Every person working a 9-to-5 job with a small capital may eventually come across this dilemma: I want to start a business but have no ideas. Perhaps you got your tax return or a bonus check, and want to put that money to good use - but what should you do?
We live in a world where opportunities are everywhere. The problem is that when you have that many options, it may be difficult to narrow them down just to one.
To make things easier for you, we will help you with some small business ideas so that you may embark on the perfect professional journey.
Note: If you need all the tools to start and run your freelance business, try Bonsai. Bonsai has proposal, contract, invoice templates, an expense tracker and a business bank account, all in one place. Try a 7 day free trial today.
Entering the Entrepreneur Mindset
Most people cannot find any good ideas simply because they cannot get into the mindset of the entrepreneur. Sometimes, finding the footpath can help you reach your goal.
Know Your Strengths
What are your strengths and specialties in life? What exactly drives you to do the things you do? Are there any things that give you joy? It will be much easier to commit to your work if there is passion somewhere around the foundation.
Know Your Purpose
Why do you want to start a business? What will your purpose be? No matter your reason for leaving your 9-to-5 job and flying solo, you need to get to the roots of what you to do.
Perhaps you want to simplify the life of people by bringing a creative product. Or maybe you want to help others while making your life better. By knowing your purpose, it will be easier for you to reach your goal.
How to Brainstorm for New Ideas
Before you even begin setting up your business, you need to gather your thoughts. What are some good ideas for starting a business? Here are some tips on how to brainstorm through them.
Create a List of Your Passions
They say that passion is able to move mountains, so if you are planning to start your own business, you may want to make a list of things you feel strongly about.
Passion drives creativity and a desire to get involved. Plus, if you are leaving your 9-to-5 job to be your own boss, you may as well do something that you are passionate about. You know that saying, if a person loves their work, they aren't working a single day in their life.
Put Down Your Hobbies and Skills
You have your passions down, but that is not always enough. For you to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to consider your hobbies and skills as well.
What are the things that you are particularly good at? What do you find yourself doing during your free time? For example, if you make jewelry crafts, it might be a good incentive to open an online store. Are you a savvy social media expert? Explore social media management. Or perhaps you do web design on the side. Maybe you could start a web design business.
Look Into Popular Trends
Trends are a good place to go for inspiration. What are the most popular online businesses nowadays? What do they have to offer for potential customers? Is it something that you could offer as well? Look within the trends, and see how you can fit them against your hobbies and passions.
Narrow Down the Money-Making Options
You have an "Idea Bank" at this point that is full of potential plans for your first business. Now, you need to narrow down the ideas. Create documents to keep yourself organized, and see which one on your list is most likely to bring profit in the future.
Indeed, you want your business to solve current issues. However, you should make sure to keep future aspects in mind as well.
Nowadays, things may change pretty fast, so you'll want your idea to be adaptable to the future as well. While it's impossible to know for certain what the future will bring, you should look at past trends and see how they evolved.
Ask Your Friends and Family
In the beginning, brainstorming alone can help bring out what you want to do. However, it can also be a good idea to ask your friends and family. They may have good ideas for different businesses that you may not have even thought about.
Testing the New Business Idea
So, you now have a pool of business ideas that seem to be popular in your area. To continue on your entrepreneurial journey, you need to test those ideas. Here is what you can do.
Compare Three Ideas from Your List
Take the top three best business ideas from you and compare them all side to side. Think about which one speaks with you the most. Write down some rough details on the ideas and how you'd plan to follow them further.
Compare all the details and create a pros and cons list. Does the business have any potential? How likely are you to hit a wall in the future with this idea? Choose the one that you feel best about pursuing.
Create an Outline of the Product
You have your first business idea, so now it is time to create an outline of the service or product that you are planning to offer.
How will the product fit on the market? Are there many businesses out there providing the same services? To start a business, you must know exactly what you have to offer.
Plan How You'll Make Money
If you are starting your own business, you are probably in it for the money - so, you must determine how you are planning to make a profit. What will the prices be?
What distribution channels are you going to use? Do you have a certain marketing strategy in mind to drive sales your way? Think about all of these aspects.
When in doubt, you can always rely on your family and friends for feedback. Ask them what idea sounds best in their eyes. When you come up with the idea on your own, you may be subjective and choose something that you like to do.
