How Business Ideas Work

Finding business ideas that fit your talents

If you answered the questions on the previous page, or completed the Self-Evaluation Worksheet from our Tools section, then you should at least have an idea of the direction you should take.

The Internet is full of web sites that list page after page of business ideas. We don't list those ideas here, but have provided links to some sites that do on our Links page. What we want to do is help you discover and evaluate the ideas that appeal to you and best fit you as an individual.

Any list of business ideas you find will basically boil down to three types of businesses. Those business types are:

  1. Manufactured products that you build and sell yourself
  2. Distributed products or services that you buy wholesale and then resell at a higher price
  3. Services that you provide

For those three business types, there are typically four possible strategies. The strategies you might use include:

  1. Inventing a completely new product for a completely new market
  2. Inventing a completely new product for an existing market
  3. Improving on an existing product and selling it to the existing market
  4. Selling an existing product to a completely new market

Coming up with an idea for any of these areas requires some observation skills and creative thought. Start with the things you know about and enjoy and look for ways to make improvements, or sell them to new people. Be observant everywhere you go. Look at how existing businesses operate and make note of the problems you see. Can you come up with a way to eliminate those problems? Can you see a way to improve the service, product or marketability of it? Do you see trends in the market such as larger retired populations? Are there special products or services that that increasing market will need?

Brainstorm with friends, write everything down, and study your list often. Make notes as you think of them. Ideas multiply into lots of new ideas. Evaluate these ideas based on what you like and what you know about. Once you've narrowed the list down to the finalists, read on to find out how to evaluate those ideas.