Starting a business is thrilling, but there’s a lot to figure out.
Do I need to relocate? How will I finance the operation? What kind of insurance will I need?
If you’re in the early stages you’ll need to research and study a lot. One of the biggest decisions is choosing which industry to get into.
A lot of business ideas excite you. You could do a bookkeeping business, start a cafe, or run a clothing store.
There’s a ton of options, but which one is right for you.
Three simple questions will help you narrow your options. Take your time answering and think deeply about them.
Make a list for each question. Then compare the lists. If one item overlaps in all three lists, it might just be the right business for you to start.
What are you good at?
Every person is a complex combination of genetics, upbringing, personality, skill set, and more.
In other words, you’re unique and bring something special to the table.
A lot of people don’t perceive their own strengths. They’re used to their skills and consider them everyday activities.
A gifted singer thinks everyone can hit notes and do scales. A handyman assumes everyone can fix things around the house.
The truth is a ton of people cannot do the things you do.
We don’t see our gifts because we compare ourselves with the best.
Teachers compare themselves to the best teacher they ever had and think, “I’m awful at teaching!”
Writers compare themselves to their favorite authors and think, “I stink at writing!”
Compare your abilities to the everyday person. If you put your gifts in perspective you might realize that you’re actually pretty good at something.
One way to discover your strengths is to ask those who know you best. You might be surprised by their answers.
Another way to find your strengths is to ask yourself what you enjoy doing. What do you spend your time on? Is there a hobby you like?
Remember, you’ll improve your skills with experience and education. The question right now is what are you good at compared to most people.
Once you answer this, you’ll start to see yourself going into certain industries.
What needs can you meet?
Fulfilling a need is one of the pillars of a successful business.
Think about your current surroundings. Are there certain needs that jump out at you?
Let’s say you live in a medium-income neighborhood with a lot of pet owners. There might be a huge need for pet-sitters.
Are there needs that you personally wish were met? Do you wish there was a vegan restaurant around? Do you wish you could hire someone to mow your lawn?
Try to recall past conversations with family, friends, and locals. Do they express needs you can meet?
Maybe they’re tired of bars and wish a brewery would open in town. Maybe they wish their favorite local business had a user-friendly website.
Once you start looking for needs, you’ll start to see them everywhere. Houses need cleaned. Students need tutored. Cars need repaired.
It might be easier to select a business if you find a need first, then find a way to answer that need. Rather than finding a skill, then trying to meet a need with it.
I recommend taking both paths to generate as many business ideas as possible.
What resources are available to you?
One giant factor that will help you choose a business is looking at the resources available to you.
What does your network of friends look like? What industries are they in?
Sometimes you don’t have to create a new business, you can join an existing one and expand it.
Or you can combine talents to create a business. If you have friends with certain skills sets, consider pairing up with them.
Let’s say you’re awesome at repairing cellphones and laptops, but you’re not good at sales. If your friend is good at sales, you could partner with them.
Also, consider your circumstances. If you’re a stay-at-home mother who’s homeschooling, you might want to try making money online.
If you have a great living space, consider starting an Airbnb. Or if you have an awesome car, think about doing Uber or Lyft.
Do you already have materials that can be used for a business? Perhaps you own property. Take some time to think about a business that would thrive on that real estate.
When you take the time to consider what’s at your fingertips, it helps narrow in on the right business for you.
Compare all three lists
Finally, compare your answers.
Is there something you’re good at, that can answer a need, and you have the resources for?
That’s the golden ticket.
That means you have the ability to perform, the potential to make money, and the means to accomplish the task.
What business do you think is right for you?