Many people want to start a business, but do not know exactly where to start or which business to get into. This article will help you think through starting a business in an organized and structured step-by-step way.

Keep in mind, some business ideas may work for some founding teams, or at a certain points in time, but may not work for other people or at other times. Success depends on the skills, strengths, and abilities of the entrepreneur, timing and market conditions, and a number of other factors.

If you feel like you could benefit from more education about how to start a business, check out my Udemy course discounts where you can browse sales on some of my top business and marketing online courses. And if you need help brainstorming your business ideas or with business planning for them, consider hiring a business coach to help you.

Article Table Of Contents

For Best Business Idea Fit: Take Advantage Of Your Strengths

It is a good idea to first think about your personal and professional strengths. Are you an engineer who can build high quality technical products? Are you good at sales? Are you well-connected? Are you patient? Are you less patient than others? Are you a leader, or do you want to be one? Do you have a high moral and ethical I.Q? Whatever your strengths are, whenever you think about what kind of businesses are right for you, try to align your strengths so that you can give your venture the most competitive edge.

Conversely, try to minimize your weaknesses. For example, if you are not technical, do not rush into businesses that require a lot of technical aptitude and skills. That does not mean you should be discouraged. It just means you should think through it a bit more thoroughly. Additionally, many businesses require substantial upfront capital. If you are not wealthy, and are not able to raise high amounts of capital, those businesses may not be best for you.

The great news is that everyone has strengths, so everyone can find a niche where they can give their business a competitive advantage. If you play to your strengths, you can give yourself a much higher chance to ultimately succeed. We are cheering for you!

For example, I have many years of experience creating videos online and teaching online courses so a business that would take advantage of this natural strength of mine is a business in the Elearning industry, make Udemy courses, YouTube, creating video ads, or any other business idea having to do with video online. I created many free tutorials and services for new Elearning entrepreneurs. For example, here is an article about how to get into the Elearning business in one day.

Video on how to get best business ideas

Video about online passive income business ideas

For Good Business Ideas That Are Right For You: What Are Your Interests and Passions?

If you will be successful, you may end up doing this business for two, five, ten or maybe even more years. Think about what you want to do, and what would make you happy. Conversely, try not to get into business areas just for the money. If you start a business in an industry where you do not want to be or have no interest in, you may not find yourself being fulfilled, nor find the strength to make it through the various business challenges and the difficult stages throughout the life of the business.

How Can Your Business Idea Improve the World?

This section is very important. Having considered what you want to do, and what your strengths are, your business is ultimately not completely for you. It is more for your clients and customers. Perhaps your business is much more for your customers than it is for you. Always think about your clients because without them no business can exist for long. Every business needs customers and your job is to find something you can do to make someone's life better. If you do, that person can become your customer. You can solve someone's problem, entertain them, teach them something, etc. You have to ultimately provide a great enough benefit to your target customers so that they would be willing to pay you for your offering and/or come back to use it again.

Next Step: Business Idea Validation

Once you have thought through a product or service that plays to your strengths, and can benefit someone or something in the world, what is the next step?

The next step is to see if your idea can become a viable product or service, and then a company. After all, up to now, no matter how good of an idea it may be, it is still a concept and the next step is to gauge how to make it a reality.

The process of determining whether your business idea is a good one is called idea validation. During the idea validation phase, you must talk to many people and get their opinions about your business idea. You should talk to friends and family, business peers, industry experts, and potential clients. During those conversations you must get people's feedback on your business idea. You don't have to take everyone's feedback, but you should certainly think about what everyone said, and synthesize it in your mind.

Should You Keep Your Business Idea Secret?

There are varying schools of thought on this issue. Some people like to remain secretive about their ideas while others like to ask as many people as possible so that they can get more feedback.

The pros and cons are obvious. If you keep the idea a secret, you will get less feedback. Your only option to validate the product will be to put it out in the market (a relatively expensive step in terms of time and money). But you do gain the benefit of less people being able to steal your idea.

On the other hand, if you tell more people, you can get a broader range of opinions from which to learn, and refine how you think about your idea. Of course, someone whom you trust may like your idea so much that they may disregard ethics and go ahead and try to claim your ideas as theirs. The good news is that if you are eventually successful, there will be hundreds of people who will be stealing your ideas and competing directly against you because all your ideas and products will be available to the public, so competition is just natural and inescapable. For more on this topic, take a look at a full article about protecting business ideas.

