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Coming up with business ideas

Last updated: 10 May 2022

Fate has a lot to answer for. We leave it to fate when we’re looking for a relationship and we hold fate responsible when something goes wrong but leads to something better. However, is it safe to leave the materialisation of a business idea to fate? Or are there some steps you can take to ensure you come up with those that are innovative, original, and ultimately viable?

The first thing to do is focus on any particular skills you have or even a hobby that you could turn into a business. You can also consider spending some time thinking about times in your life when you’ve needed a service and failed to find what you wanted. This could be a great gap in the market.

You can also brainstorm. Sometimes just sitting and mulling over ideas in your mind can see you going in circles. Grab a piece of paper and randomly write your thoughts on it. Mind-mapping is a way to capture ideas as they are flowing freely without the time to dissect, analyse or think too much about it. You will find that just by looking at a word or a phrase it can spark new thoughts that could lead to something else. Write absolutely anything down in a fast and furious manner that could even remotely relate to your idea and brainstorm with other people too. Learning to take on board ideas from different areas is something you need to be prepared to do. Even if you only take one small part of someone else’s offering, you might find that you can build on it with your own thoughts. Similarly, you may find that someone else could make you look at something in a different way.

Once you have decided on your idea, carry out market research early on as this can help you establish if there is a market for your idea and if so, where it is. Things to consider could be:

Is there a need for your service or product?

Who are your potential customers?

What are you going to offer that is better than your competitors?

The way to go about carrying out market research could be to informally question your friends, families and colleagues. After this, go out and canvass the public. This could mean standing in the rain at your local shopping centre but it could provide you with essential information to get your idea off the ground.

You may find that the idea you have is not welcomed in the public domain or simply needs tweaking. Analyse the information straight away, waste no time and really think about how you could tailor your business to fit around what people want. With the best will in the world you cannot convince others that they DO need something if there truly isn’t a market for it. Listen to your potential customers because they know. Many a business has failed due to narrow-mindedness and the inability to accept that at some point you must take on other peoples’ ideas in conjunction with your own.

If you are planning to sell a product, think about creating prototypes and then set up a focus group to test them and give feedback. You can’t simply expect to shell out vast amounts of money on developing your service or producing your products without really knowing if they are going to work.

The important thing to do when coming up with powerful business ideas is to keep thinking, keep searching and stay optimistic and upbeat. Take on board the information that is readily available and be prepared to bend a little.

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