Want to be your own boss, but don’t know where to start? This guide will help you come up with ideas for starting your own business. There are several tried and tested business idea generators and you should try them all before you make your final decision – you never know what you’ll come up with.
Use your current skills, talents or knowledge
This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to start a business as you’ll already be familiar with the product or service you’d like to sell. People all around you have already started their own businesses in this way. Plumbers, electricians, beauty therapists, builders, architects and vets have all used skills they’ve learnt whilst working for others to start their own business. This idea is not only limited to skilled professional. You could, for example, open a newsagents if you’ve worked in one for years and you know how they operate. Or, if you are familiar with financial products you could offer your services as a financial advisor.
Hobbies can also make a good starting point for a business. You could turn your passion for knitting into a lucrative business, selling your products at local markets or making garments to order.
If you don’t already have a hobby skill you think you could turn into a business you can always consider learning one. Evening classes or home study courses are perfect for this as they’ll not interfere with your daily routine.
Use existing business ideas and methods
You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, use an idea that already works. Many people think that your idea has to be unique, but this is not true. Think about how many sandwich shops you know. Are any of them vastly different to all the rest? Most will sell cheese, ham, salad, tuna and so on – the usual suspects for any sandwich shop – and they still manage to be successful. It can sometimes be more a question of demand, if there’s enough demand for sandwich shops then there’s no reason why yours cannot be as popular and successful as the others. Of course the great advantage of taking an idea that is already being used is that you know that it works. You can be sure that there is interest in the product, you just have to work out how to get the people already using it to come to you instead of their regular supplier. This can be by finding a new angle or offering special deals etc.
Buy existing businesses
If you have a little more money to work with, buying a business can be a great way of becoming your own boss. It usually costs more because you are buying more. You’ll probably be buying, amongst other things:
- the good will of the business name
- an established client base
It is normal that you should expect to pay more for a business that is already established. You are, in reality, paying for the effort and hard work of the previous owner. They have done the ground work for you, now all you need to do is continue to build on it. You should be able to make a profit from day one of trading.
Buy a franchise
Very similar to buying an ongoing business – however you will simply buy the rights to trade with that name (the franchise) for a fixed period of time. Owning the franchise allows you to use:
- the trade name
- the goodwill attached to that name
- the customer base that goes with it
- the tried and tested trading methods and practices that the company use
Most franchises also offer:
- help with the choice of suitable premises
- publicity materials including general marketing support
- assistance and advice in setting up
- any further training needed.
Owning a franchise does have its restrictions, you’ll have to:
- keep any uniform already associated with the brand
- keep the same products or service options
- use prices set by the franchise
- use company branded products
So, finding an idea for a business is not as difficult as it sounds. Simply look around you for inspiration, make sure you do thorough research and, if possible, get some insider information into what it’s like to run the kind of business you are thinking of before you make your final decision.