This page may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
Have you ever thought, “I want to start a business but have no ideas”? You’re not alone! Many people who dream of becoming entrepreneurs find it challenging to come up with new business ideas.
Don’t worry; I’m here to help! Sometimes it can be hard to think of a good business idea. That’s why I created this beginner’s guide to help you overcome any fears or confusion you might have about starting a business.
In this article, we’ll explore different strategies, business models, and business ideas so that you can get started on your entrepreneurial journey.
How to come up with a business idea
Sitting down to brainstorm and come up with new business ideas can be a challenging task, but it’s an essential step in starting a successful business. Here are some strategies you can use to generate good business ideas.
1. Identify a problem and solve it
Start by identifying a problem or gap in the market that you are passionate about solving. Consider your personal experiences and challenges that you or others around you face. A good place to find these problems is in customer reviews. This can help you to develop a business idea that is both meaningful and has strong market demand.
2. Consider your expertise
Consider what you enjoy doing in your free time or what you’re knowledgeable about. You can develop a business idea around your passion or expertise. Do you have any hobbies you can turn into a small business?
3. Research companies you use
Look at the companies you use and identify opportunities to differentiate yourself. You can also find ways to improve upon what your competitors are offering by reading their reviews.
4. Look for trends
Stay up-to-date on current trends and market demands. Conduct market research to identify emerging trends and opportunities that you can capitalize on. This can help you to develop a business idea that is both unique and timely.
5. Brainstorm with others
Work with a team or a group of individuals to brainstorm new business ideas. A diverse group of people can bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table, helping to generate a wide range of ideas. You never know what might come up when you bounce ideas off others.
6. Use online resources
There are many online resources available for finding business ideas, such as blogs, industry forums, and social media platforms. You can also use search engines like Google to find lists of business ideas or specific industry trends. Online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy can also provide inspiration for potential products to sell. Additionally, there are many online tools and resources available for market research, such as Google Trends and social media analytics.
7. Use creativity techniques
There are many creative techniques that can help you to generate new business ideas, such as mind mapping, brainstorming sessions, mood boards, and SCAMPER (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse).
8. Attend events and conferences
Attend events and conferences related to your industry or interests. This can provide you with opportunities to network, learn about new trends, and connect with other entrepreneurs and industry experts. You could also attend startup events, such as pitch competitions or startup weekends, to network with other entrepreneurs and gain inspiration from their business ideas. This can help you to identify emerging trends and connect with potential business partners or mentors.
9. Identify a niche
Look for underserved or overlooked markets and develop a business idea that caters to their needs. This can help you to differentiate your business from competitors and build a loyal customer base.
10. Solve a personal problem
Think about a problem or inconvenience that you personally experience and develop a business idea that solves it. This can help you to develop a business that is both meaningful and has strong market demand.
11. Take a walk
Sometimes a change of scenery can help to stimulate creativity. Take a walk or spend time in nature to clear your mind and generate new ideas.
12. Read books
Reading books is a great way to come up with business ideas. Books can provide inspiration, introduce new concepts and ideas, and help you to learn from the experiences of others and create healthy habits. There are many types of books that can help you to generate business ideas, including biographies of successful entrepreneurs, books on industry trends and emerging technologies, and books on innovation and creativity.
Remember that developing a business idea takes time and effort. Don’t rush the process, and be open to exploring different options. With persistence and creativity, you can come up with a winning business idea that you’re passionate about.
Choose a business model
A business needs to make money, or it’s not a business. It’s a hobby. Many entrepreneurs get caught up in the creation of their businesses and lose sight of one of the main reasons they started the business in the first place, to earn money.
It’s also important to consider what your everyday life will look like when starting a business. Do you want to start a home business? Would you prefer being face-to-face with people throughout the day, or would you rather focus on creating online businesses?
It’s important to develop a business model that aligns with your goals and vision for the company and your life.
Here are some common business models to consider:
1. Product sales
This model involves selling physical or digital products to customers. You can start a home business, start an online store, start a profitable blog, sell on Amazon or Etsy, start dropshipping, create and sell online courses, sell print on demand, and more.
Subscription-based businesses are becoming increasingly popular and for a good reason. They offer predictable, recurring revenue streams and can provide customers with convenience and value. In this model, customers pay a recurring fee for access to a product or service.
Here are several examples of subscription-based businesses. Here are some subscription-based business ideas to consider:
1. Meal delivery service
If you have an interest in the food industry, offer a subscription-based meal delivery service that provides customers with healthy, delicious meals delivered to their doorstep.
2. Beauty and grooming boxes
Create a subscription-based box that focuses on the beauty industry and includes a selection of beauty and grooming products.
3. Online learning
Offer a subscription-based online learning platform that provides customers with access to courses, webinars, and training materials. Or maybe you want to start out smaller. You can always start by offering your own course or training on someone else’s platform. You can offer your courses on online learning platforms such as Skillshare or Udemy. If you want to learn more about the platforms, you can read my article on Skillshare vs. Udemy.
4. Pet care products
Create a subscription-based service that delivers pet food, treats, and toys to customers on a regular basis.
5. Fitness classes
Offer a subscription-based service that provides customers with access to online fitness classes. Alternatively, offer your own classes to your biggest fans and supporters on Youtube with their paid membership option.
This model involves generating revenue from advertising on your website, blog, social media platforms or app. Advertising-based business models rely on generating revenue through advertising, whether it’s display ads, sponsored content, or affiliate marketing.
To make this business model work, you’ll need to have a website, blog, social media platform or app that generates traffic and attracts advertisers.
These are just a few good business ideas. There are many additional options when it comes to starting a subscription box-based business.
