If you're serious about wanting to start a business, the first thing you want to do is take the time to understand what really makes you tick. Where do you get your drive? What gets you in a "zone?"
However, there's a lot more to figuring out the BEST business idea that will make you more money and give you more freedom to enjoy more success in your life.
And success to you may be different than success to someone else. It may not be all about money at all. It may not be about finding something you are completely passionate about. It may not be about having a "cool" business -- the latest fad or a unique niche.
Success is how you define it.
Finding the right idea to bring you that success takes a willingness to be patient, good timing, and a lot of research.
And there's nothing wrong with taking your time, being careful trying to figure out which small business ideas are best.
If you rush this process, you're bound to come up with a business that doesn't excite you at all.
You'll be bored.
You won't reach goals and it will become more like a job ... maybe even harder!
You'll feel like you would working for someone else. (You don't want that again, do you?)
First, Figure Out What You Really Want
Starting off, you really have to force yourself to relax. I know what it's like being very, very unhappy at a job. And I can tell you from first-hand experience that walking away from a well-paying job and jumping into your own business is stressful.
But if you carefully plan your "escape," it will make it that much better!
Set Your Short-Term Goals
Maybe you want to make a ton of money and drive around in a BMW.
Or maybe you just want the freedom to enjoy your family or friends. Or perhaps it's just a matter of being in control of your life -- being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.
Whatever your long-term goals are, first you have to concentrate on the shorter term goals before you can begin to see that "big picture."
It's up to you.
But understand that the type of business you start will play a roll in whether or not you meet your goals -- both short and long-term.
If you're trying to startup a part-time venture while working full-time for someone else, you're going to have to set daily goals to try and squeeze in a few hours of work every day, often before and after work! (I used to get up at 4:30 in the morning, go to my full-time job at 8:30, come home at 5 or 6 and get right back to work on my new business ... and I loved it!)
But if it's a small business idea you came up with on the ride home and it doesn't really "drive" you, it'll make reaching your short term goals -- often the hard part -- a heck of a lot more difficult.
What are Your Long-Term Plans?
That big picture includes, more than anything, something you can see yourself doing every day. Something that -- even on weekends -- you love to do.
And even though it is something you love to do, make sure it will feed your long-term plan. And you won't know that until you know what your long term plan actually is!
For instance, if your plan is indeed to make a lot of money and retire at a young age, you'll obviously have to look at small business ideas that are highly profitable.
This would include mostly business-to-business models. There is typically more profit selling to businesses (a product or service) unless you make it big in the consumer market.
Why would the business-to-business market be more profitable? Because a business would be more willing to invest in a product or service (that may even be a write-off) versus the consumer market which is more "luxury" driven. Meaning, consumers base a lot of their buying decisions on want instead of needs.
It's also a financial issue.
A larger business can pay a $300 invoice without thinking about it whereas a consumer getting a $300 bill may sweat a little more.
This is just an example of understanding your long-term goals so you can look closer at a finite number of business ideas to get you closer to where you want to be.
And if you go ahead and hang your "open for business" sign and then realize, "Oh, I can't make that much money doing this!", you'll only be taking one step forward and two steps back.
Grab a Pad ... Ideas Will Come and Go
Because -- like all entrepreneurs -- you're a thinker, you've always got ideas popping into your head. Probably more than you can handle (the brain only has so much room, right?).
That's why you should always keep a notebook by your side.
Sure, some of the best ideas get written on a cocktail napkin. But you're better off trying to give these ideas more permanence. And having a notebook dedicated to your small business ideas will give you a growing and buildable "diary" to use when you're good and ready to go for it!
And once you start putting your ideas in writing, you'll find yourself getting into the habit of using your notebook more and more. It's like anything else that takes practice.
The more you do it, the better you get at finding the best small business ideas. And each idea will help you grow more specific or "niche" ideas.
Become a Private Investigator!
What you want to do is really learn how to research. You've got to dig -- and dig deep -- to determine what business really could work best for your success.
Not only do you have to know who you are and what's going to drive your personality the most, but you also need to think about what sells.
What type of business can be profitable?
Too many people make the mistake of looking at only one aspect of starting a small business. If you love parakeets and you're passionate about them, it doesn't mean you'll be able to open up a store in your town without knowing if anyone else likes them!
As a side note, starting an internet business allows you a greater opportunity to build a business around something you're passionate about. If it's parakeets you love, you'll find more people on the internet with your same passion than you would in your own backyard. For some great information about finding your passion on the internet, click here
You research should include looking at what other businesses are doing (successfully and not so successfully) in your city or town.
Look at small businesses and even what the "big guys" are doing.
Maybe you could create a smaller business with a personal touch that the "big guys" are typically missing out on (no matter how hard they try.)
Figure out more about what makes you tick ...
What kind of hobbies do you have, if any?
What kind of magazines do you enjoy?
What do you like to do most in your "free" time?
What was the best job you ever held? Even if it's one you had when you were a kid, you may find a business in something you know and love -- but don't even realize it yet!
Business Ideas Are Everywhere
Start to think about needs in your town or city. Is there something missing? Is there a need or a product or some type of service people would use that they "want?"
What is the majority age population in your city or town? Is it mostly seniors? (a huge market because they are more active and living longer than ever.) Or is your community made up of younger families?
Check out the local sections in your paper. Read the Lifestyle and Arts section. (I always find articles about local business people who have started businesses.)
Look at local and state businesses. Look at consumer trends and what people "want."
Is there something other businesses in your area need? Don't be afraid to go around and ask!
Think about concerns we all have in the world today.
There are so many opportunities out there, waiting for like you to step up and get started with a new business!
Don't be afraid to ask!
This is where your friends, family and neighbors come in. Ask them to give you their number-one need. A product or service that's "hard-to-find." A complaint about what's missing from their lives.
How many times have you looked for something -- a product or service -- and had to travel a long distance to get it?
Answering questions will give you plenty to think about and some good material for your notebook.
And if you're interested in the business-to-business market, you could always put together a survey and mail it out to local businesses. Give them an incentive (a low-cost, high value gift) and find out what they really need to help them improve their business.
You may find that all of the local businesses in your area need someone to take care of local deliveries. Or someone to help them type or use their computer more effectively..
Just remember, starting a small business is a process and it takes time. The more planning and research you do up front, the better chance you'll have to success and have a little bit of fun, too.
Greg Payette is the Founder of the Small Biz Shop and will help you start a small business with his ideas, tools and resources. Sign up for a FREE e-course, "7 Mistakes That Will Prevent You From Starting Your Business" by visiting the Small Biz Shop at http://www.SmallBizShop.com