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How to Come Up with Small Business Ideas

Updated on October 5, 2016

The Streets: Source of Business Ides

Flower Vendor in Hoi An
Flower Vendor in Hoi An | Source

Dynamic Market for Small Business Ideas

Small business ideas are sprouting all the time. The market is a very dynamic place. It is constantly changing and bringing with it new demands for products and services. And as such, business opportunities.

Books on business often tell you to do surveys or focus group discussions. Most of the time, all you have to do is walk around your neighborhood. Observe people, listen to what they say or ask them questions directly. You will be surprised at how much information they are happy to share.

Sit in a cafe and just watch people. Look at what most of them use, both products and services. Look around other parents and kids when you pick your child up in school. All the paraphernalia a kid owns tell a lot. These will tell you much more than any focus group or survey will do.

Street Search for Business Ideas
Street Search for Business Ideas | Source

The Right Thing Going

Small business ideas have power when they are just the right thing going at that particular time. Timing is everything. And where can you best get these ideas if not from the people on the streets?

You don't have to accost them if you are shy about doing this. Just sit there and watch. See what stores get a lot of visits. See which store bags are brought home by most people. See what services attract the most customers.

Indigo in Hanoi Owner
Indigo in Hanoi Owner | Source

Small Business Market Research Beyond the Streets

Over and beyond this, do your own search on the net. What are people searching? What enhancements do they talk about and wish for? What are the trends right now? What trends are emerging?

What is attracting attention? Look at what is developing around you. Read the newspaper and find out what is happening. What would these events trigger? In short, make your senses work. Harness them and slowly face the greatest challenge from these business ideas: Defining the business for you.

Do your own search for powerful small business ideas

Hanoi street
Hanoi street | Source

Hunt for New Business Ideas - What's the latest trend?

Find out what people are engaged in. Let all your senses work for you as you walk through the streets, as you talk to people, as you shop in malls. Look at what kids have and enjoy when you pick your kids in school. Listen to what they talk about.

What business idea will you pursue? - Here's a book to help you

This book gives you a list of businesses you can start without too much capital and how you can make money from these choices.

101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than One Thousand Dollars: For Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads
101 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than One Thousand Dollars: For Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads

It takes time to research all the possible businesses so this book is useful in giving you a range of options to refine what your own observations are.


Sift Through Your Ideas

Sift through the data and highlight the ones that get your attention. These are the ones of value to you. These are the ones that tell you about what really matters to you and what you really want to be involved in. This is what you need to look into.

To succeed, you must value what you do! It is not just logic is how you feel! Ask yourself as you go through your sifted data, what products or services come to mind? What makes you feel excited? Where lies your passion?

What's the Market?

But once you have identified the ones you are passionate about, look, watch and listen some more. See if the market responds positively to these ideas. Which of these clearly has a future? If you have your millions, you can afford to do only the things you are passionate about. But if you are starting a business and have no millions to fall back to, you need to be clear that these ideas have a profitable potential market. A market for these ideas not only now. It might as well already be saturated. Find an emerging need for such ideas that the market is only slowly awakening to.

Define your small business idea as clearly as a laser

I remembered very clearly how I started dabbling with the Web years ago and even took courses as I had an epiphany that it is going to be the future. Yes, the mobile business platform. But lo and behold, I failed to have a business going until very recently when almost everyone are already having an online business. I have not defined clearly to myself the idea I wanted to pursue as a business. It was vague and I just dabbled in it. Any idea, to have an effect, has to be as clear and pointed as a laser beam.

How do you refine your small business idea? - Go to the market

Make a list of all the small business ideas that resonate with your feelings and knowledge and you have identified as having potential market. Don't judge each one of them. Just write them down one by one as they come to mind.

From this list, identify the top five that you think you can do and like doing. To succeed, you must enjoy doing the service or making the product!

Look at your list and ask yourself these questions: Are these available in your neighborhood? If they are, do these products and services satisfy the people you talked to? If not, what are the gaps? Which of these gaps would you enjoy filling up? Can these gaps be served by one small business?

Remember that with the internet now, your neighborhood has greatly expanded. Think global now when you think of your market.

Thinking about business ideas? - Often?


Do you often think about new business ideas?

See results

Have you put one of these ideas into a successful business?

See results

Putting your ideas into action - Have you done this?


Do your business ideas meet your business goals?

Group the gaps and assign to each group a possible business that can take care of these. You now have a list of small businesses you can do.

