Nowadays with Google at your fingertips, it's easy to start a business. There are many ways to test your idea without having to heavily invest in the beginning.
This being said, you still need to take the time to establish your business idea, create your brand, and market your business to your target audience.
But, if you're thinking about starting something on your own, so you can be your own boss and set your own terms for how you'd like to do business, here are a few questions, tips, and suggestions to consider to help you get started.
7 Questions to consider when deciding:
Starting a business will probably feel overwhelming, but if it's something you're passionate about, you're more likely to stick with it and make it happen.
We've worked with hundreds of business owners over the years. These are top 7 questions we've found to be the most enlightening:
What experience do you have? - Your life experience matters, and the unique knowledge you have can be translated into a service or product that can be sold. Any experience that you have insight into that is of interest and value to someone else can be monetized. This can be hobbies, technical skills, or industry experience.
What need do you see in the market? - This is a question that some entrepreneurs skip because they're so excited about their idea. Make sure you take some time to consider who needs what you want to offer, and what problem it solves.
Who is your ideal client to work with? - Some personalities vibe better than others. Consider who would be purchasing your product or service, and how you would fulfill that order. Where do they live? What are they like? How would they interact with you?
What would be your dream work environment? - When you think about your business, where do you envision getting to work? What would be the perfect environment for your personality and the life you want to have? If it's working from home, take time to consider what tools you might need to make it as smooth as possible.
Who would you need on your team to help you fulfill your product or service? - When you're starting out it might be just you, but it will help to consider what roles you'll need in your business. This will help you better understand who you'll need to hire in the future, and if you might want to consider bringing in a partner whose strengths will compliment you.
What do you see yourself being able to realistically commit to? - This is another question that can be skipped due to sheer excitement. Starting any business will require time. If you plan to work another job while you get your new business up and running, you need to reclaim time in your schedule to work on your business. If you don't, you won't make as much progress as you'd hoped and might end up losing steam.
How do you plant to differentiate yourself from everyone else? - Competition is inevitable. Even if you don't have direct competition at the start, once people start noticing you, you will. Consider how you plan to stand out from competitors and communicate what makes you the better choice.
Tips for starting your small business:
Join groups you're interested in and listen out for common problems that are mentioned - If you aren't sure what business to start, pay attention to problems people are talking about. This is a great way to identify a need in the market and get you brainstorming ideas to solve the problem.
Make sure you have a healthy profit built in - There is nothing wrong with building a healthy profit into the product or service you're offering. It will help you avoid having to constantly update your prices, and ensure you're not just breaking even. Yes, you want to make sure your price is still competitive, but if the value is there (and you take the time to communicate it), your target audience will be willing to pay it.
Test before you invest - Consider how you can test out your idea without "all the bells and whistles". What would be the most viable product (MVP) you could offer to test your process, that there is indeed a need for what you're offering, and highlight any areas for improvement.
Have optics on your data and track your progress - Optics on keyword search volume (how often someone searches for a particular phrase in Google), how your website is performing, and how you're connecting with your audience will help you make smart, data-driven decisions. Take the time to setup your analytics and learn about your data.
Focus on progress over perfection - When you're first starting out, it might be tempting to wait until "everything is perfect." The truth is, life is never perfect. There is always going to be something you want to tweak, need to sleep on, want to ask advice about before moving forward, but this will prevent you from making meaningful progress.
Make sure you get the license, certifications, and legal stuff you need - This will depend a lot on where you plan to operate, your industry, and your specific requirements, so do some research to find out what you'll need to file and if you need help from an attorney.
Small Business Ideas
Excited about the idea of starting a business, but not sure what type of business is right for you? Check out the list below of several small business ideas to get you brainstorming!
Podcaster - Do you have a unique take on things? Have something you're passionate about and want to share it with your community? Consider starting and hosting a podcast. You can bring on guests, so it's not just you, or choose a co-host so you can talk about topics together. Choose a niche and have a set audience in mind to make sure it stands out!
Event Planning - Do you have a knack for planning things? Were you the go-to person for planning your best friend's bachelor or bachelorette party? Many people like to party, but they don't enjoy the planning and logistics side of things. If this is a skill you have, consider offering this to your community. Pick a specific niche, create a website that showcases your services, testimonials and accept bookings so you can avoid the back and forth of choosing a time to talk.
Video Production - Are you passionate about film? Consider starting a video production business and offering your services to your local community. This could be drone photography for real estate, video commercials for small businesses, or short ads for social media. You can start small and build your client base as you go!
Consulting - Are you really good at solving problems? Many businesses will hire a consultant to bring in an unbiased view. Figure out your strengths and identify what your specific focus should be. Consider your audience's paint points, challenges and goals. Then, create a process for how you would get them from point A to point B.
Social Media Management - If you live on social media and love staying up-to-date on the latest trends, social media management might be a great fit for you. Some brands aren't able to make the time to create posts and engage with their community, so this is where your new business could come in. Consider how you can differentiate yourself and focus on a specific niche to see the best possible results.
Copywriting & Content Creation - Do you feel like you could just write about anything? You might be a great fit for copywriting and content creation. Every business needs to be creating content, so if there's a topic you're particularly passionate about, or know a lot about yourself, consider starting there and offering your writing services.
