You want to start a business but you don’t have an idea yet. Finding your niche in business is probably the most important and difficult first step. While business ideas are a dime a dozen, finding the right one for you is another matter.
You need to consider the amount of money you have, the needs of your target customers, your skills, the availability of investors, and many other factors. However, you too can come up with the next multi-million shilling business idea.
With that in mind, here are some tips to help you come up with profitable business ideas:
REMEMBER TO SOLVE PROBLEMS
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of starting a new business because they think an idea is cool. Although “cool” may impress your friends, it is not a truly successful business idea. Instead, think about problem solving. They don’t have to be big problems that need big solutions. Even solving small problems can earn you a lot of money.
Think about the problems you and the people around you have. Are you and most people around you struggling to find educational toys for kids? Then a business idea to solve that specific problem could be profitable. You can either design educational toys for children – that’s what Lego has done to become the world’s leading toy company. Or you can create a smaller solution by sourcing educational toys and selling them online or in physical stores.
All of the successful businesses you see today have achieved their success by meeting the needs of their customers. Train your mind to see the problems around you and create solutions and you will have won half the battle to become a successful entrepreneur.
A good business idea doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. As the good book says, there is nothing new under the sun. When you think of a business idea, whether it’s a product or a service, you probably won’t be the first person it comes to.
Many entrepreneurs reject good ideas because they are unoriginal. If an idea is good, there will be competition. And if there is no competition, it happens soon enough. Remember that Google wasn’t the first search engine and Facebook wasn’t the first social media network. Instead of focusing on how to be original, focus on being better. You can provide similar products or services to other businesses, but be more successful in becoming the better option. It’s what made Google and Facebook the success stories they are today.
GET INSPIRED FROM ABROAD
If you’ve traveled or lived abroad, you’ve probably discovered products and services that aren’t yet available in your home country. What simple product or service impressed you the most? Can you reproduce it at home? Looking abroad for inspiration can help you discover wonderful products or services that haven’t been marketed locally – or even a new way to showcase existing products.
For example, the first Kenyan entrepreneurs to invest in the mobile toilet business were replicating an idea they had seen abroad. The industry turned out to be an untapped gold mine. When you’re overseas, keep an eye out for innovative ideas – you might be the one to spot the next multi-million shilling idea to bring to your local market. Plus, be on the lookout for simple things that improve the customer experience. Even making small changes to already existing ideas can have a significant impact on your profit margins.
APPLY YOUR SKILLS TO A NEW AREA
Using your skills in an entirely new area can open you up to great business ideas. For example, you can use your background in mechanical engineering to create children’s toys. Or you can use your knowledge as a doctor to design a product or service for patients.
Innovative ideas occur when there is an intersection of disciplines. Think about people outside your industry and how your skill set can help them. It could lead you to a really innovative and profitable business idea.
LIVE MORE EXPERIENCES
Returning to the idea of drawing inspiration from abroad, make an effort to have more experiences in order to come up with good business ideas. Your next big idea is unlikely to come to mind if you limit your life to a boring routine.
The more you go out of your way to discover new things and meet new people, the wider your field of potential business ideas will expand. For example, when you go to music concerts, you may realize that there is a problem concerning the spectators that you can solve.
Experiences are not limited to real life. You can even come up with great ideas by reading a lot, watching TV shows, following news stories, and researching interesting ideas. Be curious about the world around you and you will come up with great business ideas.
TURN A HOBBY INTO A BUSINESS
Do you have a hobby that keeps you busy on the weekends or in the evenings? You can also turn it into a successful business. For example, if you enjoy baking cakes for your friends and family and you are quite good at it, you may be able to make a successful business out of it.
Hobbies that can easily become businesses include writing, baking, cooking, jewelry making, crafts, etc. When you start from something you know, you’ll enjoy the process that much more. However, think twice before turning your hobby into a business – the activity can become less pleasant when you have to meet customer demands to pay bills.