Starting a Business

How to determine the right business idea for you

Do you have an idea for a new business? Determine your interests and goals to help you decide which route to take. 

Published: December 12, 2016

Before you launch a new business, answering the following key questions can help you take the necessary steps.

1. Why do you want to have a business?

Start by writing down your personal short- and long-term goals and objectives: being your own boss, making more money, or having flexible working hours.

Other reasons could include:

  • Following a passion

  • Utilizing special skills to solve a customer problem

  • A desire to give back to the community

2. What activities do you enjoy?

Then do an analysis of yourself. List things you like to do, for example:

  • Organizing parties

  • Playing tennis or another sport

  • Looking after children

  • Working on carpentry projects

It’s very important to write down everything you like to do, even if you think that it has nothing to do with starting a business. Many successful people have started businesses based on their hobbies.

3. What are things you don’t enjoy?

If you don’t like to get up early but you plan to start a business that requires you to do so, then you may want to think twice about that type of business. It may be that you don’t enjoy reading. Perhaps, you don’t want to talk very much. You may not want to work with computers. Take all these dislikes into account as you plan your business.

4. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

You should also include areas of strength and weakness on your list. If you understand your weaknesses in the early stages of planning, you can work to improve them or seek help. Examples of strengths can include:

  • Specialized training and broad work experience

  • Extensive network of friends and business contacts

Areas of weakness can include:

  • Lack of sales experience

  • Not knowing where to obtain certain permits or buy certain supplies

5. Who do you know?

These are your contacts — people who are going to help you achieve your goal. They may be family friends or former co-workers who can, at some point, share knowledge or experience, or refer you to others who can help you, physically or financially.

Take time to analyze your plan

Share what you wrote with your friends and family, a personal mentor or even an expert in the field, and ask for their thoughts. Listen to others and reflect on their comments about what you have created. Their insight will help you determine the possibilities for your business. For example: If you like to cook and organize parties, perhaps an option for you would be to open a restaurant or an event hall. Or if you like computers but don’t like working with people, you can set up a repair shop and look for someone to handle customer service and manage sales and appointments.

You should have a couple of options in mind, and then research everything you can about the types of businesses you’re considering. Visit the library to find books and search online to obtain more information so you can find an example of a business plan or details about the equipment you need. Also, visit similar businesses. It’s possible that the owners may be willing to share their experience with you.

Investigate various options based on what you’ve learned about your personal and professional goals, and decide which type of business to start.