How do I decide what business to start?

So you want to start your own business but you don’t have any ideas.  

The good news is that you don’t need to be a brilliant inventor or even have an original idea to start your own business?    In fact, you could probably start a business right now, with the knowledge you already have

When I started my first business back in 2009 I had struggled for ages to think of a business idea.  I wanted to work from home but couldn’t think of anything to do.  After a ton of research I decided to keep it simple and set up an online shop selling make up and beauty products.  I bought the products from wholesale suppliers and then sold them for a profit.   It wasn’t complicated but it worked, and I had achieved my goal and was earning money from home.

 

If you want a product based business you could take an existing idea and try to improve it.  Michelle Mone was inspired to start her Ultimo lingerie business after an evening strapped into an uncomfortable pushup bra.  Sara Blakely got the idea for Spanx when she was fed up of sweating it out in tights during the summer just so she could fake a flat stomach.  

Perhaps you have a desire to make a difference in the world or to create something beautiful.  Anita Roddick was inspired to start The Body Shop by her mission to stop cruelty to animals in the beauty industry, and The Home Edit have created a business empire and a Netflix show from the desire to have a beautiful and organised home.  

So it’s time to come up with some ideas of your own.  Grab a notebook and brainstorm.  Here are some questions to get you started.

Hopefully you have some ideas to get you started.  We all have so much knowledge that comes naturally or easily to us, so we don’t see it as valuable.  What is ordinary to you may be gold to someone else!  We are very fortunate to live in the internet age where almost anything can be monetised.  You may not realised how the knowledge that you have, even from hobbies, can be turned into businesses.  People want to learn new skills and they are growing more used to looking to learn from people online (particularly now as I write at a time of global pandemic).  There may be people already doing what you want to do, but don’t let that put you off.  There is room for you too.  

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What skills do you have that people would pay you for?

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What do you love to do?

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What do people ask you for help or advice about?

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What would you do every day even if you weren't getting paid?

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What problem would you pay to have fixed?

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What are you an expert at?

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What difference would you like to make in the world?

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What are your hobbies?

Hopefully you have some ideas to get you started.  We all have so much knowledge that comes naturally or easily to us, so we don’t see it as valuable.  What is ordinary to you may be gold to someone else!  We are very fortunate to live in the internet age where almost anything can be monetised.  You may not realised how the knowledge that you have, even from hobbies, can be turned into businesses.  People want to learn new skills and they are growing more used to looking to learn from people online (particularly now as I write at a time of global pandemic).  There may be people already doing what you want to do, but don’t let that put you off.  There is room for you too.  

 

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Why having a website is important.

As a small business owner in 2020, you might wonder whether having a website is important.  There are so many ways to offer your products and services such as Facebook, instagram, Etsy or Ebay.  Often you can use these services for free.  So how can having a website help your business?

A website is the centre of your online presence and should be a key part of your marketing strategy as it establishes you as a credible business.  88% of customers will research products online before making a purchase and so having a website is essential to help them do that.  Your website is always open and available for customers to visit at a convenient time for them.  From your website, your customers can learn about your brand and your products.  If you are a services based business, your website is an opportunity to both sell your services and to increase your “Know, Like and Trust” factor.  You can do this by sharing customer testimonials, and by blogging to share information about you, your company philosophy, and your services.

Selling via a website can save you money.  The cost of setting up a website are much less than the costs involved in setting up a business premises such as rent, utilities, insurance and other operating costs.  A website can help you expand your business beyond your own locality and allows you to reach customers on a national or even international scale.  A website can also provide a great return on investment (ROI) by automating some your processes.  Do you spend a lot of time answering the same questions from potential clients?  Add a FAQ section to your website to answer all the common queries.  You can add a location map and directions to your website to enable customers to find you easily.  If you are a service business, you can outline the steps towards working with you.  All of these things help eliminate potential barriers to making sales.

A website helps you get to know your customers.  You can install Google Analytics and find out exactly how your customers find their way to your website, and exactly what they look at when they get there.  This knowledge can help you make better decisions about where to invest in marketing.  For example, if you know that the majority of your customers are finding you via Pinterest you know it is worth investing your time there.  If you can see that a particular blog post is bringing you a lot of traffic, you can double down on promoting it.  You can make marketing plans based on data, rather than guess work.  Having a website also allows you to install the Facebook pixel.  This is a piece of code that tracks people who visit your website from Facebook, tracks what they do on your website and then allows you to target them with Facebook ads.  If you’ve ever been followed round the internet by a particular pair of shoes, then this is why.

Your website should be the hub of your marketing efforts.  All of your activity on social media should be aimed at driving people to your website so they can buy from you.  Social media gives an amazing opportunity to reach customers from all over the world, but you must remember that your social media pages, likes and followers do not belong to you.  If your business is based only on Instagram then what would happen if your account got hacked or banned?  What would happen if the algorithm changes (again) and your followers can’t see your updates?  Remember that, on average, your followers will only see 10% of your social media updates anyway.  Similarly with Etsy, businesses have had their shops closed with little explanation and no appeal.  Once that shop is gone, all your customer details have gone too and you’re left to start from scratch.

 

The most reliable way to ensure you are reaching your customers is to have a mailing list.  Your website can help with this too.  If you want to build an email list to reach and engage your followers, you need to send them somewhere to convert.  A website is the best place to do this.  You can set up an email opt-in for your customers where they can input their email address to be added to your mailing list, often in exchange for something called a lead magnet.  A lead magnet is usually a small taster of the service you provide such as a how-to guide, or maybe a discount code for a product.  Once they are on your email list, you can speak to your customers directly when you have news or something to sell.  You can see if they have opened your email and whether they have clicked on any links included in the email.  Again, it gives you the data to make better decisions about your business.  

 

Now you are convinced of the benefits that a website can bring to your business, get in touch to start the process of getting your website built.  If you want an email list set up, or Google Analytics or a Facebook pixel installed I can help with that too.  I can either do it for you or teach you to do it yourself via a Power Hour on Zoom.  I understand that it can be a daunting process but my aim is to make it as easy and jargon-free as possible.  

 

Email catherine@businessbrilliant.co.uk to get started today.  

 

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