Now, identify your goals as a potential business owner. Why do you want to be in business? Be honest with yourself. You may have several goals. Put them all in the list and then, prioritize . List your top five goals.

Then, turn to your list of possible businesses and ask, Which of these businesses will meet my own goals as a business owner? Or most of the goals, at least. You keep narrowing the options.

Resources for your small business - The best value for your small business resources

Which of these businesses will give the most value for your resources and investments? Think this way. If I invest 20% of my resources and get 80% results, that's where I should go. By resources, I also mean time. Sometimes, to get $1000, you need to spend a month. Look for something that will give you this in a week or a day or an hour.

Better still, you set it up and the money comes in and all you need to do is tweak it a little each week. Then, you can go off and do something you enjoy. There are a thousand and one little choices to be made that when done well and with a bit of luck, you can really have a dream life from your small business.

Start, Run & Grow your Business PLUS
Start, Run & Grow your Business PLUS

Showing us the steps to grow a business, this book is worth a read. Learning from the experience of others is always a big help in thinking out our own ideas.


Get those business ideas off the ground - Start, run and go

We often find that we just love to think of ideas and we keep pursuing options. We keep asking what if. This has value but the key is to start. Once you have started, more wisdom will come from your experience and you can redirect your business accordingly as you learn.

Business Ideas?

Some people have gone down so many runways but never got a plane in the air.

You'll need a computer - This is a must in your search for small business idea

Get one from auction. You can upgrade later on. If you don't have the resource, visit your library. There are computers for you to use there. Often, in developing countries, you can go to a computer shop and the charges are cheap. You are assured of a faster connection with support. Hoever, if you can afford something cheap, it is good to have your own computer.

A Business Idea Journal

Have a business journal and list all the important information you consider helpful. Take notes when you sit in cafes. Write down those ideas that come to you in your dreams. Put down those contacts. They will be helpful in your future.

If you're a business owner, share how you came up with your own business ideas. If you're not, you must have read something or know of other people's experiences. Share these.

Share from your own experience - Or your wisdom

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      my husband's parents lived there for awhile and my husband worked a bit there, too. We want to see it again now that it has really changed.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 6 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks aesta1 for your kind words!

      Life in New Delhi is very nice . It is one of the most happening places in India. The best part is that you will find people from all over India here, that is from different states of India. Therefore one can find a harmony of cultures, traditions, languages and festivals.

      Thank you for your interest in my country. Have a lovely day!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you so much for your very generous comment. How is life in New Delhi. We used to go there before when we were still working but we haven't been for years now. I really enjoyed my visits there.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 6 months ago from New Delhi, India

      A very valuable hub indeed!

      A hobby or an interest can be turned into a business idea. Initially it may be slightly difficult but with perseverance even a small business can turn into a big business.

      We have many examples to prove how people started small and became successful.

      Thanks for sharing this useful hub!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 2 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      This is an interesting article and advice. I am sure that a high percent of business success relies on the principles you outling.

    • Tamara14 profile image

      Tamara Kajari 2 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      Thinking of an idea quite seriously for some time now so reading like this is more than welcome. Thank you :)

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 3 years ago from Ljubljana

      Thanks for this comprehensive view on small business ideas. My experience? Try to turn something you enjoy into business. Even if it is not very profitable, you'll still enjoy doing it:)

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 3 years ago

      Lots of good advice here. Thanks for sharing.

    • igrowords profile image

      igrowords 4 years ago

      Great lens for kindling the business fires! Will apply to my writing endeavors pronto!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      I'm a visual artist so that was a logical business for me.

    • RuthieDenise profile image

      RuthieDenise 4 years ago

      We have run a couple of successful businesses but are currently looking for something different.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I've had several successful ventures in the past. Not on a national level, but enough to have fun and make a little spending money. It made me realize what it really would take to "take that big leap". Very good info here!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      There are always a lot of ideas that you can use great advice and a good choice of books

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      Good Lens. Thanks!

      I have noticed that people are drawn to me when I am doing what I love to do (fishing) and/or I am doing what I do well (listening). So I have built two businesses around those passions and talents. Within each business, I have several products and several services.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 5 years ago

      Important and topical

    • b2balerts lm profile image

      b2balerts lm 6 years ago

      How do small business owners from B2B space can avail these amazing business tips to promote their business opportunities?

      Now a days several business promotion tools available online like company listing in business directory, business catalogs and several other tools. So which one could be the best one?