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Rhys's Avatar Rhys Rhys is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Cardiff
Posts: 190
Coming up with a business idea.

I read this on a website somewhere - not shell-livewire although I think it was writen by S-LW so may actually be on this website somewhere.

Anyhow thought it was really good so I thought I'd wave it under your noses.


» Where to look for a business idea

Look at yourself

What are your skills? What can you do? What do you know? How can you use those skills and abilities to start a business?

Think about jobs you've had before

Perhaps you have worked in a bar, or a shop, or maybe you have a trade such as carpentry and joinery under your belt. Have you worked in sales, or in a call centre? How can you use those skills? How can you adapt what you know and can do to a different business idea?

What are your hobbies?

What do you do in your free time? Perhaps you write, or read, or cook, or sew, or work with wood or metal, or enjoy photography. Just because you do something for recreation does not mean it would not form the basis of a good business. People may be willing to pay for you to do what you enjoy.

What are you like as a person?

Business ideas may stem from the type of person you are. Perhaps you are outgoing, or logical, or a consummate salesperson. What business ideas does your personality suggest?

Could you work from home?

Whatever you do, is it something you could do from home? Have you got storage space, an office or workroom, and a computer or phone - or whatever else you might need? Many opportunities exist for people to work from home and, particularly if you have children to consider, that might be the answer for you.

Look at other people

Do people you know have any business ideas? Talk to your friends and family - see what they think. They might be able to see talents in you that you didn't realise you had. Or perhaps they've got an idea that they wouldn't follow up on themselves but that might suit you. The only way to find out is to ask them.

Do other people make goods you could sell?

Many businesses are based on the principle of selling on goods made by other people. Perhaps you could act as a distributor for someone wanting to break into the UK market, or perhaps specialise in a niche market.

Look at your local environment

What goods or services do local people need? What do you hear people complaining about? What do you complain about? Meeting a community need could give you the basis of a profitable business.

What about tourism or leisure?

People need leisure pursuits. They work hard to earn their money and like to spend at least some of it having fun. Are there any openings for tourism or leisure in your area? Check out the local tourist board for some ideas.

Look at other ideas

Can you do something differently? There really isn't very much new under the sun - so can you put a new twist on an existing idea? Keep your eyes, ears and mind open and see what opportunities exist.

Can you copy somebody else's idea?

No, we're not talking about plagiarism or business espionage here, we're talking about enterprise. Perhaps you see something abroad that you think is a really good idea, but no-one does it here (or vice versa, if you want to live abroad). Be vigilant and creative.

Look at other businesses

What goods or services do other companies need? What do local companies routinely require to keep going? The chances are they'll be able to get major things supplied as a matter of course, but what about things they need day to day? Small businesses whose staff get a relatively short lunch break might appreciate a mobile catering service, for example. Think of how you can make their lives easier and you could be on to a winning business idea.

What do other companies buy in from elsewhere?

What is required by companies and public bodies that is not currently available locally? Can you fulfil that need? If so, you might find that they would prefer to deal with someone geographically closer. Think also about what is bought in from abroad. How are your language skills? Have you knowledge of another country or countries? Could you act as an import agent?

What businesses are up for sale?

Check out the local paper to see what is on offer - but check out also why a business is being sold. Beware of anything struggling to make ends meet. While that doesn't mean it's a definite no-no, you need to be aware of the circumstances surrounding the sale.

Look at the world around you

Can you come up with a business idea for something new? What about oxygen bars? Or holidays in space? They've been thought of already, but the world is changing rapidly - that might mean that there are new opportunities for those able to spot them.

What's on the news?

News reports are often full of problems that need solving. Can you help? Keep an eye on what's happening in the world and you could build a profitable business.

What about sustainability?

Not just sustainability of your business, but of the planet. Are there any opportunities for a 'green' business? People increasingly demand that companies that perhaps once got away with dumping pollutants in our rivers behave more responsibly towards the environment. What might that mean for you?

What legislation changes are planned?

The wheels of the law might turn slowly, but they do turn and things do change. Keeping an eye on what changes are planned could be very profitable. When the law changes, people need to change with it, both to actively comply and to avoid falling foul. If you are able to help them adapt in such circumstances, then you could have a successful business.
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