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Ideas for starting a business

Updated on March 3, 2016

What business should you start?

So you've decided to start a new business, but you're not too sure on what the business should be, or even if you should start one at all...

What I'd like to emphasise to you before you begin, is to make sure the business you start is something that you are going to be passionate about.

Business is hard and you will find many challenges along the way, customers will test you and employees will certainly test you, so if you have the passion to continue, no matter what, there will be no obstacle that will be too big for you to jump!

Steve Jobs once said..."You need a lot of passion for what you're doing because it's so hard,"

I have run businesses that I have both started from scratch and that I have bought from previous owners, and I found that I enjoyed some, but others I have ended up hating. Of course, at the outset you may not know whether or not you are going to enjoy your new business, but the only true way to find out is to 'Do It'.

There is no point in looking back at your life and saying, 'if only I'd' or 'I wish I'd done...' etc.

What is the worst that can happen? I remember driving to the office to sign the documents to buy my last business and being extremely nervous. I recall worrying about what might happen, going through all the what if's, but I'm glad I went through with the purchase because I learnt so much from running this new business.

For example, with this latest venture, it included running a factory for the first time - it also involved having a business that actually made something, rather than all my previous businesses that were service oriented.

So my advice is to go for it and if all goes wrong, you will have learnt something and maybe it will be a success afer all

So where do you look for ideas?

This might be stating the obvious, but I recommend you doing internet searches, as you will always find most things there.

However, make sure the information you are reading has got credence to it and the source is a worthy one. so for example using news sites, like The BBC or National Newspaper sites for research into your chosen market is fine, despite what people say about journalists.

Use the internet to research the competition if you are starting out in an already established market. Look at competitor websites and look at what they do to sell their products or service, but whilst you are doing this research, make notes of how you might do things better.

Never be afraid to call your potential competition and if you have the chance visit them too - I know I have done this by visiting their showroom to see what they are selling. I have even carried out secret shopping on my competitors and myself for that matter, to make comparisons.

Order brochures from them and see what they contain, so you can get ideas and better what they do when you begin.

If you are keen to set up your own business, but don't know where to begin, then perhaps invite some friends or family over and have a brain storming session. List the ideas down and decide whether the idea is something you think you'd be capable of doing.

Do you have the depth of knowledge or do you have the necessary skills to run the type of business you are looking at starting?

Make your business fly - decide on a great idea

What type of business is best for you?

There are many ways that people get into business and these include the following:

  • Look at your own skill set - You might have worked in a particular industry for years and will therefore have the necessary knowledge and expertise to setup a business in this field. However, make sure it is something you enjoy doing.
  • Look at hobbies that you like doing and could set up a business with - You may have a hobby, like fishing or sailing, and you might love the idea of setting up a business in this line. However, be careful that you don’t end up spoiling your hobby by turning it into work!
  • Have you got a great idea or perhaps invented something? Many people succeed with an invention, take Dyson Vacuums, but many don't too. Getting a product to market can be very expensive, but equally, if it works it can be very lucrative.

Another important point to make is that you must research your market and make sure it is a growing market, rather than one that is in decline. Markets change all the time and with the advent of the Internet, things have changed so fast over the last several years. But this in itself brings along many opportunities too.

Once you have your business idea...

Once you have an idea for your business, you will ideally need to write a business plan and possibly prepare cash flow and profit forecasts, especially if you are looking to raise finance for your new venture into entrepreneurship!

Writing a business plan need not be difficult and you can find templates online by doing a simple search. This will give you ideas for content for your business plan, plus ideas on the layout.

Business plan tip no. 1...make sure the numbers you use in the report (and I recommend you do this), they must tie up with the figures in your cash flow and profit and loss reports.

Business plan tip no. 2...make sure your forecast reports include a balance sheet, as that way you know the reports and figures will balance and make sense.

Good luck with your business idea and if you want any help with this, please comment below and either I will comment back or others reading this might help too.

If you already own a business please vote in this poll...

How did you begin in busineess

See results

Plan - Market - Have a strategy

Have a strategy for your new business idea andgo for it - Good Luck
Have a strategy for your new business idea andgo for it - Good Luck

Some facts about becoming an entrepreneur

Here are a few interesting facts about small businesses:

  • Every major company began somewhere and was once a small business - Consider those business that began in a garage, like Microsoft, HP and Apple.
  • The average number of days holiday an entrepreneur takes in the first year of trading is just 9 days (Source Barclay's Bank).
  • According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn.
  • 36% of people who say that fear of failure is what prevents them from exploiting business opportunities they see (Source Barclay's Bank).
  • Only 30% of entrepreneurs say they are better off in business versus when they were employed, but 81% say they were happier (Source Barclay's Bank).
  • According to Forbes 71% of people are unhappy in what they are doing!

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