figuring out what to do with returns.
Also, the R&D costs of building a product from scratch can be quite high (prototypes for innovative business ideas can cost upwards of $100,000!. I’m talking about real genre business.
But it’s not all bad with product businesses. When you launch a product, you just have to build or source it once, and then if successful, you can make money selling the same product as many times as consumers want it and keep searching for it.
Also, it’s usually easier to convey the benefits of a product and the influence it can have in a short span of time. If you have a bad posture and buy a posture corrector, for instance, you will know if the product works for you within 15 minutes.
There are several successful entrepreneurs who’ve made a solid living selling products. However, you have to be wary of the logistics involved, and be ready to jump through a few hoops.
Launching a service business
Starting a service business can be easier in some ways. For one thing, you won’t have to invest as much money upfront than with a product business. Online services, like freelance writing and graphic design, require just a computer, an internet connection, and skill.
Simply put, you can take your capital and put it into marketing rather than into stock, getting the word out and bringing money in.
Read Also: What is Stakecut affiliate marketing?
However, you can find it difficult to explain your service to potential customers. In fact, the audience you pitch to may not be able to visualize what you do. You can counter this somewhat by highlighting how your service could save them time and money, but even then you may have to frequently rearticulate its value.
Also, much of your success will be up to you, so it’s you who’s going to go the extra mile to increase the sales of your business, not anyone (or anything) else.
Depending on where you choose to offer a service, you might need an office and a small team to make it happen. Launching and working out of your home usually means lower overhead and growing with a team of freelancers, if you can swing it.
Business ideas for ecommerce entrepreneurs
Now that you’re aware of the differences between product-based and service-based businesses, how about working out your idea muscle?
While you probably already have some really good business ideas in your journal to work on, you might have missed out on certain business opportunities that are in demand, easy to start, and can be fruitful.
Pick your most promising business idea
The last step is integral to the entire four-step approach, as this is where you identify the best business to start. The ideal business will be the one that meets the following criteria:
▸ Profitability: Can give a good return on your investment
You want to pick an idea that has the biggest odds of becoming a cash cow for you. I did a lot of exercises in my e-commerce vs drop-shipping review book on trying to find an idea that meshes well with your interests and passions, but of course, you’ll need to balance that outlook with viability.
▸ Possibility: Is easy for you to execute
This is crucial if you’re planning to bootstrap or create a side hustle, or if you don’t want to invest in resources for the time being. If that’s you, choosing something that’ll require a ton of capital right off the bat is setting yourself up for disaster.
▸ Interest: Aligns with what you enjoy
Preferably, it should be something you see yourself working on for the next few years at least, so your idea has to be something that’s not only going to bring in money but something you’ll enjoy doing as well. For me, it’s blogging and e-commerce business?
At the end of this process, you should have at least a couple of business ideas that you can really start working on tomorrow, if you wanted to.
The next post (which is coming on Friday) is all about validating your business ideas, so you don’t waste your money and time launching something that nobody wants.
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