Entrepreneurship Step 1: Picking a Business Idea

Jul 14, 2015 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

by Carol Topp, CPA

Picking a micro business idea is not difficult if you follow a guided plan. Begin by brainstorming what you already know, making sure your business idea fills an actual need. Then run your ideas past several mentors or advisers. Finally, test your idea by doing a simple market survey.

Do What You Know

List all your former jobs, hobbies, volunteer efforts, experiences, passions, interests, and classes you have taken. This is a brainstorming session, so put everything on the list. You can evaluate the merits of each item on the list in the next steps.

Mark those areas with money-making potential.

Cross off those that you do not have a passion for doing. If you cannot see yourself spending multiple hours a week on the task, cross it off.

Meet a Need

Make sure your business idea will fill an actual need in your area. Your idea doesn’t have to be revolutionary; it can just be a new way to do the same old jobs like cooking and cleaning. For example,

  • Dream Dinners, the first meal-assembly franchise, was started by two busy working moms that needed an alternative to take-out food and restaurant dining.

  • Speed Cleaning was founded by Jeff Campbell, who took a mundane chore and built a business teaching people how to clean a house quickly and get on with enjoying life.

Mentor Check

Take your idea list to several trusted advisers or mentors who know you well. Ask at least three people who will be helpful to you. Ask for honest feedback. You might ask an accountant, a current business owner, or a business instructor.

Market Check

After your brainstorming and mentor check, find a your market and ask several people their opinion on your business idea. Ask a potential customer:

  1. Would you buy this product or service?

  2. How much would you pay?

Once you have chosen a business idea, you’re ready to get started! Learn more about the details of starting and running a business in my book bundle, Micro Business for Teens.

Are you participating in this summer’s Entrepreneurship Contest? There is still time to pull together your work, make money this summer, and win some fantastic prizes. Click here for details.

Carol Topp is the author of Starting a Micro Business, which teaches you how to lay the foundation of a successful small business.

Read Step 2: Serving Your Customers and Step 3: Advertising Your Business.

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