Make Sure You Have a Complete Strategy

Once you have a good idea, and you talk to enough people about it, try to gain a sense of your complete business and product strategy. That means taking a bigger picture view. For example, you may have a good idea for a product, but it might be difficult to market that particular product as you might have conceptualized it. That is a big risk. On the other hand, it might be a good product that is easy to market, but there may not ultimately be much money in it. If there is plenty of money in it, there may very naturally be too much competition, and in case you are relatively new to entrepreneurship, being in a fiercely competitive business environment is not playing to your strength. The list goes on. You can also be missing by a few years by being too early or too late. The number of potential blind spots or pitfalls is very large. No one can predict every detail, but the greater and more detailed you mold your world view as it relates to your product, the more potential pitfalls you will be able to avoid. Your goal now should be to come up with a really winning and complete strategy. So put a lot of thought into business planning and learning about your business niche and how your business do well in it. Here is a tutorial on different kinds of business models to help you create a good business plan and business model for your idea.

Once You Have a Great Plan, Execute!

Ultimately, there is only one way to win in business. You have to execute your idea as best as you possibly can. We sincerely wish you the best, and we hope this article helped to give you some guidelines for coming up with business ideas that are right for you. We would love to eventually hear success stories so hurry up, go out, and become very successful so you can tell us about it.

Should You Protect Your Business Ideas

There is always quite a bit of discussion and debate over the topic of protecting business ideas. Some people argue that you should keep it a secret while others insist that you should be free and open about it. The correct approach is likely somewhere in between the two extremes. If you are curious about this topic, take a look at our article about protecting business ideas.

Dealing With Multiple Business Ideas

One common issue many people face is having more than one idea and not knowing which of them to go after. Even worse, that indecision sometimes leads to one of the more common business idea mistakes, which is going after more than one idea at a time. Wanting to go after more than one project at a time is such a common issue that we have a whole article about it. To read more about it, please take a look at out article about multiple business ideas.

If You Are Not Sure About Your Idea

If you are not sure about your business idea, or are struggling with non-business issues, it might be worthwhile to consider some of the non-business issues that entrepreneurs often face. We have a full article about business psychology that addresses some common psychological issues faced by business owners.

One other aspect of business ideas to consider is how they evolve. If they just sit there without being worked on, they don't do anyone any good. But as soon as someone starts working on them, they begin to grow and evolve. For a fuller discussion on this subject, please take a look at our business idea evolution article.

Different Types Of Business Ideas

There are many different possible business ideas. You might think I am talking about something like business ideas for women vs. online business ideas vs. home based business ideas, or something like that. But I have something slightly different in mind.

To add some structure for thinking about your business ideas, I suggest to first break them down into what can be referred to as innovative vs. commoditized ideas. For more on this topic, please take a look at our article about types of business ideas.

Validating Your Business Ideas

If you are trying to tell whether your idea is good and are trying to do market testing for your ideas, and are concerned about someone copying your ideas, we have a full article dedicated to the topic of protecting business ideas. Most of the time it is good practice to be more open with what you are planning to do for your business because it allows you to engage people in dialog. But, of course, how open you are about sharing your business ideas is entirely up to you and should be considered on a case by case basis. Here is another article with a checklist of items to help you determine if your business idea is good or not.

It is prudent to do market research or market testing for almost any kind of company. Whether you have a home based business idea, a local small business idea, or a technology business idea like an app or a unique website, it is good to talk to potential clients and business niche experts to get feedback on whether they think your business idea is viable, and whether it is as good of a business idea as you think.

Business Plan For Your Business Idea

Once your business idea begins taking shape you want to start doing some business planning. You don't need a full business plan, but it is highly recommended that you create a good overall strategy for your company. If you don't know how to write a business plan, don't worry about it. It doesn't have to be difficult. Here is a tutorial to help you understand how to write a business plan.

Start bringing your idea to life

You can begin working on a business idea the very same day you got the idea. Take a look at our tutorial on how to set up your site quickly (sometimes in one day) and professionally. Having a website or even a blog can help you begin to discuss your idea with others and be able to point people towards the resources on your site. A website can also help you network online and to begin to promote your business. You will need to set up a website for almost any kind of company, so you might as well do it earlier than later. A website will help you get feedback, and get people to take your company more seriously.

Whether you have a mobile app or a website idea, or a local business idea like a restaurant, cleaners, lawn care, home improvement, or anything similar, a website can help you begin the marketing process. Having a website can give you a head start in collecting people's email addresses, or doing SEO marketing to help your website rank in Google earlier rather than later.

