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Can’t think of a business idea?
Do you have lots of different interests leading to various business ideas and just can’t make a decision on which is the best idea for you?
It’s great to have multiple interests, but in the ‘follow your passion’ school of business that can make it really hard to choose a business idea because:
It’s not all about passion.
Sometimes you can combine all your passions into one business model, but it can also happen that they don’t fit in a way that makes sense as a money-making venture.
If you love several ideas and think they are all potentially marketable, it’s going to be hard to pick.
Nearly all the clients that I work with are having difficulty with one of three things:
- Choosing just ONE idea of many.
- Figuring out which combination of things they enjoy doing can be molded into a profitable business model.
- Seeing if the skills they have can be used to create an online business.
Whichever way you look at it, it involves choosing.
If this is the situation you’re in, don’t be down on yourself, it’s really difficult to look at the situation and analyse objectively when you are in the middle of it.
Want to decide what business to start?
And would you like to know the exact steps in selecting a business idea?
Here are the steps I use to coach aspiring entrepreneurs people to find, pick and choose the right business idea to get started on their journey.
Step 1 – What is behind the ‘passion’?
Whatever you are interested in you are interested in for a reason. (Note: If you don’t feel particularly ‘passionate’ about any idea, you’re not alone. Read this.)
My first step with clients is to figure out what kind of things they actually enjoy, which tells me a lot about what kind of work they’ll enjoy.
How do they like to interact with people?
Are they detailed-oriented or big picture?
Are they perhaps suited to coaching or are they more about providing a done for you service?
If you can break down what kind of tasks you like doing and why it can shed a lot of light on what kind of business is going to suit you.
Take my business as an example:
I am very process-oriented.
I like to know why things work and why they don’t and to always experiment to make things better.
I love to work with people, but I want to follow a process that will lead them to the outcome they want.
So in my business I concentrate on exactly that – creating systems and processes to solve business problems, in this case finding someone’s best business idea.
Take a look at what you have done so far in life and what has been fulfilling for you.
If you’re able to step back, you’ll see some unifying factors.
When you look at your business ideas do they fit these factors?
If any are way off, be open to the fact that they might not be a good fit for you.
Take those ones out for the moment and move on to Step 2.
Step 2 – Is it something you can see yourself doing for the next few years?
It’s important to remember that you don’t HAVE to combine all your interests when creating your business model:
You are still going to have free time.
Some of your interests may be best left as hobbies.
Having to do something for work can kill your joy in it.
I love to paint but if I had to do it for a living I’m pretty sure I would soon be a nervous wreck.
I don’t want that for you.
Are all the ideas left in the list more than part time interests?
Ask yourself – If I had to do this for 20-40 hours a week for the next 2 years how would that make me feel?
Take the business ideas that you are still excited about and move to Step 3.
Step 3 – Is there any way these ideas can be combined?
You’re going to need to pick one business idea to START with.
Once you’re known for one thing you can always branch out.
Starting a business is challenging.
It takes a lot of energy.
You’re going to be compromising yourself if you try to do two things at once.
If you care as much about your other ideas as the one you start off with, you will almost certainly end up doing those too.
So no need to worry about missing out.
That said, often what may seem like two completely distinct ideas to you could be combined into one.
Here’s some examples to get you thinking:
You are a reiki master, a coach and a yoga fanatic – what do you choose?
Maybe what it all comes down to for you is HEALING.
Maybe you heal people.. so what do you heal them from? Now we are getting somewhere…
Here’s another one:
You love helping people with business, people come to you asking for advice all the time but at the same time you really like building websites.
Do those ideas have to be separate?
Well, they can be but they can also be combined if you choose the right market – you could be a startup business coach who also offers techie help to get started.
See what I mean?
Have a look at the ideas you have at this stage and see if they have a common theme or an overlap for a certain audience.
It’s possible that you don’t actually need to choose, you just need to find the right combination for the right audience.
Still got options – move on to Step 4.
Step 4 – Of my choices, which has the best potential for making money?
If you already think all the ideas you have are potentially marketable and you can’t decide by looking inward, then it is time to look outward.
Think about who you are planning to sell to.
Your potential client needs to want to buy from you AND be able to pay for it.
Those points are really important.
They have to really want your product or service, point 1, and be able to pay for it, point 2.
In order for people to really want what you have it needs to solve a problem for them and the harder the problem is to live with that it solves, the stronger the desire to solve that problem.
It’s not enough for people to really want what you have though, they also need to be able to pay for it.
That is a case of choosing the right market.
Of your ideas, which is more appealing to your market? Is one more targeted at an audience that is more likely to have the funds to pay for it? Does one have more potential buyers than another?
You can rate your ideas for personal fit and for marketability using my Business Idea Checklist. That can be downloaded here.
If you are still stuck you may need to do some testing – Step 5.
Step 5 – How to know if you have a good business idea? Do some testing
The only real way to find out what the market wants is to test it.
As Marie Forleo says ‘Clarity comes from engagement, not thought’
[TWEET “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.” -Marie Forleo]
Figure out a way to test your idea.
For products, you can set up a simple web page, as recommended in The 4 Hour Work Week, advertise with a small budget and see if anyone clicks through.
You can do this before you have the product ready.
For services you can speak to potential clients and really see if this is something they would be willing to pay for.
By testing, not only will you see what the market thinks, you’ll also see how you feel.
More than anything this will give you an indication of if this business is for you.
Just in case you are still stuck, here is Step 6…
Step 6 – It’s Time To Choose An Idea
At this point you just need to choose:
Toss a coin.
Throw a dart.
Do whatever it takes to make the decision happen.
If you really can’t decide, you may need to look inside yourself and ask what the real cause is.
Often procrastination is a sign of something else under the surface.
Is there something you are afraid of stopping you move ahead?
Often though these fears are about scenarios that would almost certainly never happen, or if they did they would be something you could absolutely recover from.
Look at where the fear is coming from and what you can do to mitigate it.
Starting a business is a big undertaking and the decision should definitely not be taken lightly.
Work through the steps and see at what point the decision can be made.
If coming up with business ideas is difficult for you and you still can’t move forward, consider getting some expert help with your business idea.
Then onwards and upwards with your big idea.
Want to have these process in a handy PDF to follow? Get it right here. It’s free.
If you’d like more help with deciding on your business idea, another resource you must check out is my free training to help you:
In the training you’ll learn:
My simple 5 step process for finding the right business idea.
The 7 steps to set your business up for success and start getting leads and sales ASAP.
Why selling information is the simplest way to make money. online, even if you’ve never sold anything before.
AND which business model will work best for you.
Now I’d like to hear from you…
Are you stuck on which business idea to choose?
How did you decide on your business idea?