Episode 21 – Six Simple Steps If You Can’t Decide On Your Business Idea
If you’re stuck choosing your business idea you are likely experiencing one of these three situations:
- You have no business ideas or feel that none of the ones you have had really suit you.
- You have one business idea but you aren’t entirely sure if it will work, or if you personally would be able to start it. You may never have started a business before. We all start somewhere.
- You have two or more business ideas and you’d really love to do them all and you need to know how to choose between them.
It can be incredibly difficult to decide on a business idea as it can feel like everything is riding on the decision.
I see this in many of the clients I work with. They can get paralyzed for years not being able to pick an idea and move forward.
Let’s unravel this and make sure you choose the right business idea for you.
Here’s how to decide on your business idea in six simple steps:
1. Write down your ideal working day
2. Release attachment to the perfect idea
3. Check your ideas for profitability and personal fit
4. Start narrowing down your choices
5. Give yourself permission
6. Start. Meaning start testing…
Let’s look at each step in detail so you know what to do and why.
Step 1: Write down your ideal working day five years from now
First I’d like to ask you to take a step back from the actual ideas themselves and to take a few minutes, writing down your ideal WORKING day five years from now.
Why am I suggesting this?
Because you’d be amazed by the number of people who would like to have a café but most definitely do not want to get up early or the number of people who come to me wanting location independence but are considering businesses that would have them tied to one place.
The purpose of the exercise is for you to wipe the slate clean of any ideas you might already be developing an attachment to (because we do this, we love our ideas) and ask yourself – what do I really want?
Write down what your ideal work day looks like to you.
Are you with a team, do you work solo? Where are you? Are you traveling, living somewhere else or are you working from home while the kids are at school?
What kind of tasks do you see yourself doing? Do you prefer to be given work to finish by yourself or do you want to be researching, or coaching, how do you envision the kinds of things you’ll be doing?
We want this to be inspirational to you but not beyond what is realistically possible.
There will likely be more work in the first few years of business but at the five-year mark your business would be relatively established.
Essentially we are creating something to aim for in terms of what your working life will look like.
If any ideas you have absolutely do not line up with what you want your life to look like then scrap them because they aren’t going to lead to you being any happier.
Step 2: Release the attachment to the ‘perfect’ idea.
People put an incredible amount of value into the idea. Really though everything about success and business is in the execution.
Ideas are a dime a dozen. The human brain has approximately 50,000 thoughts a day, many of them ideas.
The reality is your greatest chance of success is to pick an idea, preferably one that has been proven already, is simple to start and you can start pretty much right away.
Let’s break that down.
- The idea should be proven.
- The idea should be simple.
- The idea should be possible to start pretty much right away.
The idea needs to be proven, not necessarily original
The highest risk ideas are the ones that had no one else is doing.
The reason for this is there are only two possibilities if no one else is doing it:
- No one else thought of it yet or
- it’s not profitable so the people that tried it gave up.
While it is possible no one else thought of it yet it much much more likely that it’s not profitable.
So instead of waiting for the perfect idea look at what is already out there that you can your own take or spin on.
Mark Twain said
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations.”
So detach from the concept that your idea needs to new, and definitely detach from the idea it needs to be perfect, and look for something that is already proven to work that you can improve or do differently.
If you’re having difficulty thinking of ideas check out this article on coming up with business ideas.
Are you interested in Health Coaching? Great! It’s possible to see in the market people are making money with that. The same goes for many types of coaching, consulting or service-based businesses. Choose something you know works. Rather than an unknown. You get to put your own twist on it.
The idea needs to be simple
The more complex a business is the greater chance that it won’t work. Because it’s more complicated. Complexity adds areas where things can go wrong.
When you are dreaming up your perfect business it can be natural to make it harder than it is.
Instead look at how you can remove risk by making it simpler.
You need to create something people are willing to pay for, that’s it. No one wants complex, but we have a tendency to make things complicated in an attempt to create value. But the value is in the outcome for the client. Not necessarily in your own process or how you create the outcome.
This is particularly the case when it comes to business models.
Don’t choose something that needs hundreds of customers to be profitable and would need complex marketing.
The best business model for a new online business is a simple one.
If the need to go to the store you take the most direct route, you don’t drive all round the back streets to make it look fancy!
So we’ve talked about the idea being proven and being simple.
The idea needs to be possible to start right away
And when I say start – I mean test.
When you chose an idea to test you are mentally letting yourself off the hook of needing to get it absolutely perfect the first time.
