Why do so many businesses start from home?
The answer here is because great ideas begin at home. Also, and let’s be brutally honest at this point, the reason most business empires initially trade from home is that their founders haven’t got the necessary resources to start anywhere else. Sure, we’d all love bright modern offices, a fleet of freshly liveried vans to deliver our goods, bellhops in sharp uniforms at the doors of our shop, and some posh sounding people to answer our phones, but alas, starting a business isn’t at all like this. A typical home-based entrepreneur will have little or no money, can either be in debt or previously bankrupted by a failed venture, yet will still believe enough in themselves and their ideas to continue with their global dream – which inevitably can only begin from their kitchen table.
Are all the best business ideas already taken?
When you sit down and try to develop the next million-making idea, it may seem like all the best ideas are already taken. You may sit there thinking if only I had come up with the idea for an online social networking site like My Space, Bebo, or Friends Reunited. You may also regret not being the first in line with the vision of smoothie drinks, which were relatively unheard of until a few short years ago. But don’t despair. There is no reason you cannot come up with a great idea of your own and build a successful business from it.
Where to get great ideas
It’s vital to explore all of the possibilities that present themselves. Often the most excellent ideas won’t be immediately apparent, which is why we need to have some strategy for unlocking them. The most challenging way of coming up with ideas is to sit down with a blank piece of paper and think of things.
What’s the one thing you find most frustrating about your hobby?
The ‘thing’ needn’t even be connected to your hobby. For example, let’s say you’re a keen walker and you find the maps you’re using challenging to store comfortably when you’re walking or hard to keep dry in the rain. For an entrepreneur, this type of problem represents opportunities.
‘Rules’ for brainstorming
- Do not judge any of your ideas.
- Write down everything that comes into your head regardless of how silly or irrelevant it may sound.
- The exercise is all about quantity and not quality.
- Work in five-minute bursts, stop, and then do something else for a few minutes before starting again.
- Don’t do it if you’re tired or irritable. This technique works better when you’re fresh and in a positive frame of mind
Techniques for brainstorming
- Write down several keywords associated with your hobby on a large, blank piece of paper. For example, if your hobby is fishing, you could write down: fishing rod, fish, hook, bait, fishing boat, beach, pier, etc.
- Allow yourself to go wild with your ideas and remember not to judge/evaluate anything you write down. As soon as you get an idea down on paper, move on to the next one.
- Use pictures to generate ideas. Open any page of your favorite hobby magazine, look at the pictures, and write down whatever comes into your head.
- Use questions to generate ideas. Six great questions to get going on are: How?, Why?, Where?, When?, Who?, What?.
- Don’t take this too seriously. Try to think of some funny ideas and write them down. For example, if your hobby is water-skiing, imagine the Queen learning to water ski with Prince Phillip being towed behind in a doughnut.
- Use a stopwatch to time your five-minute session, and as soon it ends, STOP.
Keeping a notebook
Ideas are like jokes – you can never remember the good ones. So it’s essential to record everything you come up with in a notebook. I prefer to use an A4, hardback, spiral-bound notebook, which I keep safely at home. I use a small pocket-sized notebook when I’m out and later transfer my notes into my master notebook when I get home.
Evaluating your ideas
While undoubtedly true, this doesn’t mean that every idea you come up with, regardless of how you work on it, will bear fruit. Neither should you get frustrated if some of your ideas seem to be too far-fetched at this stage? Instead, see your ideas as doorways to your future business. Some you can open today; others may have to wait until you have sufficient resources to put them into action, and a few doors you won’t be able to open at all until you do a bit more research.
- Getting ideas is simply a process of looking at things differently and working through many ideas until you find the gems hidden in the sand.
- Try to see if your idea fits the hobby business ideas as these business models represent enormous potential.
- Be prepared to start from where you are right now. If your dream is to run a florists’ shop, but you can’t afford to buy one or take on a shop lease, then be prepared to start with a bucket, selling door-to-door.