Do you want to create a successful business, but not sure how? We get it, coming up with a brand new business idea can be tricky, which is why we’ve put together this guide for you. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • Start with why
  • Find your passion
  • Identify your skills
  • Research businesses and trends
  • Solve a problem
  • Test your idea
  • Get government  support
  • Network

Start with why

Coming up with a business idea can be difficult. Setting up the actual business itself may be more challenging. You will probably have to work long hours and sacrifice your free time to get your company off the ground. A key part of coming up with a good business idea is having the passion and dedication to see it through.

That’s why it’s important to make a list of reasons why you want to start a business in the first place. Every entrepreneur has their reason; maybe yours is one of the following:

  • You want to help others 
  • You want the freedom of working for yourself
  • You think you can solve a problem that others can’t
  • You’re very passionate about a hobby and want to turn it into a business
  • You have skills that are in demand and others are willing to pay you 
  • You want to earn more money for yourself

Whatever your reasons are, make sure you write them down and keep them visible. So, when the journey gets difficult, you know why you started in the first place. 

Find your passion

As we mentioned, passion is key to a successful business idea. You might even choose to work for free when starting out, so your idea should involve something you’re passionate about. Make a list of things that you love to do and what you’d gladly do for free. 

Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to find entire communities interested in the area you’re passionate about. No matter what it is, you’re likely to find a lot of people who love even a super niche hobby like knitting or ultimate frisbee. If people are interested in it, then it’s possible to build a community around it and create a business that caters to  it. 

You could also do something in your local area. For example, if you love dogs, you can easily ask around, post in local social media groups and see if anyone is interested in hiring you as a dog walker or dog minder. 

Identify your skills

Alternatively, instead of going down the hobby route, you could look at skills you already have. 

  • Think about what you’re good at
  • Ask other people where they think your skills lie

By asking yourself and others, you might discover skills you never knew you had. Once you have an idea of what you’re good at,  think about how you can offer your skills to people. Here are some examples:

  • Writing: Start a freelance writing business and offer your services online.
  • Drawing: Start an Instagram page dedicated to your art and do commissions for people.
  • Coding: Work as a freelance web developer for new and upcoming startups that can’t afford a full-time professional, and offer a good price per project.

If you don’t think you have skills you can make money off, then you can learn them. There are a whole host of resources available, such as:

  • YouTube
  • Websites with free content focused on your niche
  • A local library 
  • Online or evening courses

Once you read a few books or complete an online course on a certain topic, you already know more than most people. The key then is to start implementing these skills and showing people that you can help them or their business. 

Research businesses and trends

Another great way to come up with a business idea is to research different industries. Is there one company that’s dominating the industry with no competition? Maybe there’s enough market share (portion of a market controlled by a particular company or product) for more businesses but other people don’t see it. 

An obvious example of this was Skype. For years, they were the most well-known video calling platform in the world. Now there’s plenty of competition from Zoom, Google Meets and Microsoft Teams –– so much competition that Skype has fallen behind. 

Another thing you should research is consumer trends. Even take a look abroad. What seems to be emerging as popular in the US or different countries in Europe or Asia? You could jump on an emerging trend before it comes to the UK. For example:

  • Microbreweries were very popular in the US before they started popping up all over the UK and Ireland. 
  • Coffee was very popular across the US and in countries like Italy before becoming one of the most popular commodities in the world. Resulting in coffee shops opening on every corner in towns and cities across the UK. 

Always keep an eye out for new ideas and research the different market and consumer trends. You never know what might be the next big thing. 

Solve a problem

Creating a great business idea requires you to put yourself in other peoples’ shoes. Think of a product or offering a service you can offer to help make peoples’ lives easier. Ask around and ask different people from different walks of life. 

Here are a few examples of companies that know their target audience and their problems:

  • Grammarly – spell checking software for writers
  • SafetyWing – a travel insurance service for digital nomads
  • Airbnb – for travellers that don’t want to stay in hotels

 Find your target audience and identify what specific problem they’re facing in their everyday life that you can solve. 

Test your idea

Once you’ve come up with a business idea, the next step is to test it to see if people would actually use it. Offer it for free to friends, family or clients that you’d like to work with. 

If they like your idea and give you unbiased positive feedback, then you know you can start changing for it. If they don’t want to use it for free, then it’s back to the drawing board to come up with a new idea. 

Get support from the government

The government offers support to entrepreneurs to help them get started. There are lots of programmes that can help you with:

  • Setting up your business
  • Offering free business advice
  • One-on-one mentorship
  • Financial support
  • Marketing strategy

You can learn more about what support is available for small businesses here

Spread the word about your business

Networking with entrepreneurs is a great way to find potential clients, test your business idea and learn from others that have succeeded before you. It’s arguably easier than ever before to network with a whole host of different options both online and offline. You could use:

  • Linkedin
  • Other social networking sites with different groups, for example Facebook and reddit. 
  • Online webinars and talks
  • Live events
  • Local networking communities in your area

Networking is beneficial for running a business, not just at the start. Therefore, you would be wise to learn as much as possible about it. Most importantly, learn to put yourself out there and get your business out there, too.   

Start your new business with the help of Countinup

While you choose and develop your business idea, make sure to keep on top of your business finances once you get started. Designed to help small business owners save time and money, Countingup is the business current account that automates bookkeeping and simplifies tax returns. It makes it easier to run your business so that you can focus more on doing the things you love. 

Find out more here.