So, you want to start a business; you want to have full control over your own destiny, not to mention your working life. But, there’s one pesky problem you can’t seem to overcome – you haven’t been able to identify a great business idea that is sure to be successful. Don’t worry – here are some things that can help you do just that…

1. Think about your strengths

There’s no point coming up with a business idea that doesn’t play to your strengths. If you aren’t great with dogs, for example, it would be pretty foolish to start a dog walking business where you’ll need to spend time with them all day every day; that would be doomed to fail. So, the first thing you need to do is accurately appraise yourself, work out what your strengths and weaknesses are, and then take things from there.

2. What would you like to exist?

Another good way of identifying a great business idea is thinking about the kinds of products and services you wish existed, but which currently don’t. This is the kind of issue that plagues all of us from time to time; we need to do a particular thing or get help to do so, but we can’t because the product or service that would enable us to do so is simply not available. Change that by making it your business and you’re sure to be onto a winner because you can’t be the only one looking for the same thing.

3. Solve a problem

In a similar vein, if you can solve a problem that other people are having, you are likely to be able to grow a successful business. After all, most businesses solve a problem one way or another. MTA sells a compressed air dryer that gets the water out of air for industrial companies, Apple sells smartphones that enable their customers to pretty much run their whole lives from the one device and Nike sell shoes that look good and improve performance – solving a problem is the key to a great business. The hard part is finding a problem that hasn’t already been solved and finding a way to change that but no one said being an entrepreneur was going to be easy.

4. Study other entrepreneurs

Something else that might help you on your quest to finding a great business idea is studying successful entrepreneurs who have already made it. If you can go into forensic detail on what they did to get where they are, you may be able to follow in their footsteps and so the same too, At the very least, it should spark some inspiration in you.

5. Ask people

This may seem like a stupid suggestion because if someone has a great idea for a business they’d want to keep it to themself right? Not necessarily. Most people are not cut out to be entrerpeneur5s nor do they ever envisage themselves being business owners so they are more than happy to talk about various ideas they’ve had. This could help spark off something in you, which you can then develop into your own business idea. Of course, if you take their idea wholesale, you will need to acknowledge that and go through all the proper legal channels to ensure you can use the idea and the person is compensated, but other than that, it’s a pretty simple way to generate ideas.

6. Focus on your interests

We all have interests and those interests are able to generate a lot of money for a lot of other people, so why not you too? Say, for example, you’re into food but you struggle to find the best food at the best restaurants all around the world.  That’s a problem, right? And it’s a problem you can solve because you know good food when you taste it, so your business idea could be as simple as setting up a subscription blog for gourmet foodies. That already exists? You just need to find a unique angle like only focusing on seafood restaurants or focusing on “secret pop-up” restaurants instead.

This is only one example, but it serves to highlight that hobbies and interests are one of the best sources of ideas because you know them so well.

7. Travel

When you travel, your eyes are opened up to a lot of new experiences and new ways of doing things that may not be familiar in your own country. This is a great source of inspiration because if you start doing X that they’re doing in India, Nepal, or England, but not here in the US, you could make a killing. Obviously, you’d need to be sure that the thing they’re doing in that other country is likely to be desirable where you are, but if it is, you could just have identified a great new business idea.

8. Make an old product better

There are lots of products that we all use every day that are perfectly adequate for the job, but which could potentially be made easier think turning the humble can opener into an automatic can opener that’s easier to operate and less likely to cause injury – that one’s taken but there are many more that are not, Examine every product you use in forensic detail, work out its pros and cons, and try to improve on the stuff that could be improved, and success could be yours.

9. Use social media

Ask people on social media what one product they’d love to have that doesn’t currently exist, and if you do it on the right platform like Reddit or Facebook, you could get thousands of replies – thousands of free ideas. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Identifying a great business ideas takes the greatest deal of time and effort, but if you are serious about being a businessman or woman instead of a clock puncher, you need to go through the process and find that one thing that will help you build your empire. Will you do the work?

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