Many people dream of starting their own business. The independence of being your own boss is enticing.
However, before starting your own business you need an idea. Consider the various types of businesses you
could form, your strengths and weaknesses, and what kind of business model would work for your needs.
The key to starting a solid business is figuring out what you're interested in. Many people desire to
start their own company because they want to pursue their passions. The first step to making a decision
about forming your own business is listing your own interests.
Take a sheet of paper and start jotting down your interests. You can start with the very obvious. For
example, what do you like to do on the weekends? Do you read? Go hiking? Play sports?
Reach back a little. What were you interested in before you got the job you have now? Did you minor
in literature in college? Did you used to knit or engage in another hobby? Is there anything you miss
doing that once captivated you?
Once you've determined your interests, now it's time to explore your skills. What are you good at?
What do you think you could contribute to the world?
Make a list of abstract skills as well. Take out a piece of paper and write at the top "These are
seven things I'm good at" and proceed to list your most marketable skills. For example, "I am a good
problem solver" or "I know how to stay calm in a crisis."
Pay attention to what's missing
The most successful business models fill in the gaps of an existing market. That is, they figure out
what service or product is missing from an existing in demand industry. Consider what's missing in
a field of interest to you.
Make a list of five products or services that would be useful to you but do not currently exist.
Think about moments when, driving your car, watching your TV, or using some electronic device, you
wished for a specific feature not on the market. Keep in mind this may take a few days.
While you might come up with product ideas all the time, when you push yourself to write them down
you might find you've forgotten quite a few. Take a couple of days to think about it, keeping your
list on hand if an idea comes to you in a free moment.
Look for inspiration
A lot of anecdotal evidence speaks to the fact multimillion dollar ideas come at unexpected moments.
The concept for Netflix, for example, began when Reed Hastings got a $40 late fee at his local video
rental store. He wondered why movie rental companies couldn't work like health clubs, where you get
charged a flat fee for using a given product. This is where he began to formulate the idea for his idea
for an online DVD rental company.
Pay attention to the world around you. Carry at notebook at all times. When you have a moment, like
Hastings, where you wish things could work slightly differently write that down. A great idea could
come of this later on.
Consider the Basics
Assess your personality
Starting a business is a big risk. You need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are going in
so you can reduce the chance of failure. In your current job, what are your strengths? Are you a
behind-the-scenes type, making things work from behind a computer desk? Or are you out on the field,
making connections and networking with others?
What do you genuinely enjoy about your current job? People tend to be more successful in jobs they
truly love. Do you love attending conferences? Running meetings? Are the sort of person suited for a
leadership position? If so, starting your own business may be a good plan for you.
Ask co-workers and colleagues to give an honest assessment of you. It can be hard to self judge so
ask someone you trust what they think your best qualities as a worker are. This can help you see what
role you can play in your own company and what roles you should assign to others.