Business ideas are all around you. Some business ideas come from a careful analysis of market trends and consumer needs; others come from serendipity. If you are interested in starting a business, but don't know what product or service you might sell, exploring these ways of getting business ideas flowing will help you choose.
1) Examine your own skill set for business ideas.
Do you have a talent or proven track record that could become the basis of a profitable business?
The other day I spoke to a man who had spent years managing cleaning services at a hospital. Today he runs his own successful domestic and business cleaning service. An ex-logger I know is now making his living as an artist; he creates "chainsaw sculptures" out of wood. And the examples of professionals who have started their own agencies or consulting service businesses are legion.
To find a viable business idea, ask yourself, "What have I done? What can I do? Will people be willing to pay for my products or services?"
2) Keep up with current events and be ready to take advantage of business opportunities.
If you read or watch the news regularly with the conscious intent of finding business ideas, you'll be amazed at how many business opportunities your brain generates. Keeping up with current events will help you identify market trends, new fads, industry news - and sometimes just new ideas that have business possibilities.
For instance, same-sex marriages are now legal in Canada. There are now also entrepreneurs who are selling tourist travel packages that include a marriage ceremony to same-sex couples from other countries. Would you have identified that business opportunity when you heard that the Canadian marriage laws had changed?
3) Invent a new product or service.
Think back 30 years ago. Was there a huge demand for anti-virus software, Internet Service Providers, or desktop computers? No! The key to coming up with business ideas for a new product or service is to identify a market need that's not being met. The clamor for ever-increasing security, for instance, has led to an explosion of new security products and services, ranging from iris-recognition machines through home security services.
Look around and ask yourself, "How could this situation be improved?" Ask people about additional services that they'd like to see. Focus on a particular target market and brainstorm business ideas for services that that group would be interested in. For example, there are millions of aging gardeners across North America. What products or services could you create that would enable them to garden longer and more easily?
4) Add value to an existing product.
The difference between raw wood and finished lumber is a good example of putting a product through an additional process which increases its value, but additional processes are not the only way value can be added. You might also add services, or combine the product with other products. For instance, a local farm which sells produce also offers a vegetable delivery service; for a fee, consumers can have a box of fresh vegetables delivered to their door each week.
What business ideas can you develop along these lines? Focus on what products you might buy and what you might do to them or with them to create a profitable business.
Continue to page 2, to read more ways of finding business ideas.