However, they will be more objective about what people need you to do. This way, you will be sure that your small business will actually drive clients your way.
Check on Business Viability
When you start a business, you have to make sure that it is actually a viable one. Think about your local culture - how likely is it to be successful, based on the people that you have around? Ask some experts about your idea, such as local entrepreneurs, bankers, accountants, lawyers, and so on.
Check Legal Requirements
If you are going to start a business, you should make sure that it's legal. The black economy task force is heavily punished, so you need to ensure that you meet all the legal requirements. Check if you need a business license to operate in your area based on the idea that you have in mind.
Mistakes to Avoid when Looking for Good Business Ideas
When looking up new business ideas, there are certain things that you should do - and certain things that you shouldn't do. Here are some things to avoid if you plan on running a successful business.
Don't Steal Ideas from Others
Plagiarism is never ok, especially when you are planning a business startup. Indeed, you may look into different small businesses for inspiration, but you should not outright copy what you see.
Not only will this make you seem like an unreliable and uninteresting copycat, but it can also make another business venture file a lawsuit against you.
Indeed, you should not take ages going through different business ideas, but you should not rush into things either.
You must feel confident that the business structure you have in mind is the right thing to do. After all, if you choose wrong because of an impulse, it might end up affecting you in the future.
Don't Just Copy Trends
You should keep your eyes on trends, and you should definitely use their pattern in order to create a business model. However, following the trend precisely may not get you too far.
Trends come and go, and keeping up with something interesting yet fleeting may be bad for business. This is why you should go for a "timeless" idea that helps you remain on top.
Don't Be Afraid of Expressing Yourself
As a business owner, you may be afraid to be yourself - to be unique with the kind of product that you have to offer. That being said, great business ideas usually do not follow the crowds.
Instead, they look within themselves to offer the best that they have. You should have confidence in yourself, because standing out as an individual will be what makes your customers remember you. If you do graphic design on the side, you could have a specific style of design unique to you. Express your distinct artwork when you start your graphic design business so people can begin to recognize your brand.
Don't Be Hard on Yourself
Even if it's your first business and you seem to constantly hit dead ends when it comes to new business ideas, you should not be very hard on yourself.
The more critical you are of yourself, the likelier you will be to hit a creative block. Be patient with yourself, and starting a business will no longer seem as challenging.
Don't Try to Make Everything Perfect
Many people think that making money means that everything has to be perfect. However, sometimes it's just better to roll your ball rather than just hold on to it forever.
Even if it seems rough around the edges at first, you may use the feedback of your customers to polish that business idea.
Steps to Start a Business
Starting a business may seem like a daunting task at first, but you just have to follow certain steps. Here is what you need to do, whether you are starting a virtual office business, full-time real business or a gig to bring some passive income.
Ignore Your Self-Doubt
Every person on their way to financial freedom may experience certain degrees of self-doubt. They'll wonder whether people will like the idea or not, if they'll actually make money, or if people will talk negatively about what they have to offer.
The best thing you should do when starting a business is to let go of your self-doubt, as it will not do you any good. Remember: not only are you not alone in this, but people are generally not that quick to judge.
Usually, once you put something out there, all the self-doubt begins to dissipate. Soon enough, you will realize you likely had nothing to worry about in the first place. Every time you do something new, it is a life challenge - and you just have to take the leap.
Do Your Market Research
At this point, you already have a good idea of what you plan on doing with your business. However, you also need to do some research on the general market.
Check what the client pool is generally looking for, and see whether the other businesses are offering them what they need or not. This kind of market research will help you come up with a business structure.
Create a Business Plan
When you are starting a business, you should not let things up to chance. You need a good idea of how you are planning to run this business in the future, and a business plan can help you with this.
Your business plan should contain the mission statement of your company, financial projections, overhead costs, potential pain points, and more. With a plan like this, you should be able to uncover opportunities and issues that your business may swing your way.
Regardless of the state, every official business owned by an entrepreneur needs some sort of legal structure. Do you want a sole proprietorship, or do you want to incorporate your business?
A C-corp or an S-corp will have numerous advantages, but perhaps an LLC might be more suitable for you. Do your research on all advantages and drawbacks of every type of legal structure.
