How To Come Up With A Great, Original Business Idea
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So often the question comes to our platform, “What business should I venture into?” or “Chii chiri kufaya muZimbabwe” (slang for, “What’s poppin’, what’s making money in Zimbabwe?”) and we never have a ready answer for this question. You see, for a business to “pop” for you, it cannot just be a duplicate of someone else’s success story.
As Jack Ma said, “If it’s making money now, it’s too late for you to go into it”. The reason for this is quite simple, business has become so complex and dynamic in the 21st century. Customers are fickle and constantly need something to keep them engaged with your business. This scenario is so prevalent that even the common model of opening a tuckshop needs the owner to be actively engaged and always thinking of ways to keep their customers. Therefore, if you are running a business that you do not enjoy engaging with on a daily basis, chances of the business failing are really high.
So, instead of asking what business you should copy, you can follow the following formula to coming up with your very own great business idea, which you will love showing up for every day.
Step 1 : Analyze Yourself
What do you love doing? What activities make you feel most fulfilled? What do you have experience and skills doing? Which aspects of your current job do you enjoy the most? Which parts do you absolutely hate doing? What kind of spaces would you like to work in? Outdoors? Indoors? Do you like dealing with lots of customers or do you prefer to work quietly in the back office? Write these things down
Step 2 : Sources of Inspiration
Look around you to see what business ideas you can come up with. The idea here is to go buck-wild with the ideas, nothing is too preposterous not to be considered. After all, who ever thought tonnes of metal could fly right? So make note of any idea that comes to your mind when considering these options. We will share 6 sources of ideas
- Natural Resources
- Local Human Resources
- Import Substitution
- Newspapers and Magazines
- Trade Fairs & Exhibitions
Step 3 : Do Your Market Research
After you’ve looked through the sources of inspiration above, and come up with a list of possible business ideas, do some research to find out which business you can operate profitably within your community. Remember that for a business to be viable, there have to be a sufficient number of customers willing and able to buy from you. So take that into consideration.
Step 4 : Narrow Your Interests Down To One Business
After you have done your market research, you will be in a position to choose the best possible business. For this business, write down the answers to the following questions:
- What will I be selling
- Who will I sell it to
- How will I sell it? What will be my method of distribution
- Where will I sell from
- How much of it will I produce and sell?
- What impact will this business have on my environment
Step 5 : Prepare Your Business Plan
You are now in a position to begin preparing a detailed business plan for at least the next 12 months. In subsequent articles, we will deal with the details of how you can actually go about writing your own business plan.