How to find the right business idea in 7 steps

The roadmap to getting the right business idea

Finding the right business idea takes time and research. You’ll have to go through a process that requires self-reflection, creative thinking, brainstorming and testing. Are you ready to know how find the right business idea?

1. Start with your why

First things first, start with your why. This forms a solid foundation for the right business idea. You’re also more likely to be motivated to bring the business idea to life. Ask yourself: why am I doing this and why is this important to me? Whatever your reason, turn it into your business goal.

2. Build on your skills, experiences and passion

You don’t have to be a pro straight away. Build on what you already have. Your skills, experiences and passions are a good starting point. Grab a notebook and answer these few questions to help get you into gear:

  • What is my skill set?
  • What do I do best?
  • What do I already know?
  • What do I enjoy doing?

On the next page, start writing down all the things that drive your passion. The first thing that comes to mind is probably one of the things you have a genuine passion for. Ideally, you want your business to focus on something you’re good at and love so that you enjoy running it.

3. Identify a problem or a need

Your business idea won’t serve much of a purpose unless it answers a problem or a need.

Start with your day-to-day life first. Consider what problems you’ve noticed you can come up with a solution for. Essentially, what do you find yourself complaining about or believe should be made easier or simpler? Don’t let it end there. Question the people around you if they feel the same way.

Empathy is a good thing to exercise at this stage as well. Study your environment and start identifying opportunities where you could solve a problem that others may be facing. Kick-off your research by sending out surveys, having discussions with your friends and colleagues

How to find the right business idea in 7 steps

The AirBnb Approach

Airbnb was born out of seeing an opportunity to add value to people’s lives that hotels didn’t answer to. Founders of Airbnb, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, found themselves short of money to pay rent for their apartment. In desperate need to raise the money, they saw an opportunity to rent out three airbeds in their apartment for designers, like themselves, who came to a design conference in San Francisco.

Chesky and Gebbia were thrilled by the realisation that their idea didn’t just save them in their time of need but also presented them with an opportunity. They thought of ways to grow it on a much larger scale and soon partnered with a third person, Nathan Blecharczyk. Nathan helped the group develop a web-based service originally launched as Airbed and Breakfast.

To date, Airbnb continues to grow from strength to strength. While they may be one of the world’s most successful brands right now, they didn’t start there. They identified a problem and used what they had at their disposal to build a solution. What could you do to solve a problem in your community?

4. Brainstorm a solution

Once that you’ve identified a problem, it’s time to get the creative juices flowing and brainstorm a solution. Think – what is the best way to solve this problem? Again, this may take a bit of time. You might need to have more conversations and ask for more feedback. Carry an ideas journal wherever you go and have it on the side of your bed before you go to sleep. You’ll never know the time or place you may have a light bulb moment.

Another way to get those creative juices flowing is carving out time to brainstorm. Get a space where you know there’ll be minimum distractions. It will help you get into the focus zone so that your brainstorm can be flooded with creative solutions.

No matter how bad the idea sounds in your head, write it down. You’ll be amazed at how your brain will connect the dots at a later stage.

Lastly, move around and visit as many places as you can. Go to your favourite spaces and places and make note of everything you love about it. Could it be the food, their playlist, the excellent service or the smell when you walk in? Again, whatever it is, write it down.

How to find the right business idea in 7 steps

5. Narrow down your options

At this rate, you’re probably booming with ideas. Refining and narrowing them is the next step. Put all your ideas in front of you and go back to the drawing board. Do your ideas align with your why? Is it something you see yourself starting and growing, and is it a solution to a problem?

Marc Anthony once said, “If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.” It sounds clichèd, but clichès exist because they are true. How is it true in the context of finding the right business idea? Starting a business takes time. There are two goals to finding the right business idea. The first is to have an idea that will be worth your time and effort in building it to become a success. The second part is to have an idea that you know will keep you driven and eager to grow the business on a daily basis. With both boxes ticked, you’re winning.

6. Identify and research your target market

No matter how unique your idea may seem, research is an excellent jump-off point to confirm whether it would work for your target market or not. Conduct research on your target market: who they are, their age group, their location, where they work and their education level. Additionally, research their habits, what they enjoy and where, how and what they spend their money on. The more you know, the better.

If your idea is one that already exists – but you’d like to do it differently or better, speak to your potential target market. Ask them what they love about your competitors and where they feel their needs are not being met. That’s how you can gain a competitive advantage.

Remember, you don’t have to go far and wide to find your target market. It’s best practice to have face-to-face interactions. However, social media, online reviews, polls and surveys are one of the many great tools you can start using.

Here’s how you can start testing your ideas before you give yourself the green light.

7. Test your idea

Now that you’ve got the idea – get geared up to try and test it. Go out there and ask for feedback. Testing your idea is a necessary step that ensures that you’re not assuming that your idea will be a great success. Why? Because unless you test your idea with your target market, you won’t know if it will be successful in the market.

You’ve arrived at the right business idea

Like we said, finding the right business idea needs time and research. The awesome part is when you follow the steps to finding the right business idea you are sure to land at a place where you’re seeing yourself turn a business from nothing into something.

We’ve got more in store for you. Follow the iK Tribe on social media for the latest tips and tricks on how you can start a business.