Service-based business models are popular among entrepreneurs who have specific skills or expertise that they can offer to customers. In this model, you’ll be providing a service rather than a physical product. Some examples of service-based businesses include consulting, coaching, web design, copywriting, freelance writing, event planning, and photography.
Service-based business models often create their own websites but also sell their services on platforms such as Fiverr. To start a service-based business, you’ll need to have the necessary skills and expertise to deliver your service effectively. It’s also important to identify your target market and develop a marketing strategy to reach potential customers effectively.
One advantage of a service-based business is that the startup costs are often lower than product-based businesses. You won’t need to invest a lot upfront, and you can often operate from a home office.
However, the downside is that your earning potential may be limited by the number of hours you can work. Service-based businesses can be a rewarding and profitable way to share your expertise and make a difference in your client’s lives.
4. Software as a service (SaaS)
Develop a subscription-based software service that provides customers with access to tools and resources that help them with their business.
In this model, you license your product or service to other businesses for a fee.
A franchise model involves licensing a successful business model to other entrepreneurs who operate their own businesses under the franchisor’s brand.
In this model, customers have access to a basic version of a product or service for free but can pay for additional features or functionality. The freemium business model is becoming increasingly popular among software and digital service providers. This model offers customers a basic version of a product or service for free, while charging for premium features or additional functionality.
8. Affiliate marketing
This model involves promoting other businesses products or services and earning a commission on any sales generated through your referral. Affiliate marketing is typically considered a more passive income but does require a lot of work upfront. Affiliate marketing is usually done on a website, blog, or social media platform.
9. Sharing economy
This model involves sharing resources, such as housing or transportation, with others for a fee. Starting a business in the sharing economy can be an innovative way to connect individuals and create new revenue streams. This business model involves leveraging resources, such as housing or transportation, and offering them to others for a fee.
When choosing a business, consider your target market, competition, and revenue potential. Remember, a business can evolve and change over time. Don’t be afraid to experiment and pivot if necessary.
How to Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan is a crucial step in starting a successful business. A business plan outlines the objectives, strategies, and financial projections for your business. It helps to define your target market, identify potential challenges, and develop strategies for success. A business plan also provides a roadmap for how you will grow and develop your business over time.
Having a business plan can also be helpful when seeking funding from investors or lenders. It demonstrates that you have a clear vision for your business and have carefully considered the risks and opportunities associated with it. It can also help to build credibility and trust with potential partners or customers.
Writing a business plan also forces you to think critically about your business idea and identify potential roadblocks or weaknesses. By identifying these challenges early on, you can develop strategies to address them and improve your chances of success.
Overall, writing a business plan is an important step in starting and growing a successful business. It provides clarity and direction for your business, helps you to identify potential challenges, and can help to secure funding and partnerships. So, take the time to learn how to write a well-crafted business plan and set your business up for success.
How to fund your new business idea
Once you’ve narrowed down a few business ideas, you’ll need to explore how you’ll fund them. There are many ways to fund a new business, depending on the business venture and your financial needs. Here are some common ways to fund your business idea:
Bootstrapping involves funding your business with your own savings or revenue. This can be a good option if you have limited startup costs and want to maintain full control over your business. It’s how I started all of my businesses.
2. Friends and family
You can also consider asking friends and family members for loans or investments to help fund your business. However, it’s important to have a clear agreement in place to avoid damaging personal relationships.
3. Bank loans
Traditional bank loans can be a good option for established businesses with a strong credit history. However, they often require collateral and can be difficult to secure for startups or businesses with limited credit history.
4. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans
The SBA offers a variety of loan programs designed to help small businesses access funding. These loans typically have lower interest rates and more flexible terms than traditional bank loans.
Crowdfunding involves raising capital through small contributions from a large number of individuals, often through online platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
6. Angel investors
Angel investors are high-net-worth individuals who provide capital to startups in exchange for equity in the company. They often provide not only financial support but also expertise and guidance to help businesses grow and succeed.
7. Venture capital
Venture capitalists are professional investors who provide capital to businesses in exchange for equity in the company. They often invest in high-growth startups with the potential for significant returns.
There are many grants available for businesses in various industries and stages of development. These grants typically do not need to be repaid, but they often require a detailed application process and strict reporting requirements.
Remember, different funding options have different advantages and disadvantages, and what works for one business may not work for another. It’s important to carefully consider your financial needs and goals to choose the funding option that is right for you.
How to get over self-doubt when starting a business
Self-doubt is a common feeling when starting a business. It’s natural to question whether you have what it takes to succeed, whether your business idea is good enough, or if you have enough knowledge and experience to make it work.
Here are some ways to overcome self-doubt when starting a business:
1. Recognize that self-doubt is normal
It’s okay to have doubts and fears when starting a business. Acknowledge these feelings and remind yourself that they’re normal.
2. Surround yourself with support
Seek out friends, family, or a mentor who can provide encouragement and support. Having a support system can help you stay motivated and focused.
3. Focus on your strengths
Identify the skills, experience, and knowledge that will help you succeed in your business. Focus on these strengths and use them to your advantage.
4. Take small steps
Break down your goals into smaller, achievable steps. This can help you feel less overwhelmed and build confidence as you make progress.
5. Learn from failure
Failure is a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey. Use failures as an opportunity to learn and grow, and don’t let it discourage you. The reality is all business owners struggle from time to time.
Starting a business and making money for yourself can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Believe in yourself and your abilities, and don’t let self-doubt hold you back. With perseverance, determination, and good habits, you can overcome any obstacle and achieve your entrepreneurial goals.