Where Do Your Business Opportunities Lie?
"Iíd love to start a
home-based business, but I donít have a great idea. What kind of business should
I start?" This is a question that business counselors hear on a daily basis from
people looking for that magic answer. Unfortunately, there isnít one. Instead,
there are many more questions that need to be addressed before an answer
(magical or not) can be found.
Is there a demand for your experience and/or your area of expertise and
interest? Where and how can you successfully fit in? Can you solve any problems?
Research has shown that many successful ventures come from gaps in the
marketplace or from ideas that solve problems.
In their book Finding Your Perfect Work, Paul and Sarah Edwards identify the
following signs for spotting a business opportunity:
- Complaints and problems. What do people hate to do? What do they
complain about? Would they be willing to pay someone else to do it? Remember,
within each complaint or problem lies an opportunity.
- Trends. Think about the business opportunities that might arise
from the following trends, for example: less free time, concern about the
environment and changing family patterns.
- Special needs. Be on the alert for people and organizations with
special needs that arenít being met. How can you determine these needs? Try
number 1 aboveólisten for complaints and problems.
- People like you. Think about what you like and apply your skills to
meeting the needs of people like you.
- New technology. New technology not only provides new opportunities,
it also creates secondary needs for products and services: selling,
consulting, teaching, maintaining, developing accessories and so forth.
- New legislation, regulations and policy changes. Many legal or
policy developments create the need for new products or services, so ask
yourself how you could help others adapt to these changes.
Take stock and decide what you can do. If starting your own business is a
call you want to answer, look around for opportunities or gaps in the
marketplace that need to be filled. If these opportunities or gaps complement
your strengths and interests, youíll be ready to narrow down the field of
possibilities and choose a business thatís a good match for you.
Barbara Cunningham, CunninghamB@missouri.edu
Business Development Specialist
Clay County, Missouri
University of Missouri Extension