Episode 38 – How To Choose Your Business Idea Without Stressing Out
Choosing a business idea is often a source of stress for people:
What if I get it wrong?
What if it doesn’t generate money?
What if I don’t like it?
What if I build it and it doesn’t work?
Here’s how to avoid all these issues when making a decision on your business idea. This is the first part of the business building process if you want to learn more about what to do after deciding, go to episode 16, why what you need is not a business plan.
Okay, so how do you build freedom into making a choice, which by definition means, not choosing other things?
You do this by going about the process in a very purposeful way.
This is my The ACT Business Idea Generation Process.
This is all about getting your best possible business idea to test, with the knowledge that it will grow and evolve, it doesn’t have to be 100% perfect from the very beginning.
Choosing your business idea using this process, and this will be clearer as we go through, gives you freedom because you’re not coming from the perspective of this is your one and only shot at success and if it isn’t perfect you risk everything.
The whole ACT process gives you space and freedom to try things out and grow them once you hit the sweet spot.
Step 1 – Ego aside
This may come as a surprise but the first step is to put your ego or negative thinking aside.
If you go in with judgment about whether you are ‘expert enough’ or whether you think everyone else did that already, or if you are allowed to or if you are good enough all you’ll do is shut yourself down before you even start so the whole process is flawed.
So do your best to set aside all your ego or judgment before you start.
Step 2 – Brainstorm
Next, you brainstorm.
The reason for brainstorming is to get all the ideas out, without censoring yourself or deciding whether or not it’s the best idea first.
Later you’ll narrow down your ideas and go through a process to pick one.
The key is to think of about your skills, talents, experience and knowledge in terms of how you could benefit someone else. Go through everything on your list and brainstorm how that skill, interest, experience or passion could help someone else.
You’re not thinking at this stage about in what form you’ll deliver it in, like is it a 1:1 or group or a retreat or whatever, you are thinking about the core thing that is being transferred to a specific group of people e.g helping successful women find a life partner or helping business people get their taxes done or helping school teachers create lesson plans.
Step 3 – Organize
The next step is to group your ideas. Your ideas will likely be around certain themes, those could be anything, health, yoga, teaching, technology. Organize in a way that makes sense for you. This is different for each person.
You may not need this if you’ve only got a couple of ideas but if you have pages of them, really the more the better, then you’ll need a way to organise them so that you can look at them all and make some decisions.
Steps 4 & 5 – 5 Contenders & Verification
Then you pick a maximum of five contenders and do a round of idea verification.
You verify the ideas for personal fit and also for profitability.
Of all of the ideas you have, there are going to be a subset that are the ones that interest you the most or you’ve been mulling over.
Maybe there are two you are trying to choose between.
Give each idea a rating out of ten for each factor. This will then enable you to give each idea a score.
Now you’ll have your main ideas rated, each with a number that reflects their marketability and personal fit. You may already be ready to make a choice at this point.
And we’re getting to the freedom part in just a minute.
Step 6 – Combinations
Before making a final decision it’s a good idea to look at combinations.
Often people have two ideas and they really can’t choose and frequently there is a way to combine what they like about both ideas into one.
As an example, once I worked with a lady who couldn’t decide between building websites and coaching. She loved tech but also really wanted to coach women to get their business started.
The business she started actually ended up being a combination of both. Both were centered around helping women get their businesses started, for some clients she made websites and for other clients, she coached them on getting started including the tech elements.
So think about if any of your ideas can be combined.
Step 7 – Choice
Now you make your choice. And next comes the good part…
Step 8 – Acknowledgement
You acknowledge that you are choosing an idea to test. You aren’t married to the idea. It isn’t an all or nothing thing. It doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect in its first test, you aren’t going to pour your life’s savings into it and spend months building it and finishing it before you have any idea of it really works.
Instead, you are going to do some simple tests to check people are willing to pay for it. That’s where episode 16 comes in.
The Ultimate Goal – Freedom
That gives you freedom. Freedom to try something on to see if it fits.
Freedom to be less attached if you need to change something. Freedom to maybe even get something wrong and then still have time and space to do a revision and then get it right.
It puts your mind at ease. You don’t have to feel stressed about it.
Because choosing a business idea doesn’t have to be this all or nothing thing that you work on shrouded in mystery until you release it to the world with a big bang and see if it’s a riotous success or a crashing failure.
Instead, it’s something you get to start on the side, low key, while you iron out all the creases and grow your revenue.
When you give yourself the freedom to think about it this way, it’s a lot less pressure.