Every successful company started as a business idea in someone’s head.
I’m part of the camp that believes execution is more valuable than a great idea, but the execution is a given. I’m assuming for your sake that you are going to execute whether your business idea is gold or shit.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a smart idea — the best businesses usually do.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need a super creative or ingenious business idea to create a profitable business. You simply need an idea that’s valuable and doable.
My clients don’t hire me for projects because I’m the only copywriter in the game. They hire me because I get results.
Your potential customers aren’t as romantic about the businesses they buy from as you might think. They just want you to provide something valuable to them, and they want your product or service to deliver as advertised.
Winning in business is more about your ability to hustle seven days a week and to remain patient enough to let your business grow before you give up. A solid business plan doesn’t hurt either.
But you still need a business idea to get started, so let’s take care of that today.
List All of the Areas of Knowledge You Have
Being an expert on a given subject is easier than it seems. You don’t need to have a Ph.D. or any special certifications for that matter — you just need to know more about the subject than most people.
Think back to the subjects that came naturally to you in school and where you always seemed to do the best. Also, think about which books fascinate you the most and what topics they discuss.
Now make a list of 5-10+ pieces of knowledge you have acquired. These can be anything, such as geometry, nutrition, politics, philosophy, etc.
Don’t worry about right or wrong answers because nothing is off limits and we will eliminate most of them later anyways.
List Everything You’re Good At
Once you’ve got a list of knowledge areas, it’s time to make a list of all your skills. What are you good at?
Think about what different skills you need to do your current job well. Also, consider what skills you have that are related to hobbies of yours.
Now make a list of 5-10+ skills you have. Your skills might include writing, bowling, cooking, graphic design, etc.
Again, nothing is off limits. Are you better at organizing files than anyone you know? Write it down!
List the Problems You Have Solved For Yourself
The best products and services solve a problem or fulfill some sort of need. You don’t even have to solve a serious problem to be profitable — just think of how many profitable businesses you know of that only sell entertainment.
However, people will pay the most money to solve a problem or overcome a challenge they have struggled with. It’s likely that you have solved problems in your own life that other people would happily pay you to help them figure out.
Sometimes it can be tough to remember all of the challenges we have overcome because once we get past them, we tend to stop thinking about them. Try to think back on all of the things you’ve struggled with for weeks, months, or years at a time. How did you solve it?
These can include anything from losing weight to getting into a top-tier college to overcoming social anxiety or curing a medical condition that plagued you. Write down 5-10+ problems you have solved.
Identify Potential Market Value
Okay, now you should have a list of 20-30+ things that could contribute to a profitable business idea. Now it’s time to break these down further.
Generally speaking, the potential market value of your business idea comes down to two things:
- How many people are in that market
- How much money people are willing to pay for your offer
The ideal situation is an offer with a high price tag and a large market of potential customers. The iPhone is a perfect example. Some people refer to this as a cash cow.
The next best situations are high-end offers and mass appeal offers.
A high-end product or service has a high price tag and fewer customers. An example would be a marketing agency for yacht retailers. While your potential customers would be limited, the value of your service is very high because the average customer value for yacht retailers is also very high.
A mass appeal offer is something with a lower price tag that tons of people want. Some examples are fitness products or marketing books.
Since there is so much competition, you typically have to charge a lower price. However, there is so much demand that there’s always room for a new product or service to join the market and sell.
The last category is the one you want to avoid — the passion project. These are offers with a low price point and very few potential customers. An example would be teaching people how to wash their car because they can find out how to do that on YouTube and the cost of a professional car wash is cheap.
Now what you’re going to do is take all of those things you wrote down earlier and put each one in one of the following four categories:
- Cash Cow
- Mass Appeal
- Passion Project
Take all of the passion project business ideas and throw them out.
Now look at your remaining potential markets and find where you have the most overlapping skills and knowledge. That is where your first profitable business idea exists!
The next order of business is researching your target market to refine your business idea into something those people would love to have. We’ll talk about that in the next article.
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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