Choosing a Small Business Idea
Passion & Expertise
Choosing a small business idea that you want to devote all of your passion, heart, energy, and possibly most important financial resources is not an easy to do. The right venture for one person will never be the right company to start for another person. In the end most people's goals of selecting the path of an entrepreneur is to not only make a lot of money, but to most importantly be doing what you love. Be conscious of your reasons for wanting to start a new business and pursue an idea that will allow you to achieve this goal. Some companies may be more rewarding in lifestyle versus pure cash in the bank and if it is your passion and you have the expertise to do it well, that may be the right entrepreneurial path for yourself versus just something that may make a quick buck.
Make sure that after thinking up your next big idea, that you take a little bit of time to think it through before investing significant time and resources into building it out. Talk with family and friends and while they may be supportive and not point out the negatives a they may offer some interesting perspectives on the idea. It is absolutely critical that you get the opinion of potential customers as soon as possible. Make sure these "future" customers are not related to you in any way and can provide the kind of honest, sometimes brutal feedback about your idea. These opinions can be sought out both in person and online by reaching out to local communities that have focused discussions on the industry that you are thinking about building a company in.
Ideas Never Run Out
Things to Consider
When thinking about your next great idea to build a small business consider the following points below. These topics should help get you thinking about not only is your idea excellent, but are you the right person to build this particular company right now. It is also critical to determine at an early stage what else will be needed to get started. Visions are great, but to be a doer and not just a thinker, you have to take the blueprint off the napkin and make it into reality.
Questions to Consider for Choosing the Right Idea and Start a Company
- Are you experienced in the field?
- How many other companies have products / services that are similar to the idea?
- What is the market size? Is it large enough to justify a business?
- What reaction do you get from friends and family when you share the idea?
- How many other people do you need to help start this business?
- What makes this idea special?
- Do you have a team ready to support the idea? At least a one co-founder?
- What are the steps you need to take to make a "minimally viable product" with this idea?
- What financial investment are you prepared to spend to start a company?
- Why is this idea important to you?
- How many people do you know that could be initial customers?
- Do you engage with individuals in the industry on twitter and other social media platforms?
- Have you ever written a blog post about the topic?
The Lean Start Up
Who Do Brainstorm With
Who is the best person to vet an idea with
How to Vet an Idea
Just because an idea seems like a great one doesn't mean that the market will respond accordingly. Here are a few things that you should do in order to vet a new business proposition to make sure it has merit.
- Conduct Google Searches. This important for building a list of potential competitors, identify how unique the idea is and find out if you are on the path to developing something special or just joining the masses and potentially encroaching on fortune 500 size companies.
- Review Google Keyword Tool. Check out how many people are searching for the product or service you thinking of creating.
- Google Places & Yelp. If you are thinking of starting a traditional small business use Google Places and Yelp to find the competition in your local area, learn what customers like and don't like about their businesses so you can try and come up with a special niche in the market.
- Talk with friends and family. It is very important that you express your ideas with people you trust before spending too much money in building a new company. They may be able to offer advice, suggestions, or help you see errors in your thinking before you are in too deep.
- Identify your minimally viable product. If you have not read the Lean Start Up by Eric Ries, click on the book to the right, buy it, read it, and follow the basic principles. this will lead you to the next step
Action Items for New Ideas
If you feel confident in the idea after doing some initial market research, conversations with friends and thinking about the overall concept. It is time to start to take the idea serious and make a basic implementation action plan to really vet the potential business.
Record the Idea and Business Model
You do not need to sit down and write a formal business plan. That is a waste of your time at this stage of the company. However you do need to create a working document that identifies the idea in a complete manner. The following concepts should be in your document where you record the idea and a basic business model.
- The Problem - What is the idea solving?
- The Solution - How does this business solve the existing problem - How will you measure solving the problem?
- Why is this idea unique in being able to solve the problem. This is a unique value proposition.
- Why will this idea not be susceptible to easy competition in the market?
- Who are the target customers?
- How will you reach customers?
- What are the costs involved with getting the idea developed, supported, marketed, etc? What other costs such as employees, servers, business services?
- Basic ideas of the business model, how the company will make money, potential margins, life cycle of customers, etc.
- Timeline. When will the product development start, do you need a real estate location established if a non online business, etc. Determine a general road map that can be followed and used to discuss with individuals supporting the idea either as employees or consultants.
Get ready to devote all of your time and energy for the foreseeable future to your new company if you get through creating a working document concerning the idea and the business. You are serious about making this happen and you need to consider incorporating and setting up a business so you can start operating as a legal entity and get your idea out in the market.