This is the third part in our series that explores if starting a small business is right for you.
The first two parts covered the Assessment Phase and the Idea Phase and this one covers the Exploration Phase.
In the Exploration Phase, you get to expand the entries you have on your Things About Me list by really thinking about them and dissecting them. Think of it as a bit of a word association exercise.
Take your Things About Me list and expand it by focusing on each entry and really thinking about them. Write down every thought you have on the entry. Consider the synonyms and antonyms for every entry you’ve written down.
Here, you’ll begin to see that some entries have a lot of substance to them while others don’t stimulate your imagination the same way. Do any of the entries represent a clear vision to you? Can you add something to it that will improve it?
Keep in mind that you should look at your list and try expanding on the entries over a few different sittings. Expand it, set it aside for a day or two and then have another look at it. Drop the entries that simply don’t stimulate your imagination enough to expand them.
Also, try combining some of the following into your list expansion efforts:
- When looking at a potential business idea, ask “What’s next?” Many successful business ideas thrive because they consider a certain industry and then try to predict what will be the next logical step in that industry. Look at the trends and technologies on the horizon and try to predict how they will affect a particular industry. How might you fit into that?
- Try to find new niches. Often, successful businesses are just filling an unmet need rather than bringing something completely new to an industry. Consider what some of the big players in an industry might be missing and might have overlooked. Can you see a way to fill these gaps?
- Take all the skills you have amassed in the field that you are leaving and see if you can apply them to an entirely new field.
- Is there an idea you’ve written down where the industry is lacking in recent innovations? Can you think of any innovations that you could apply to it?
- Can you take an existing business and customize it with the ideas that come from your list?
- Can you take an existing product or service and make a cheaper, better, bigger, smaller, faster, tastier etc. version of it?
By now, some solid business ideas should begin to emerge for you. Next week, we’ll look at the next phase of assessing small business ideas.
[Main photo courtesy of jazzedup58 on Flickr]