Cat LeBlanc

There are so many coaches out there.

Ditto copywriters.

And graphic designers.

In fact, in this amazing Internet age we live in, chances are, whatever your business idea is, someone out there has had it before you.

And that’s terrible, right? Actually, it’s not.

Just because other people do what you want to do, doesn’t mean they do it your way.

In fact, being in a business that someone else is in is a great way to prove that there’s money to be made. (Blazing a brand new trail is far riskier!)

The trick is ensuring that whatever you choose to do, you do it in a way that’s uniquely you.

So how do you find that idea that will truly make your business a success?  Try one of these proven idea generation techniques.

1. Think about what you would want

Rather than looking at what everyone else is doing, look at what they’re not doing and create what you would like to see as a solution in your industry. This is what I did for my Idea Generator program; all the other options out there seemed to be that you could pay for either an hour coaching or ongoing coaching. It wasn’t results oriented to me, so I developed a program to walk people through a structured system to come out with a defined result – their business idea.

The same happened with my Business Startup Coaching. While I had excellent coaches, I felt that one session every other week left no time for strategy and I believe the strategy should be created BEFORE building; otherwise you risk creating a hodge podge of stuff rather than a cohesive online business where people can flow through your marketing funnel. Both of my flagship products are born out of what I see as a lack in the market.

2. Look at other industries to bring a new edge to yours

A great example of this is the now super-famous and very successful website, Copyblogger.  Back when Copyblogger started, Brian Clark (the owner/blogger) had the wild and wacky idea to combine the field of copywriting with blogging.  He took what he had been studying on his own about classic copywriting, marketing, and advertising techniques and applied them to the (then) relatively new field of blogging.  And the rest, as they say, is history, as he now has one of the most well respected and successful blogs about content marketing in the space – which he started before “content marketing” was even a term.

Another super successful example is Derek Halpern of Social Triggers.  Derek has taken social psychology and applied it to blogging and online marketing.  He does podcast interviews with leading psychology researchers and translates their findings into information business owners can use to promote themselves online.

What do other industries have to add to yours?

3. Challenge your assumptions

When looking at what you want to be or achieve, and write down what you are assuming to be true. For example you may be assuming the client wants x qualifications or degrees, that the work must be done in person, or that everyone expects a particular outcome etc. Look at each assumption and see if they really are ‘true’ or do you just think they are? Is there another way to solve this that fits you and the client better?

Before, one assumption lots of people made was that people wouldn’t buy books and other things online that had to be shipped if they could just drive to the shops and pick them up. I think that assumption’s been pretty well put to rest, don’t you?

I do want to emphasise that I am not trying to push you to find a totally unique business idea.  As I said above, ideas that are totally unique are much more risky.

But putting your own twist on an idea is a fabulous way to create an idea that will truly set you apart from your competition. These techniques are a way to find your edge or think about how to do things best in your industry.

I’d love to hear from you:

If you’re in a “common” field (like coaching, copywriting, design, accounting, etc.), how have you put a unique spin on it?

Or if you haven’t started yet, what unique factors can you combine from these idea generation techniques that could take your idea to the next level?

Share your insights in the comments below!

Business Idea Starter Kit


  1. Krista on June 26, 2014 at 2:38 am

    This is great and I love the way you are challenging conventional wisdom here – thinking outside the box is critical for success AND fun in your online biz!

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 26, 2014 at 9:14 am

      Thanks for the comment Krista! Yep, success AND fun is definitely the way to go!

  2. Hunter Yoga (@HunterCYoga) on June 25, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Great post, Cat. My individual spin on yoga is focusing on creating a self-care practice for mamas. I teach yoga and mindfulness, but with the purpose of getting mamas grounded and vibrant. Then the ripple affects begin.

    Thanks for your post. I appreciate your balanced viewpoint.

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 26, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Thanks for commenting. So many mamas have little time for self care and mindfulness, sounds like you are doing a great job!

  3. Anne Omland on June 25, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Great tips! I’ll be sharing this with my business owner friends. I provide leadership development consulting. My unique spin is that I had been doing this for a large corporation and I felt it would be way more useful if it were delivered to the individual, specifically women trying to work through being a successful leader and a happy person. I felt like everyone pushing career advice was stuffy, and the chatter was very rigid and regurgitated. So, I’ve gone out of my way to speak from the heart, appropriate or not! I still sometimes get nervous that this approach will make me seem less serious but I have to trust that those that get it will know my expertise will get them results. Ah, it’s a tough road for us business owners but the fun part is that it’s within our control to decide how we put our ideas out into the world. Thanks for sharing, Cat!

    • Cat LeBlanc on June 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting Anne! Most individuals will feel much more at ease with someone who speaks from the heart. It’s the only way to go really! Go on you for taking your skills and following your heart on the right way to present them :-)

      Cat x

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