Have you been thinking about taking that huge step and starting up your own business?
Perhaps you like the idea of owning a business but don’t know what to do. When you think of a small business you might think of a cafe, a farm, perhaps making and selling clothes on Facebook. But you don’t want to do any of those things.
First, let’s talk about products versus services. Often, services tend to be neglected when people are considering a business, but in fact, the potential of services is enormous.
What Are Products and Services?
A product is something you could conceivably touch or hold in your hand. Books, clothes, pens, shoes, houses, guitars, bananas.
A service is something that somebody does. Consulting, massage, teaching, lifesaving, listening, healing.
You can offer both. A writer might offer products (books) and services (training on how to write or on the subject they write about). A beauty therapist might offer services (eyebrow waxing, massage, facials) and products (face cream, scent, massage balls).
What Are Other People Doing?
It takes a while to get into the right headspace for planning a small business. You need to discover the possibilities. One way to get the ideas flowing is to search online for “Australian businesses for sale.” There are several websites where people list their business for sale. You will certainly get some inspiration. Who knows – you might even want to buy one.
However, just because you notice a business for sale which seems profitable (and you happen to have the money to buy it) don’t buy it just yet. Nor should you go out and start your own imitation. Have you researched? Would it work in your area, or is it area- or population-specific? Are there too many already? There are many questions to consider first.
Most important of all, is the business you have your eye on right for you? That depends on what you want a small business for. If all you want is a pre-made business with no work required, which will bring you in a reasonable salary every year, then great! Do your due diligence and buy one.
What Do I Want To Do?
But if you are interested in a business because you want a lifestyle change, a chance to work on something that fulfils you and gives you energy every day, then you can’t simply copy someone else’s idea.
You need to find something that will suit your time, your family, your temperament, your budget and your skills and expertise. Because every human is different, your ideal business won’t come prepackaged for you. So it’s time to think about exactly what makes you unique and sales-worthy.
What Could I Do?
This is the part where people give up in despair. “I’m not special. I don’t have any skills.” What these people are doing is parroting the negative messages in society, which have become the soundtrack in their own heads. Do you remember when you were a child? You thought you could do anything and that nothing would stop you achieving your goals. What happened to that inner confidence?
It’s time to take it back.
Everyone – EVERYONE – has something unique to share. Your life, your experiences, your knowledge and your passions have never been repeated in exactly the same way. You are inherently interesting. You just have to recognize it.
Not Me, Though.
Yes, you. Let’s look at a normal, nothing-special mum. She is in her early thirties and has worked in admin jobs since leaving grade twelve. She has two kids and is a stay-at-home mum who isn’t looking forward to returning to work, but the family needs the money.
There are as many stories as there are mothers. They are ordinary and extraordinary at the same time; it simply depends on your perspective.
For instance: our mum wants to study, to expand her job prospects. She loves to bake and her favourite thing to do with her child is to invent new cake recipes and practise decorating cakes. She hates working in admin and thinks it’s boring but whenever she tells a story about it to her friends they laugh.
What could this mum do?
- Start a blog about studying with small children to take care of and bring in advertising income from training companies and child product companies
- Write a book or series of books on the crazy world of admin or temping
- Offer an online course or face to face seminar to young people looking for work in admin
- Write a book and start a YouTube channel on cooking with kids and bring in targeted advertising.
- Start a birthday party entertainment company involving baking and icing cakes
I challenge you to think of three more ideas based on the information I provided.
Now consider your own life and ask these questions:
- What experiences have I had (growing up, being a sister, being bullied, study, work, relationships, hobbies, travel)?
- What am I interested in (what movies/books do I like, what news or opinion am I interested in, do I post on Facebook, what do I do with my time outside work)?
- What do I want to learn?
- What do I wish I’d had/wish I’d known?
- What am I willing to share?
- What can I make/what can I talk about (think about what you talk to your friends and family about)?
Each of these questions will throw out potential business ideas to you. If you decide to retrain to become something mainstream such as a qualified hairdresser or doctor or welder, you can expand on the idea by blogging about your training and ambitions. You can start saving, planning and experimenting with websites or premises. You can test things out on friends and family.
When identifying business ideas, you are limited only by your own imagination. Picking the good ideas from the not-worth-pursuing ones comes later. First you need to brainstorm. Get started today.
This is the second article in the “Start Up Business Basics” series by Emily M Morgan. Look out for next month’s article “Choose Your Niche: How To Decide What Product Or Service To Offer”