The reality is you that you definitely won’t get it perfect the first time – so just allow yourself that space.
This means firstly you can give yourself permission to start and secondly it allows you space to get the idea right.
My recommendation is to test the least cost, least effort version of the idea first and see if it has traction.
You can learn more about how to do this in my free Masterclass – Zero To Paying Clients. Why Most Of What You’ve Learned About Online Business Is Plain Wrong.
Step 3 – Check your ideas for profitability and personal fit
Okay, so you know you want to have something to aim for, the ideal working day five years from now, and we know the idea should be proven, simple and easy to start (or test).
But what actually makes a profitable business idea?
A profitable business idea that fits who you are is at the intersection of what you are good at (your skills), what you are interested in (your likes & passions) and what people are willing and able to pay for (the paying client).
If don’t have any ideas at all but know you really want to work for yourself this is a great place to start brainstorming.
Start with what you like, then what you are good at and look for something that a group of people would be willing to pay for.
Do the ideas that you are considering have profit potential?
Are they something you like, something you are good at, something a group of people will pay for as well as being proven, simple and something you could test right away?
If yes, great! If not download The Business Idea Starter Kit and brainstorm some more :-)
Step 4 Start Narrowing Down Your Choices And Decide On A Business Idea To Test
By this point you would either narrowed down your choices if you had too many and created some new ones if you didn’t have any.
Now what? Now you narrow further until you have one.
Remember you are choosing a business idea to test, you are dating this idea, not marrying it.
So how do you do that?
Really there are two basic parameters to make a decision on at the moment – profit potential and personal fit.
You might like some ideas more than others and might feel that others have more profit potential.
This is a personal call but if you are new to business I would lean towards choosing the idea with the highest profit potential to get you off the ground.
You can always change or adjust later, rather than going straight for the pure passion project if you aren’t too sure about exactly how profitable it would be.
Step 5 Give Yourself Permission
The next step is big.
This is the step that many people never take which is why they get stuck forever dreaming up the ‘perfect’ idea telling themselves that they can only start when inspiration strikes.
Meanwhile other successful entrepreneurs are already starting and making progress!
The reason we do this is because it’s what we know.
In our careers we are used to other people giving us permission. We get given jobs. We rarely just take them and let everyone else know it’s happening.
We always get chosen – for promotions, for sporting teams, for everything.
We don’t just get to say ‘Hold up world, this is what is happening. I have chosen myself for ‘whatever it is’.
But in entrepreneurship you have to pick yourself.
So give yourself permission to test out the idea.
Not permission based on it only being when you are ready or something is perfect enough, give yourself permission to try it out.
Step 6 Start. Meaning start testing.
Now start, as in start testing.
And start knowing these important points:
- You’ve chosen something proven, so people have done this successfully before you so your chances are significantly improved.
- You’ve chosen something simple, so there is less possibility of error and anything that doesn’t work you can easily adjust.
- You’ve chosen something you can actually start so no more procrastinating – hooray!
- You’ve chosen something that suits your skills, talents, likes and passions and you anticipate has a potential paying client.
- You’ve understood that no one else is going to choose you. That’s your job.
So now it’s time to get to it!
And if you’d like to know more about exactly how to get to started and avoid all the pitfalls out there join my free Zero to Paying Clients Masterclass – Why Most Of What You’ve Learned About Online Business Is Plain Wrong.
In it I cover:
SECTION 1: Why Most Of What You’ve Learned About Online Business Is Plain Wrong & What To Do Instead
✸ Why the standard method most gurus are getting you to follow to start your business is destined to leave you stuck, confused and overwhelmed.
✸ How the ‘alternative’ ‘blog building’ method isn’t any bet ter – unless you like working for nothing for extended periods of time.
✸ Special Circumstances Marketers and how to avoid them.
✸ The costliest mistake you can make when starting a business and what to do instead
✸ The Money Three – All you actually need to start a business, tailored to you, as an individual.
✸ ACT – The process to follow to start your business with the lowest risk and highest success chances in the online space.
SECTION 2 Business Ideas & Business Models
✸ How to choose your business idea or niche.
✸ The best business model for new online business owners.
✸ The Leverage Ladder – how and when to use the different online business models to grow your revenue
SECTION 3 Your Inner Psychology & Success Blockers
✸ The Identity Paradox – The real reason it’s so damn hard to actually get started and how to take a different approach.
✸ What fear of success and fear of failure are really about and how to reframe so you can move forward.
To reserve your spot go to catleblanc.com/masterclass