The world around us is filled with business ideas. Some of them are quite obvious. You are highly skilled in your craft, so you open a business that corresponds to it. But what if you’d like to start a business and just can’t get any ideas. Well, in that case, you might be surprised to find out some of the business ideas are hiding in plain sight.
Look at the world differently
I remember when I was looking for ideas how to start a business, my biggest stopping point was the sentence “Someone had already made this”. At that point I abandoned the idea completely. I now realize this was a mistake.
We live in a world filled with unoriginal ideas. I would even argue that there are almost no original ideas anymore. Pretty much every idea you can come up with, someone probably already has. What should you do in a situation like this? Give up as I did? Quite the opposite actually.
No idea was ever implemented perfectly. The world evolves and there are way too many variables around us to think of all of them. Even your idea won’t be perfect but that’s fine. What you need is to just make a certain part better than the competition.
Seek the faults
If you stand behind your idea, do your research. Scan the competition and look for their faults. Maybe you want to create an amazing tasting popcorn with thousands of different tastes, but you find out that someone already had this idea. Well, what are their prices? How can people get it? Is it known in your area? Do they lack tastes people in your area love?
Keep asking questions. Chances are at least a few of the answers you’ll get will make your idea more effective in your area, with your knowledge. Remember, even things that might seem already perfect, might not exist in our vicinity or even country.
Competition is the fuel of progress
Unless the idea you have has a patent and means you can’t use it, you should do your research and see if it would be viable to try it. Technological companies do this all the time.
Facebook started as a small company at first in the years when everyone had MySpace page or used any other social media platform. They made the thing more streamlined and easy to use. Instagram made it incredibly easy to share pictures to the world and browse the picture of topics you wanted in a matter of seconds.
Start small, scale up later
I used big companies as examples but there is a massive amount of smaller companies that had a similar idea. You can start incredibly small and then just expand with time if the business turns out great. Want to start a niche touristic company? Take your friends for a test trip. Want to make a product? Create a first few at home or ask someone who has a machine you need if you can borrow it for a few prototypes.
A practical example
One of my many favourite examples from the book was James Hookway and his wife, who decided to create an Australian after-party clean up company. Waking up one day after a party with a hangover, they saw the mess that was left behind and thought, wouldn’t it be great if someone else cleaned it up? And while they’d be at it they could cook breakfast as well.
What started as a silly idea became a lucrative business after they found out no company like this existed. Some of the cleaning companies even had limits to what they would clean.
By focusing specifically on the niche of clean up after a party and offering something more, like having no limits to what they would clean and cooking breakfast after they were done, they set themselves apart from the other cleaning companies.
It first started with one van filled with cleaning supplies and some breakfast ingredients. The word spread around and now their company Hangover Helpers is a well-known business in their area.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
A lot of the ideas are shut down before they can bloom because people just think they have to do everything themselves. This isn’t true. No one is born with the necessary knowledge. We all learn from someone and life is a constant learning experience. If you see something that could be made better and you know how but don’t have necessary skills, find someone who has.
Use the internet, ask friends, family, anyone you know or even people you don’t know for information. Chances are, if you meet someone that is passionate about the subject, they will happily share it with you.
Business can be a complicated thing, but you should not be in a position where you don’t pursue an idea you are passionate about just because you don’t know how. If there’s a will, there is a way.
So, just to summarize what you should do:
- look at the world around you. Your local businesses, people’s problems etc.
- Research how can the idea be better. What can you do to make it more appealing to the customers
- Start small. Do some tests. See how people will react to the service/product.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
And that’s pretty much it. Remember that even in the world, where almost everything is global, many things are still not. Even things that are widely used are not perfect. And that everyone had to start somewhere. Now, go into the world and look around with an inquisitive eye. There are things to be made better and ideas to be uncovered. Chances are, you can be the person that will do one or the other. Or perhaps both. Who knows?
Now, if you liked the article, consider subscribing to my mailing list or buying the book 100 Side Hustles by Chris Guillebeau to get more ideas and to support this little hobby of mine. You can now go and enjoy your life, you beautiful person!