Have you ever wanted to start a business? I know I always have. Ever since I was a little guy I've been starting little businesses like a candy store, a creepy crawler store, a small record label when I got older, and many, many more experiments. It seemed like it was in my blood or I was just born with this entrepreneurial itch.
I've had the itch my entire life. So much so it's become a passion for me. I love to read about running a business, marketing tactics, apps and tools to help, etc. I love trying new business tactics. If I have free time I'll be working on my business.
Do you have that itch? If you do and you've always wanted to start some kind of business or side hustle it all starts with an idea.
Lot's of people have it but, most people never go anywhere with it. You know why? Because they won't take action.
You can dream about that business you've always wanted to start but if you don't take action you'll never get there.
If you have that itch but don't know where to start, well your in luck. This is my first post in a series I will be running on starting a business the right way.
There has never been a better time to start a business. The internet makes it so much easier and cheaper than it has ever been in the past to get started. With tons of free tools and resources (like this one), your opportunities are almost endless. You simply need to find the right idea and take action on it.
I'll lay out the steps for success in a step by step manner with downloadable worksheets, cheat sheets, checklists, etc. You'll learn the systems I've used to promote and develop my own business.
You'll learn from my experience and even mistakes as I reference how I used this same process to create Let's Automate Your Life.
Are you ready to take action and create a business that you have always wanted? Let's roll.
Want a FREE PDF Business Idea Cheat Sheet? You're in luck, get it right here!
1 - List What You Love
The best way to start is to figure out what you really enjoy in your life. Starting a business around something you already love makes it much easier to start and much more enjoyable in general. No, you don't have to base it around something you love, but it can help make for a more meaningful life and make working on your business feel like fun more often that not.
In addition you will understand the field better. You may know it enough to begin identifying possibilities immediately from your own experiences.
Start by listing out all of your interests. Here is a list I created of some of my interests as an example to help you get started:
- Lifestyle Improvement
- Lawn Care
List out as many as you want. The more the better so you have lots of options. Next we'll dive into each of your interests to determine some pain points that you could solve in that field.
2 - Solving a Pain Point
Nine times out of ten your business is never going to be successful if you aren't solving some pain point for your potential customers.
A pain point is a problem your customer has to deal with but doesn't want to. They'd would happily pay you to solve the problem for them. A good idea fixes a pain point for your customers.
So take one of your interests from the previous section and expand on what you could do in that field. Not all of your interests are going to have good business ideas but at least some of them should.
So, to give you an example, let's take my interest in lawn care and look at some pain points people have in that field.
- Lawn Care
- Cutting the grass
- Weeding the flower beds
- Mulching the flower beds
- Edging the lawn
- Watering the grass
- Raking the leaves
- Planting grass seed
- Laying Weed and Feed
- Planting flowers and plants
- Removing old plants
I could go on for a while. There are obviously a ton of pain points some people don't want to deal with and would be willing to pay someone else to do it.
List out all the pains for each of your interests. As I said earlier, sometimes you won't be able to come up with some for some interests. Other interests will have a ton of possibilities.
Let's say you've chosen grass cutting as a possible pain point you want to solve. It's a pain point for lots of people.
Many people hate to cut the grass and even dread doing it. That's a definite candidate for your idea. Now let's move to the next step and figure out how to turn that into a profitable niche business.
3 - Niche
OK, so we've chosen grass cutting as a possible pain point we want to solve.
Go to google.com and search for grass cutting businesses near you. There are probably tons of them!
If you try to compete with all of them it will make starting that much harder. If you choose a niche you will have a much smaller pool of competition.
So basically, a niche business is a business that specializes in some area of the market instead of all aspects of it. It could be based on location, service type, price range.
That may make no sense so here is an example of some niche grass cutting services.
- Lawn cutting services for a specific town
- Lawn cutting cervices only for expensive homes
- Lawn cutting services only for businesses
When you narrow down to a specific market it will make starting much easier and more focused.
4 - Unique Selling Proposition
Whatever your idea is it has to be unique to be truly successful and sustainable. Even if your idea has been done thousands of times, like a lawn care business.
No matter whether your idea is, a product or a service. It has to be unique!
You're idea has to have a unique selling proposition. That is what makes it special.
What makes your idea stand out above any one else? If you can explain that, that my friend, is your unique selling proposition.
Let's continue the lawn care idea to determine how we can make a boring old lawn care business unique.
I'm going to say we are focusing on creating a niche in lawn care for high end homes only in the Cincinnati area. Now we know our target market is wealthy people in Cincinnati. What do many wealthy people like? Luxury.
How about a luxury lawn care business? How would you do that?!
Sell a high end service, possibly called, "White Glove Lawn Care."
White Glove Lawn Care Pitch - "White Glove Lawn Care offers lawn care services for clients who demand a perfect golf course pedicured lawn with unparalleled white glove service that provides the best care and results you demand with monthly reports on the progress of your lawn. Unlike other lawn care companies, we provide the best personalized service with guaranteed results in incredible lawn subscriptions packages that allow you to focus on your busy life."
Doesn't that sound better than "Joe's Lawn Service - Call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx for a free quote."
You'll get better results and better clients.
5 - Is It Scalable
Is your idea scalable? Meaning, if you start to get a lot of interest, can you meet demand?
Just to continue with our lawn service idea. Imagine that all of a sudden we're getting a lot of business interest. We're getting 10 calls a day for lawn service. Could you keep up with demand?
You would probably exceed what you could do yourself, but could you hire people to help you? Yes, and for less than what you are charging your client.
The lawn service is definitely scalable.
Think about your idea. If you begin to get a lot of demand could you meet it? Is it possible to hire people to help it grow?
Is it a digital product that is easily scalable?
This may be a while down the road, but you don't want to get deep into a business and find that you can only go so far when you wanted to take you idea much farther.
6 - Is It Doable?
Now, be honest with yourself. Really think hard about this. Can you actually execute on your idea?
Some ideas are easy and some aren't so easy.
Starting out it is much easier to start with something you can actually do.
You may have a great idea for an amazing app or web service, but do you actually have the skills to execute on that idea? Do you know programming. Do you understand interface design?
Be realistic and honest with yourself. Is you idea actually doable? For your first idea try to start with something simple like an information product, service that you already know well, product you have already or could easily create.
If you take on more than you handle you are only setting yourself up for failure.
What is Your Idea?
If you haven't already gone through the steps above. Do it now. Pull up Google Sheets, Word, Pages, Evernote, Onenote, or your favorite Moleskin notepad. Whatever is your favorite.
Come up with your idea! The next big thing!
Here are the steps again:
- List what you love
- Find pain points and solution
- Find a niche for your idea
- Create your unique selling proposition
- Is it scalable
- Is it doable
The next step is to take your idea and test it! No sense in getting started and putting in tons of effort into a idea your customers don't even want! I'll take you step by step how to do just that in my next article on starting a business.
If you've got more ideas or questions, comment below. Don't forget to grab my FREE Cheat Sheet to help you come up with your idea. Finally, please share this article with anyone you think it could help.
About David Shepherd
David Shepherd is the founder of Let's Automate Your Life, lifestyle automation for personal finance, productivity, business, and much more.