Failed once, want to try again
Seeking a bright idea.
Q. I have failed in a franchise, due to the financial demands of the franchise. I want to create my own, very small business now, allowing for organic growth. But I am devoid of ideas. How can I seek information or ideas on a new business? I have all the degrees, experience in business, plus start-up funding.
In terms of starting a business, you have many positives on your side – the education, irreplaceable experience from running a business and the financial resources to get it off the ground.
But without clear parameters about the type of business you want, it would be like looking for a needle in the haystack, which can be overwhelming.
It’s advisable that you get a clear idea about what is important to you in creating and running a business. It might seem obvious to start with – to make a profit – but there’s really much more around the thinking and crafting of a viable business idea.Start by simply asking yourself “What’s important to me in creating/running/owning a business?” The answers you come up with will help form useful filters for what to focus on.
To illustrate this, I’d like to share an example. In doing the above exercise, a client of mine came up with seven major criteria for the type of business she wanted to create. Below are just three of them. (Your answers will be uniquely your own and most likely different from what’s below):
1. It has to be something I find mentally stimulating. (This eliminated business ideas that could be profitable but did not tick her criteria for mental stimulation).
2. Something that adds value to users and meets my own personal values. (She automatically started honing in on areas she felt strongly about, discarding potentially profitable ideas that did not match her values).
3. Is there potential to tap into markets beyond my city/physical location without me having to be there? (This triggered ideas such as books, e-programs, apps and working with collaborators or sub-contractors).
While the above exercise can help you define what’s personally important to you in a business, it’s of course crucial that there is a market for it. In other words, your business must solve a problem or provide a reason for people to access your services or products.
You can brainstorm ideas based on problems you have experienced that aren’t currently being addressed effectively. Or it could be problem you know others are experiencing but don’t have a satisfactory solution to.
A friend of mine, who now lives in China, started a wrapping paper company because she couldn’t find any gift paper that incorporated both traditional and contemporary designs. She believed strongly in the concept and that was enough to propel her out of her comfort zone, learn new skills to create the designs, speak to potential stockists and grow a profitable business organically. Her designs have been featured in multiple international and local magazines. All this started with simply finding a solution to a problem she encountered.
You can also access market research reports from companies such as IBISWorld to find out how a particular industry is doing and what the forecasts are for the future. This might spark ideas.
I hope the above suggestions trigger some new insight for you. Best wishes in your venture!
Kathleen Alexander, business coach, Clever Fox