Write your own book - Have you always felt like there's a story in you that's just waiting to be told? It's not going to happen until you create the time to make it happen! Self publish it with Amazon and create a website to promote it to your growing audience.
Create an online course or sell digital products - If you don't want to sell a physical product, or offer a service, you might want to consider offering an online course or a digital product. This is where you'll want to think about your experience and skills, and what an audience would want to learn more about. What's great about this route is that once you create it, you can put most of your focus into marketing it, rather than having to also worry about fulfillment.
Photography - Are you passionate about photography? You could consider selling your photos online, or offering in-person shoots in your community. If you opt for the in-person route, make sure you include booking options on your website to minimize the back and forth of scheduling. Also, be sure to feature your photos within a nice gallery, detail your process, and feature testimonials.
Home & Office Cleaner - Do you love to clean? Home and office cleaning might be a service that you could offer in your community. If you live somewhere that has a lot of Airbnbs, consider creating and marketing a service specifically to that audience. Setup a website that shows what services you offer, testimonials, and easily accept bookings online.
Interior Decorator - If you have a skill for interior decorating, this could be a service you offer to your community. Make sure you include great photos of your past work, give an overall feel for your style, and feature testimonials so your audience will know what to expect if they work with you.
Professional Organizer - Are you someone who is super organized and enjoys organizing things for other people? Some are just more cut out for organization than others. If this is something you enjoy, consider creating a process and taking your label maker to start helping your community. Setup a website that sets expectations and allows bookings, so you can save time from having to go back and forth to setup an appointment.
Furniture Flipper - Do you see a lot of furniture featured on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist? Have you ever thought about how you could flip it for some money? If so, consider starting with a few pieces that you pickup for free or a low cost, and see if you can clean/refresh it for some more money.
Sell Clothes Online (your own design or thrifted) - If you don't mind managing inventory and love fashion, selling clothes online might be a good fit for you. The clothes you sell could feature your own creations, or be thrifted from stores in your area. The important thing when you're first starting out will be building your brand online, and setting up pop up shops where you can show off your inventory in person.
Dog Walker & Pet Sitting - If you love animals and feel comfortable looking after another person's pet, a dog walking and pet sitting business might be a good fit for you. Do some research on your local area to see what competition looks like, and consider how you could position your business to better serve the community. Setup a website and accept bookings, feature happy clients, and clearly communicate your process, policies and the area you serve.
Pet Grooming - Do you enjoy grooming animals? Consider starting a pet grooming business. This could be mobile, upscale, or full-service - it's up to you! You don't need a license for dog grooming, but you would probably still benefit from taking a course so you can learn breed-specific haircuts.
Landscape Service - Do you have a green thumb and enjoy working outside? This could be the business for you. Start with the basic equipment essentials and build as you grow your client list.
Meal Prep - If you are passionate about meal prepping for yourself, consider offering this service to your local community. Many people don't want to eat out as often as they do, and don't feel up to cooking one of the many home prep meal boxes that are available. Could there be a need for cooked, easy to reheat meal prep in your area? Setup a website and set a specific location where you are willing to offer deliveries. Take good pictures, feature your process and include testimonials.
Florist - If you love flowers and have a knack for making stunning arrangements, this might be the business for you. There are also online possibilities such as local flower delivery, or promoting a pop up shop, so you can avoid the need for a brick and mortar location. Make sure you spend time in taking great photos!
Massage Therapist - Do you have a healing touch? Depending on your state, you might need to take a program with a set hours of experience, but once you complete your training and obtain your license, you can setup a website and offer bookings directly on your site.
Food Truck - Are you passionate about cooking and want to share your delicious meals with your community? Want to avoid paying rent and being stuck in a set location? Consider getting a food truck! They can come in all sizes and allow you to share your passion with more people.
Beauty Services - Do you have a background in beauty services? Whether it's eyebrow threading, hair styling, waxing,
Personal Trainer - Do you love everything fitness? Consider building a brand around fitness. You could create a website that offers training videos for a specific niche, set weekly challenges to keep your community motivated, or offer in person sessions.
Online Tutoring - Is there a subject you excel at? Are you patient and willing to help clients over Zoom? You might be a great fit for online tutoring. Create a website that accepts online bookings and start a community where your students can ask questions and get clarification easily.
Home Care Services - You don't need a background in healthcare to help seniors and start your business. From running errands, to help around the house and home repairs, or driving them to appointments, if you're good with people, this might be a good business for you.
Handyman Services - Did you pickup some handyman skills during COVID? Offer them in your community and setup a website that accepts bookings, so you can streamline the process as much as possible for yourself and your clients.
Sell subscription boxes - Have a fun theme or niche idea for a subscription box? A great example is OinkBox, which sends a monthly box for your pet pig. There are a lot of dog and cat subscription services out there, but this was the first we'd seen that was completely focused on pigs!
Starting a business is an exciting time! We hope you have some new ideas and are excited to get brainstorming on your dream business.
There's never going to be the "perfect time" to make it happen, so your best bet is to get started now!