“The answers you seek are typically inside.”
There are literally thousands of reasons people choose to start a business. Some of the most popular reasons are:
- Financial independence
- Being in charge
- Flexible schedule
- Following a passion
- Control over the future
- To impact the world
- Creative license
- Feeling accomplished
- Being challenged
So what happens when you want to start a business, but you have no idea what to do?
Well, you’re not alone!
Each day, thousands of people are searching for “business ideas,” “best business ideas,” or even “low-cost business ideas,” in hopes of finding the “one idea” that will resonate with them.
After searching and reading for hours on sites like Entrepreneur, Fortune, Inc., or Fast Company, they are no closer to that “one idea.”
In this article, I’ve compiled a list of questions around the “solutions-based” business approach to help you spark that “one idea” and begin your entrepreneurial journey.
A Little Self-Reflection
I’m not going all “self-help” on you, but it’s crucial to pinpoint your “why” behind wanting to start a business, the mental barriers that may exist, and your aptitudes.
After all, the road to becoming an entrepreneur is tough, so you want something strong enough to keep you going day in and day out.
- What are all the reasons you want to start a business?
- What are all the reasons you haven’t started a business yet?
- What are you waiting to happen first before you start a business?
- What are the main fears you have about starting a business?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses in relation to business?
Take Inventory of Interests
As stated above, you ideally want a business that drives, or pulls, you forward, so it’s important to understand your interests and find a way to incorporate these into the business you’ll begin.
- What skills or abilities do you want to possess at an expert level?
- If money were not an object, what would you be doing with your time (list as much as possible)?
- If you could choose to live someone else’s life, who would it be and why?
- If you went into a bookstore, what subjects would you visit?
- What activity can you be engaged in that makes you lose track of time and why?
After the self-reflection, you should have an idea of what’s driving you, why, and what interests you the most.
With these two parts close to the vest, let’s jump into the solutions-based business approach.
Review Your Experience
Oftentimes, a person’s current experience is the key to a great business idea. It allows them to start on a higher rung of the ladder.
The goal of reviewing your experience is to get a feel for what you like and dislike, which helps you narrow the search in the coming sections.
- What is your work experience up to this point (jobs and positions)?
- From your work experience, which positions have you enjoyed the most?
- From your work experience, which positions have you enjoyed the least?
- What are all the various skills you possess up to this point?
- What skills do you possess at an expert level?
Finding Problems to Solve
Some of the best business are born out of necessity. They are solutions to problems faced by the owners themselves or their circle of influence.
As you think of problems, change the degree of the problems. Meaning, everything from a small annoyance to a massive problem in the world. Here’s a tip: if you can’t think of problems experienced by others, well, ask them!
- What problems are you experiencing right now in your life?
- What problems are you experiencing right now in your career?
- What problems are your friends experiencing right now in life?
- What problems are your friends experiencing right now in their career?
- What problems are your family members experiencing right now in life?
- What problems are your family members experiencing right now in their career?
- What problems are your coworkers experiencing right now in life?
- What problems are your coworkers experiencing right now in their career?
As I said, some of the best businesses are born from necessity. In that same vein, the questions here are to get you to think about possible solutions to the problems you brainstormed.
Pick a problem that interests you the most (now that you know your interests right), and begin answering the questions. Repeat these questions for each of the problems.
- What is a solution that could make a “dent” in the problem?
- What is a solution that could wipe out the problem completely?
- How will creating a solution benefit people?
- What group of people will benefit from the solution?
- What solutions already exist to the problem?
- How can existing solutions be combined to create a better “all-in-one” solution?
As I mentioned in the beginning, thousands of people are searching to find the “best business idea,” when truly the search should be for the answers to some (or all) of the questions above.
If you move through these questions and take the time to answer thoughtfully, I guarantee you’ll get closer to the “one idea” that will resonate with you and spark your entrepreneurial journey.