Every successful business starts with an idea. If you haven’t been immediately struck with inspiration, then coming up with a concept for your small business can be difficult and frustrating. However, there are some tried and tested methods you could use to come up with an idea that suits you.
Firstly, you could try doing some research into current start-up trends. The UK government publishes statistics on start-up types as part of their Small Business Service. Mintel also conducts market research on the growth of different sectors. It is generally advisable to enter a market sector that is either already well-established or is growing rapidly. Although these sectors will be crowded, at least there is a guaranteed market there for you to fight for a share.
Some entrepreneurs find it easier to look for gaps in a market and attempt to fill them. For example, if you learn about products that are doing well in other countries then you may be able to adapt them for sale here if no-one else is doing it. Other variables such as the location of your business and its opening hours could result in a business opportunity. If you can find a gap in the market that there is a genuine demand for, you could be on to a winner.
Other entrepreneurs have found business success simply by taking old ideas and breathing new life into them. Try to work out why a previously popular idea has been on the decline and then come up with a way of making it popular again. A small business can be very successful just by taking an existing idea and doing it better or differently to everyone else.
The Internet is a great way of modernising an existing concept. Many successful web enterprises are based on very basic ideas that have simply been adjusted to make the most of technology. The Internet can add extra value to many business ideas, either because of the 24/7 convenience it provides or by how it simplifies things that were previously time-consuming.
If you are determined to invent something unique, look for problems that require a solution. New inventions can be a legal minefield involving copyrights and patents, but some of the best business ideas are often things that are so simple it is hard to believe no-one else thought of it first.