Here is a step by step tutorial of what to do in order to go from the business idea that you found, got feedback on, and decided to put into action, and how to make it into an actual thriving company.

Business Idea Evolution & How To Improve Your Business Ideas

As in other articles on this app, how you run your business will be left entirely up to you. The article is a reflection and overview of the lifecycle of business ideas. The article also contains a real-life case study of a business idea that your humble author once had, and how that idea evolved into me writing this article.

Static Business Ideas

Imagine if the person who first invented the wheel would not have actually created the wheel. Well, just as the saying goes, someone would have re-created the wheel shortly after. However imperfect analogies can sometimes be, the point illustrated here is that if an idea is not worked on, and is allowed to just sit there, someone else will come along and take it from theory to reality.

So try to test your ideas and act on them if you can. Taking ideas from theory to reality is a creative process. In any type of creative process, there is a very high failure rate. Chances are that the idea is in some way imperfect. That is ok. In fact, that is expected. In fact, success at first try should be highly surprising. The great thing about trying ideas out is that no matter the outcome, there is some learning that happens along the way, and that learning gives rise to new ideas.

Moving The Business Idea Forward And Evolving It

As the entrepreneur keeps testing out his or her ideas, the original idea begins to change and evolve. The evolution is not a linear improvement, but rather a mix of some steps forward and some steps back. Most world innovation was a result of continuous trial and error rather than a single lightbulb moment where an idea suddenly comes to someone.

So as the entrepreneur keeps learning about what was not quite right with the original version of his or her idea, he or she continuously gets slightly better ideas which they think is the new great idea. Then the entrepreneur tries the new idea out, and again learns about which parts of that idea were not quite right.

As the entrepreneur keeps trying, the original idea continuously evolves, moves forward, and becomes less and less recognizable. Anyone doubting this, search Google for "First Yahoo homepage 1994."

This may be partially ironic to anyone who has ever tried to protect their business idea because if anyone tried to steal or copy that first idea, they would have gotten a really bad idea while the entrepreneur who continuously worked on an idea would have probably evolved that idea into something more worthwhile over time.

Business Idea Case Study Example

That brings us to the case study promised in the beginning of the article. Here was a business idea I once had:

Make a public forum to discuss solutions to various problems. Some problems would be solved by creating businesses to solve them, and there would be crowd-funding on the site to fund those businesses.

I was very open with this business idea and not protective of it at all. Since I was not sure whether this idea was any good, I asked many people whom I knew. Half of them liked the idea and half of them did not understand it. So I built that site to see whether people would want to use something like this. No one really wanted to use it. Then I changed the site many times, each time learning more and more.

I learned many things along the way. One of the things I learned was that people did not want to openly discuss business ideas, but instead wanted private business planning tools, tips and sometimes guidance. Eventually I built a mobile app on the Android platform to plan businesses. That app was much more successful and users liked it quite a bit. But many people using the app constantly kept contacting me and asking for business ideas. Of course, even if I had business ideas to give out, I could not give everyone the same business ideas. Different people are suited for different kinds of businesses. So I wrote an article about business ideas. But people still wanted more information about all aspects of business ideas.

So I made this app with a number of articles about business ideas that look at business ideas from different angles and evaluate many nuances and points of confusion. Just to be clear, this app is NOT a great business idea. I simply made it because it to help address a topic over which there is quite a bit of confusion.

Business Idea Mistakes & Bad Business Ideas

Keep in mind: just about any business idea can work. If you think about it, some very unusual business ideas have worked in the past. Conversely, it often happens that very common business ideas actually do not work. There are a few key reasons like overall strategy, positioning, marketing, degree of hard work, perseverance, availability of resources, timing, product quality, market and economic conditions, and much more.

As an example, consider a very common type of business: a restaurant. Many restaurants have been successful in the past while many have also failed. There are many things that have to go right starting from the planning stage. For example, if the restaurant is in an area where there are not many people passing by, it will be difficult and costly to acquire new customers. If the food is not great or too expensive for its quality, the restaurant will not have repeat customers and get bad online reviews which will work to turn new perspective patrons off. There are many things that can go wrong. The staff may be unfriendly. The economy might be weak. A better restaurant can open up next door. The business can run out of money before it breaks even. Or the founder just did not have enough knowledge or experience in the industry which caused too many mistakes to be made along the way.

So to make this kind of business successful, the founder has to make sure that as many of these issues can play in their favor than hurt them.

