The Business Idea

The first step in starting a business is having the right business idea. Every successful business or enterprise starts as a simple idea, a solution to a problem or a dream in someone’s head.

There are 3 main sources for good business startup ideas:

  1. A New Business Idea

  2. Building a Business on Your Existing Skills

  3. Buy a Franchise or Existing Business (someone else’s idea)

Explore all three options below to see which is the best fit for you.

1. A New Business Idea

Many businesses are started by people who had an idea and simply ran with it. If you look at the most successful entrepreneurs, there are a few common themes:

They Follow Their Passion

One thing nearly every great entrepreneur has is a passion for something. Whether it be software (Bill Gates), Real Estate (Donald Trump) or Ice Cream (Ben and Jerry), these entrepreneurs have managed to identify what it is in life that they love to do and make it into their job. They’ve literally created their dream job!

Obviously one of the first things the budding entrepreneur needs to identify is what makes them tick. What do you enjoy doing so much that you literally lose track of time? What would you do if you already had millions and money was not a necessity?

This can’t be emphasized enough. Don’t wake up 2 years after you’ve started your business to realize you don’t like what you’re doing. Think about what makes you happy, excited and passionate now and build a business around that.

They Solve Problems

Entrepreneurs also solve problems. Sure, your passion may be to make sandals, but the problem-solving angle has to come into account sometime (i.e make the best/cheapest/trendiest available). Entrepreneurs are continuously wondering if something can be done better, faster, cheaper or in a completely different way. They look at their surroundings and can find opportunity to improve just about anything.

For the aspiring entrepreneur looking for their first business idea, we advise you simply start paying attention to your surroundings : notice why one store is always packed while the one across the street is not; pay attention to trends in commerce and technology; ask why is this or that so slow, or so inefficient, or so expensive and start brainstorming on how to improve upon existing ideas.

Entrepreneurs do not accept the status quo, they look at something, wonder why it isn’t done better, and then go out and outsmart those not willing to innovate.

They Stay on Top of Business Trends and New Markets

One of the quickest ways to start generating business ideas is simply to look at what’s succeeding right now. Check out the INC. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, the Entrepreneur Magazine Top 500 Franchises and the hottest businesses going today.

Look around your town: see those trendy coffee shops on every corner? How about those healthy fast food places and 99¢ Stores that are popping up everywhere? There’s a reason why these businesses are exploding and an aspiring entrepreneur should know why.

2. Building a Business on Your Existing Skills

Most new businesses are started by people with a particular skill that have simply built a business around that skill. A machinist will start his own shop, a talented secretary will open her own secretarial service, a good cook will open his own cafe, etc.

The most important skill to acquire if you’re going to take this path is to start thinking from an entrepreneurial perspective instead of a professional or employee perspective. In fact, one of the most influential small business books of all time was written about this very topic: The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber addresses the fact that while most small businesses are started by people with an existing skill, very few of them have the operational and entrepreneurial skills to make their business a success.

For example, someone may be a great carpenter, but do they know how to market their services, manage the books, hire more talented carpenters or systemize the business to run itself? Michael Gerber argues that most people don’t and he’s outlined the specific steps that will help the business owner remedy the situation.

Visit the following link to learn more: The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber (

3. Buy a Franchise or an Existing Business

Many times, the fastest and easiest way to start a business is to simply buy an existing business or franchise. Franchises are attractive because they’ve already proven successful and you are simply buying into their system. Existing businesses are attractive because you can pick and choose the right business and most of the legwork has already been done.

Before Buying

Do your research! There are a lot of businesses and franchises out there; not all of them are the best match for you and many are not nearly as great as they may say they are. Due Diligence is the keyword in this instance and buying a business can be a complicated process. Instead of laying out the steps here, we’ll provide links to some great sites and resources for buying a business or franchise