How to find the perfect business idea for YOUR startup

Love to launch your own startup but not sure if you have the right idea yet? Read six steps to finding the perfect business idea.

What makes a business idea great? And how do you know if your business idea has what it takes to go all the way? The only real way to find out is to put it to the test and start working on it. As Darren Fell from Crunch says:

“Don’t get caught up in waiting for the most amazing business idea in the world to come along. If you have a gut feeling or an idea, just go for it and tell as many people as possible what you’re doing. Often the real idea will come out of your original one in the process of trying to make it work.”

How to find the perfect business idea for your startup

But just where do you start when ‘trying to make it work’? To help you get your new business off to a positive start, we’ve identified six steps to finding the perfect business idea.

1) What are you truly passionate about?

Starting a business is often a roller coaster ride, with plenty of ups – and downs. And sometimes, the only thing that gets you through tough days or weeks is a genuine passion for (and belief in) what you are doing.

So it’s important that you start a business doing something you love. Not just like, but love. Something you could talk about all day, devour any information on, and naturally seek out experiences in.

Because it’s this passion that will give you an edge over other competitors, and keep you clinging on when others give up.

It’s also essential to be realistic about the wider responsibilities of running a business. You may start it because you want to work on your passion every day, but (especially in the san early days) you’ll also have to manage other, less exciting, aspects of running a business.

So you have to love your idea enough to put up with the admin, accounts, customer service, and other dull tasks that come with being a startup entrepreneur.

Need some business idea inspiration? Read:

2) Wait for the right business idea

Don’t worry if you’re not immediately inspired. Business ideas can take some time to emerge.

If you have decided on the passion or niche you want to pursue, concentrate on getting as much experience in it as possible. Immerse yourself in it. If you can get work or volunteer experience in it, do so.

If not, spend every spare minute learning as much about it as you can. And investigate other businesses that involve it. Can you see any opportunities for improvement? Problems not yet solved? Potential gaps in the market?

Speak too to the people who consume what you are passionate about. What would they love to see that doesn’t exist yet? Or what changes would make their lives easier or better?

Be patient and let the right idea percolate. And don’t be afraid to talk to people about any fledgling thoughts – the more you get ideas out into the world, the more you can build on and test them, and find out if they really have any possible potential.

3) Is your idea profitable?

The difference between a business and a hobby can simplistically be summed up in one word: profit.

In order for your passion to become your living it needs to make money. So before you start ordering business cards for your venture, you need to ensure your idea or niche is financially viable.

There are a few ways you can do this. First of all, check out your competitors. Are there any? You may think not having any competitors is a great starting point, but that’s not always the case.

If your chosen niche is SO niche that no other similar businesses exist, why is that? Could it be that there’s no market for what you are considering launching? Creating an entirely new market or niche isn’t impossible, but it’s usually a harder route than tapping into an existing audience.

Once you’re confident your niche exists, now look at how crowded the market is. Can you differentiate from what’s out there? Are you doing something different, better, cheaper or more conveniently than other businesses?

And what are they charging? Can you afford to compete against them and make a profit? And is there enough business to sustain you? (Read three easy ways to test if your business idea will make money.)

Finally, will people really pay for what you are doing? A good way to test this is by creating a minimum viable product and actually selling it.

4) Get to know everything about your product

If you want to make a success of selling something – product or service – you’ll stand a greater chance if you’re an expert in it. So take every opportunity you can, if you haven’t already, to experience and explore your niche.

What are the limitations and opportunities in your offering, and the marketplace as a whole? And how can you exploit them? If there are any possible potholes ahead, now is the time to identify, fix or plan to avoid them.

Be honest with yourself. When you find out more about your niche and/or product or service, do you see potential issues? Don’t ignore them, or assume that they’ll go away or people will buy anyway.

YOU may love and ‘get’ what you’re doing, but it doesn’t mean other people will too. So be honestly critical. Spending the time now to really explore your niche and idea will save you much time, money and heartache later on if it’s not realistically viable. Remember that hope alone isn’t enough to make a successful business.

5) Do your research

Once you know what path you want to follow in your business, you need to get a thorough understanding of all the additional aspects it involves. This includes:

  • Your customers – you need to identify the people who would be interested in your product (read how to identify your target audience and learn how to write marketing personas for your different audiences).
  • Your USP – why will your ideal customer buy from you? Why are your products or services relevant to them?
  • Your competition – who else is in your market? And what do you do that is better or different to them? It’s much better to find out as much as you can about your competitors now.
  • Your pricing – once you have identified your competition, look at their pricing. Can you afford to compete with them on their pricing? And where do you sit on the quality spectrum? Are you cheap and cheerful? Or are you an expensive luxury?

It’s also important to get out speaking to people about your idea – and really listen to their feedback. As Darren Fell from Crunch also says:

“Don’t think you need to keep your idea to yourself – surround yourself with brilliant people and listen to their advice. I work with lots of local businesses, and those that aren’t open or willing to listen are the ones who fail.”

6) Check you’re legal!

Last, but definitely not least, you need to make sure your idea is legally secure! Do you need any qualifications, training or special insurance? Are there any bodies you need to belong to, or codes of conduct you have to adhere to?

Can your business operate legally where you are? And, very importantly, do you have any intellectual property that should be protected? Don’t forget to ensure that you have fulfilled any accountancy/tax obligations too.

Don’t overlook this step. If you’re unsure about any of the above, it may be wise to get legal advice before launching.

Learn from your mistakes – and go for it

It may take a lot of trial and error to find the perfect niche for your business. So don’t be afraid to be brutally honest with yourself every step of the way, and always keep an eye out for new ways to improve your idea.

Expect your initial plan to go through a few changes along the way, and possibly even have a few false starts. Don’t get discouraged if you go through plan A, B, C or even Z before finding the perfect business.

As long as you stay resilient and treat mistakes as an opportunity to learn and improve you should eventually find an idea that works for you. And then nothing will hold you back!

Harrisson Dawson from CustomerSurveyAssist is passionate about finding new ways to promote a business. He also likes to share his insights on native advertising and marketing, both digital and traditional, with entrepreneurs in order to help them make the right choices.