Research Your Competition
When you start a small business, it is always a good idea to do a competitive analysis of those that had a similar business idea to yours. Are they successful, or are they doing poorly?
Is it because they are doing something wrong, or because they do not have a wide enough audience for their product? Check their social media profiles to see where they are at.
Figure Out a Marketing Plan
For a business to be successful, you need the consumers to know that you are out there. So, based on your business idea, you should figure out a marketing plan.
Most of the other entrepreneurs prefer going for a blog post, where they can offer relevant information in regard to the products that they offer. Others prefer social media profiles, where clients can review or tag a company, giving you exposure by word of mouth.
Think about the alternative that works best for you. For instance, with blog spots, you have to be consistent with your post. Social media, on the other hand, has the advantage that your clients will be the ones doing the marketing for you.
Give the Business a Name
Every small business needs a name. The name that you choose for your business has to reflect the kind of service that you provide. When people hear your business name, they should already have a good idea of what you are offering.
It should also subtly yet efficiently reflect your goal. This way, even if it's one of your first businesses owned, the name will suggest what you can help people with.
You have a drafted idea for your business - so, to ensure that your business will take off properly, try to find and talk to potential customers. You may use your blog or social media accounts to ask about what they need and what prices they'd be willing to pay. You can start by creating an email list, where you may get your potential customers interested in your product.
Consider Your Finances and Accounting
When drafting a business, it is essential to organize your finances. Even if you have a low-investment idea, make sure that you have enough money to cover the start-up costs (don't worry, you can deduct start-up costs from your taxes). You should also make sure that you have your financing and accounting tools in order so that you do not accidentally mix your finances.
If this is your first online business, tools such as Bonsai can help you keep your finances in order. Bonsai Cash, for instance, can offer checking and savings accounts where you can handle invoicing, payments (from debit to credit cards) proposals, templates, and more.
Plus, you have Bonsai Tax which can help you with accounting. If this is your first time running a home business, you may not know exactly which purchase is tax-deductible and which purchase is not.
This accounting tool will take care of these matters for you so that you do not accidentally miss a deduction (or try deducting something that you shouldn't). In fact, users typically save $5,600 from their tax bill with our expense tracker.
Build a Product Prototype
For a business idea to become a real business, you need to let your customers know what you have to offer. You can show this prototype to your investors, potential clients, or distributors.
It can be anything from an online course or a simplified version of your product, depending on what you are selling. This should make it much easier for you to get funding or create a general idea of whether your business will be successful or not.
Business Industries to Try
Some industries are more successful than others, as long as you start off with the right idea. If you have no clue where to start, here are a couple of ideas.
The food industry will always be a good idea. If you have some mad cooking skills and a camera, you can start a channel where you post cooking tutorials. Or maybe you can run a food truck or catering business. Everyone needs to eat, so you'll likely have success.
Everybody likes fashion, so if you are into creating it, then you can make a business out of it. For instance, you may be into making resin handmade jewelry, at which point you may consider opening a website. Or perhaps you like designing cute clothes, prompting you to start a clothing line.
The beauty industry is also pretty successful - pun intended. You may enter the industry by being anything from a beauty and makeup blogger/vlogger to a style consultant or the owner of a hair salon. Basically, this business will have you make other people feel beautiful.
Being in business can be fun. You may try setting up a karaoke bar, becoming a photographer/videographer, or even becoming a DJ. Sure, you may need to get your hands on some instruments, but the good news is that you can also hire them at first.
The e-commerce industry is also quite profitable, and it's convenient in the sense that you don't need to create the products yourself. You may simply go for an affiliate marketing blog, where you recommend products, or you may start a dropshipping company where you deliver other people's products.
The eco industry is another one that is quite popular nowadays. More and more people are looking for green and sustainable solutions that can help save money while saving the planet.
You may design reusable shopping bags or set up a thrift consignment store. Perhaps you may set up a car wash that only uses environmentally friendly cleaning methods. Do some research in the local area and see what might bring profit.
The Bottom Line
Starting your own business may seem like a challenge at first, but once you get your hands on a good idea, things will begin to shape up. Take enough time to brainstorm the ideas, but don't take too long to settle on one. Sometimes, the best thing that you can do is to trust your gut.