More women in their fifties are setting up businesses than ever before. But how do you decide what business to start up? The authors of Employee to Entrepreneur offer some insights.
Some people harbour a new business idea for years and it is really about finding the right time and the right impetus to do it. For others though, whilst the appeal of running a business is strong, the basic business idea escapes them.
If you feel that you are struggling for ideas or have a number of ideas but are unsure of which option is the best, try to take a systematic approach, write everything down and you will be surprised how the ideas start to flow.
In fact coming up with relevant business concepts with real potential need not be that difficult. We all develop a very unique set of experiences as our work and personal lives develop and a thorough review of these experiences can generate fruitful options.
Tips for finding your business idea
We suggest that any budding entrepreneur takes the following 3-stage approach.
- Look Behind You.
First of all look behind you at all your historical experiences. You will have developed specific job skills in your career, which may be provide the basis for a business. In addition you should think about the different companies and market sectors that you have worked in. Some will have been more interesting and/or enjoyable than others.
Do not just look at the experiences you have had at work; include in your thinking the skills you have developed outside of work too. What else do you get involved in? In particular what do you most enjoy doing when you are not working and what would you ideally love to spend more time doing. It could be sports related, voluntary work or just a hobby but importantly could involve additional skills. Creating a business that focuses on a hobby or pastime can create a very exciting future job.
2. Look Around You
Having reviewed your experience look around you at what is happening right now. Inspiration can come from many areas.
Look for areas of growth in the economy for instant inspiration. Do not be put off because someone else has thought of the idea first. Look for businesses that are succeeding and explore if there is room for you. We live in a world where people are prepared even in times of recession to pay for perceived added value whether they offer better quality, are ethically sourced or save time/resources.
The world is becoming a smaller place all the time and this opens opportunities for you to be able to source products from afar into a more local market. Also there is a very rich vein of consumer interest in locally sourced products.
Sometimes you will improve your chances of succeeding with a new venture if you are not alone. Think about your friends and colleagues – you may find that there are opportunities to marry up your business and management skills with someone else’s physical or creative skills.
There has never been a better time for virtual businesses – on line shopping is huge and the fastest growing area of the retail trade. Can you see opportunities to meet the on-line consumers need with a product with limited on line provision or indeed where the on-line provision is of poor quality?
There is also the opportunity to consider both buying a business and franchise operations you could buy into.
3. Look ahead of you
Finally, as part of this systematic approach to finding inspiration for your new venture, do not forget to look forward.
There are certain global and local trends in markets and demographics that you should consider when searching for your inspiration. You may for instance consider the increased life expectancy and growth in population of retirees to present a long-term opportunity for your business. On the other hand you might believe that alternative energy provision will have an ever-increasing market that you can help fill. It clearly makes sense to go into a business that has future growth potential and so looking ahead to judge where markets and trends are likely to move will be a valuable exercise. And if nothing else, an important question to ask of any idea you may have. Will it have long term potential?
But possibly the greatest inspiration of all is to try to envisage how it will feel to have your own business.
You are your own boss, have your hand on the financial risk tiller and can steer your own destiny. Think about the rewards of running your own company both financially and emotionally and the benefits of being independent. More than anything, this should spur you on.
Your personal experience is unique and should be the foundation for any new business venture; don’t underestimate it and can go along way to making your business unique too.
If you can marry your experiences with a business activity that you enjoy then you will have found your perfect business.
Finding the idea for your new business is critical to you being able to reach for the dream of becoming your own boss. Making the leap from employee to entrepreneur doesn’t have to be scary or dangerous. It is all about using your experience wisely and keeping things simple.
Helping budding entrepreneurs stick to their New Year’s resolution is Employee to Entrepreneur, written by Catherine Blackburn and Chris Garden, who capitalised on their corporate backgrounds to build their own successful drinks business importing and selling Red Bull, Tiger Beer and Sol in the UK market.
Employee to Entrepreneur is the first book of its kind that shows readers how to seamlessly make the move from employment to self-employment by effectively harnessing, utilising and exploiting skills and expertise already gained. Down to earth and realistic, Employee to Entrepreneur recognises that the average entrepreneur is not a trendy young revolutionary, but more likely an experienced professional, who will be building a business around existing expertise, with ambitions to generate a stable income and create a professional life they enjoy.