Mismatch of Business to Founding Team

Different people have different strengths. The founder does not have to possess all the core skills that the business requires. But together the nucleus of the founding team does have to possess the core skills required by a business.

For example, Internet/tech businesses typically require the founding teams to have a tech background. Food-related businesses require culinary or hospitality industry background. Product-centric companies require ability to make great products and sell them. Some businesses need to raise a lot of money while others need to get a lot of publicity. The founding team must have the skills for whatever the business will require.

If that is not the case, that will make the business more of an uphill battle.

Lack of Experience In a Field Requires Approximately 6-12 Months of Learning the Industry

If the founding team does not have strong experience in the industry in which the business idea is in, that will necessitate a lot of learning on the job, which will in turn cause many errors and steps in unsure directions. Small errors are not difficult to recover from, but gross mistakes can be very costly in terms of time and money. Before having to pay for these mistakes out of the bank account of your own business, it may be better to do some work in this area as an employee, or maybe start with a smaller project just to learn the ropes cheaply.

A common mistake is that people try to quickly go big in a business area where they do not have enough experience, which can be very damaging to the business. The bigger you try to go, the bigger and more costly the mistakes will be as well.

Lack of Circumstance-Idea Match

Sometimes the business idea is just too dependent on market and other outside conditions. If those conditions are not favorable to the business, it can be time to reconsider the business. Of course, conversely, most business types are cyclical (that means their success correlates with timing of the overall economy which tends to go through good and bad multi-year cycles).

So think about how the global and local economies will affect your business. Not taking that into consideration can leave you with significant risk.

Should You Protect Your Ideas

There is always quite a bit of discussion and debate over the topic of protecting business ideas. Some people argue that you should keep it a secret while others insist that you should be free and open about it. The correct approach is likely somewhere in between the two extremes. If you are curious about this topic, take a look at our article about protecting business ideas.

Another option business owners have to protect their businesses is something called the non compete agreement which prevents the employee from stealing clients or going to work for companies that are directly competing with your company. Here is the full article on the non compete agreement.

Not Starting Your Business: Bootstrap Your Business Idea If You Can

One mistake people make is that they wait around for a source of funding for the business idea. Unfortunately, almost all the time, funding never comes to people who wait for it. And that causes the business never to even exist. To combat this type of a phenomenon, we recommend that you do something called bootstrapping. Here is a video on bootstrapping.

Become A Stronger Entrepreneur

If you want your business idea to succeed, you must be the main driver that is always pushing it forward and improving it. This means that you must make yourself a stronger entrepreneur. The better you are as an entrepreneur, the more likely it will be that your idea will succeed. Here is a tutorial on how to become a stronger and more effective entrepreneur.

Business and entrepreneurship psychology

Of all the skills you will have, the one skill you will need to use at all times is your mental approach to things. This is why your psychology and mindset are so important. Here is a tutorial on common business psychology issues that you will have to master.

List Of Different Businesses And Tutorials To Start Them Right

I am working on a full list of businesses or services you can start: restaurant or diner, coffee shop, barbershop, nightclub, local event, most kinds of stores ranging from boutiques to grocery stores to jewlery shops, animal care or grooming, lawn care or landscaping businesses, moving businesses, gym, frozen yogurt or ice cream shop, a deli, liquor store or a sandwich shop, a beauty salon or a hair salon, a spa, a daycare business, a hardware store, commercial cleaning or residential cleaning, car wash, general contractor business, dog walking or pet sitting, t-shirt business, martial arts studio, or a dance studio.

I am also working on a list of tutorials for how you can promote certain companies. The first one I am working on is law firm marketing.

Here is a list of potential online businesses you can start: blogging, affiliate marketing, elearning business selling online courses, create a channel on YouTube, become an author and sell books on Amazon and the Kindle, or become a freelancer or a local concierge. You can also create a mobile app or a website that provides some service or product or content that people can visit.

If you don't have books or courses of your own, you can license them from other creators through PLR (private license rights). Here is an article on PLR books and PLR courses.

What Kinds Of Business Ideas Is This Article For?

The information in this tutorial can be applied to online business ideas, app ideas, work from home business ideas like affiliate marketing or freelancing or new kinds of websites or software, or local small business ideas such as a restaurant, coffee shop, home improvement, cleaners, lawn care or gardening, or any other kind of local business. Just about all the principles in this article are universal.

I want to also leave you with a tutorial on online business ideas and 50 different websites where you can make money. Here is the video tutorial.