Getting started all starts with good business ideas. For many, however, this is not an easy phase. For people looking to start an online business the two most typical questions are:
- I have so many business ideas how do I pick the right one?
- I can’t come with any good business ideas to start a business, what should I do?
Coming up or picking a business idea is not an easy task and in this post I will highlight some strategies that work for me and I will give some actionable advice for picking the right idea. But first let’s take a step back and look at the basics.
What are characteristics of good business ideas
Now there are many business models that you could apply to provide with an answer to the question above. A traditional approach would say that you find a market that has a demand that you can supply, greater demand and the more limited supply will mean more profit.
However, I firmly believe that business is changing and I myself prefer to follow something that I refer to as the passionpreneur-model. In short this model encourages you to follow your passion and find a way to add value to other people.
Now it is important that what you have a passion for is also something that can bring value to other people, this point is crucial. On Sunday, I like to lie on the couch and watch Game of Thrones, albeit I probably could become a professional reviewer, this is not something that I can build a business out. You see my passion for lying on the couch does not bring value to you.
In the image above you can see the opportunity in the passionpreneur-model. If we have a passion for something we have to ensure that this is also related to what people care about. Remember the example before of lying on the couch watching Game of Thrones, me watching Game of Thrones is probably not something others care about.
Formula of good business ideas
So we now know that good business ideas are a combination of your passion that is able to relate to something people care about. But just having a passion about something is not enough. You need to have some skill that allows you to add value to the people that care about this particular area.
It is important to realize that this does not necessarily means that you already need to have this skill before you start. You also don’t need to be an expert in your particular field. Research and study enable you to become an expert and you will adapt and learn while you are doing it. Note that this applies to many small online businesses and not of course to professions for which you need certification or a degree. You can’t decide that you want to be a dentist tomorrow and learn while doing.
Now we have established that you need to combine your passion with a particular skill (or skill you are developing) and that you need a demand in a marketplace in order to be successful. However, we are still missing one component of the formula, you need a way to get paid.
It is important that while crafting your business ideas that you think about a way on how to get paid. Will you sell a product or service, will your money come from advertising and how do your customers find you and pay you?
Passion + Skill + Market Demand + Viable Income Stream = Success
The above formula is something you should be looking for when crafting your business ideas. Note that this is a general representation of the components you need; the weight of the different components could vary depending on specific factors.
Is your passion really your passion & is your idea viable?
Now it is important to ask yourself the question if your passion is really your passion before you even start thinking about turning it into a business. As soon as you turn something in business, it is possible that you will lose some of the passion you have for it.
Before thinking about turning your passion in a business think honestly about the following questions:
- Would your passion still be your passion if you spend over 20 hours per week on it? What about peak weeks of over 40 hours?
- Do you care enough about your passion to get through the long and sometimes tedious start-up phase?
- Do you like all the side-aspects of your passion that are less glamorous (e.g. a chef also has to clean the kitchen)
- Do you enjoy teaching all the ins & outs of your passion to others?
- Are you so passionate that you could see yourself doing this for the next 5 years?
The viability of your potential business is also an important aspect. Try to answer the following questions honestly.
- Are there other people already serving your market?
- What is it that you bring differently?
- Have others asked for your support?
- How many people are willing to pay for the value you provide?
Idea generation and actionable advice
All the information provided above should you give you a good idea of what is important when coming up with good business ideas and how to select a viable idea. It could be possible that you still find yourself in need for a more help because you simply feel that you are not able to come up with any ideas in the first place.
Although I was always a big dreamer, I too often felt that I lacked a million-dollar idea when I felt I needed it. Now I have a simple but efficient strategy that helps me to come up with ideas and provide value to others at the same time.
1. Write down at least ten ideas per day
This is something that I borrowed from James Altucher who has the strategy of writing down at least ten ideas per day. These ideas can be anything and don’t focus on their viability, feasibility or if they are good or bad. That doesn’t matter. The brain is a muscle, and once you start writing down ideas every day you will find you are becoming more creative every day.
In the beginning I struggled to write down six per day, now only ten ideas is often not enough.
2. Keep yourself organized
I personally like to keep an Evernote notebook with all my ideas. I have Evernote always open on my laptop and in case I am on the road I can access it through my iPad or phone. You never know when you are going to have an idea, make sure you are prepared when it happens.
3. Don’t be secretive
We are often too secretive when it comes to our ideas. There is no need to be secretive about our ideas as they often do not matter to other people that much anyway. Passion and drive is much more important when creating a business, don’t think too highly about your idea. When you share your idea you often receive other perspectives and ideas that could help your idea to evolve, don’t shy away from that but embrace it.
4. Use alternative measures
If all fails, just take a lot of showers. I often have world-changing ideas when I take a shower.
So there you have it, my advice when it comes to coming up with good business ideas. I hope that the above tips and actionable advice help you to transform your passion and ideas into a viable business. What works for you and how do you come with ideas and how did you knew you had found your passion?