People start their own businesses for a variety of reasons, ranging from a desire to make extra money to having a profitable hobby. Once you have a reason to start your business, it's time to decide what kind of business you're going to create. In this article, learn how to decide which business to start by understanding the benefits of running your own enterprise, how to brainstorm ideas and ways to expand your network for a successful start-up.
Read more: How To Start Your Own Business in 9 Steps
What are the benefits of starting a business?
There are a lot of benefits that come with starting a business that can improve your life and the lives of others. Here are a few of the ways starting a business can be beneficial:
- Making a profit: Most people start their business to make money, either as their full-time job or supplemental income. Either way, being able to make a profit with your own business is rewarding, fulfilling and can help you pay for things you want and need.
- Sharing your interests and talents: When you start your own business, you get to choose what goods and services it provides to customers. Typically, these goods and services will be something in which you're interested. Through your business, you get to share those interested and talents with customers who also enjoy them.
- Filling a need: Your business will also likely fill a need in your market, especially if it involves an invention or new type of product. This benefits customers who want a specific product, but it also benefits the business owners who profit from this market opening.
- Having control over your time: Running a business can be a full-time job if you want it to be. Doing so gives you much more control over your work hours and free time and allows you to develop your business on your own timeline.
- Helping others: Another benefit of starting a business is being able to help your customers access the goods and services they need. Helping others can inspire business owners to continue making their services the best they can be.
- Creating family traditions: Family businesses can last generations and allow the children of business owners to gain business experience and even take over operations as adults. This is a benefit for people who want to share such an experience with their families or provide opportunities to their children.
How to decide which business to start
Thorough preparation is important when you're trying to decide which business to start. You can begin the process with the following steps:
1. Compare your options
Start by researching the kinds of business sectors there are, then look at the specific businesses and what they provide. When researching, note the aspects of these businesses that you like and the aspects that you find less appealing. For example, when considering a business in the food industry, you may enjoy the idea of working with local produce vendors, but you don't want to learn about food regulations. Use this information to compare the businesses and decide which ones that interest you the most.
2. Consider your lifestyle
Different businesses can have different time commitments and levels of involvement for the owners. Consider which business types would align best with your desired lifestyle. If you want to have a high level of involvement in your business, you might look for options that need few employees besides yourself so that you can make more decisions at every level. However, if you'd rather oversee operations broadly, look for options that allow you to hire employees to help you.
3. Determine your budget
Budget is a big factor in the decision to start a business. Create a budget that details how much money you have to pay for any business necessities. Research the cost of these necessities, which can include the rent for an office space, website domains and inventory. Try to find business ideas that you can afford, or, if you're really interested in a certain idea, plan to save enough money to make it happen.
4. Think about starting small
There are many things to consider when starting a business, so it can be a good idea to start small and build up your enterprise over time. Small businesses can make it easier for you to get started building your brand and making a profit without having a large inventory or multiple employees. This can help narrow your options as you search for which business to start.
5. Try to predict market trends
Market trends are good indicators of what products customers want, but you can also use trends to predict what products customer might want in the future. Use online resources and social media to find out which products are currently popular, and then try to predict what similar or new products would be useful to consumers. These predictions can help you decide which business type would be profitable for you.
6. Find your specialization
One way to decide what kind of business to start is by finding a good or service in which you can specialize. This could be something only you can provide, like a certain art style or secret recipe, or it could be an innovative product or service. It's much easier to choose a type of business to start if you have a special product to sell.
7. Research sources for goods and services
Another way to help you narrow your options for a business to start is by researching where you can source the goods or services you want to sell. This research can help you determine whether the things you want to sell will fit into your budget, and you can determine whether these products are easy to get. In addition, you might find local goods and services that can inspire your business choice.
8. Analyze potential competitors
If you have a list of businesses that you're interested in, examine the businesses that would be your competition. Doing this can help you find out how these owners run their operations, which gives you a better understanding of the unique responsibilities of each type of business. This also allows you to track how well these companies are doing in their respective markets, which may affect your choice.
Steps for brainstorming business ideas
To help you brainstorm ideas for businesses you can start, consider the following steps:
1. Think about products that would improve your life
Many new businesses fill product gaps in the market, meaning they sell goods or services that improve the lives of customers differently than existing products. Spend some time noting what products would improve your life. This could be upgrades to existing products or completely new offerings. Use this list to brainstorm useful business ideas.
2. Make a list of businesses related to your interests
You can do this brainstorming activity with just a pen and some paper. On one half of the paper, write some of your interests, like gardening or math. On the other half of the paper, list as many businesses related to those interests as you can. This list helps you see what types of businesses might interest you. Research the specific responsibilities of the ones that appeal to you the most.
3. Talk to friends, family and potential business partners
Sometimes, the opinions of your friends and family can help you brainstorm business ideas and decide which business would be best for you. If you have a potential business partner, too, it's a good idea to think of ideas together so that both of you understand all aspects of your plan. Consider creating lists with one another and comparing your ideas.
Networking ideas for your business
It's a good idea to establish a network for your business that can offer advice and opportunities when you're starting out. Here are some ideas to start your business network:
- Attend workshops, classes and conferences
- Visit product distributors
- Find a mentor
- Draft and pitch a business plan
- Use online communities