I Want to Start a Business But Have No Ideas: A Beginner’s Guide

i want to start a business but have no ideas

Omar Founder of OJ Digital Solutions

Table of Contents

If you’re asking yourself, “I want to start a business but have no ideas,” you might have been thinking about creating a new company for some time now. You just don’t know where or how to begin.

I can help you.

I’ve put together this beginner’s guide of business ideas to help you overcome the fear and confusion of establishing your own business.

In this article, you’ll discover how to develop new business ideas.

Let’s get started!

I Have No Idea What to Do

i want to start a business but have no ideas

The answer here is pretty straightforward: find an idea.

The question is: how?

Here are some of the things that you can do:

Start with Yourself

You will be the business owner, so it makes sense to begin your search with yourself. Here are some things you can reflect on.

Think About What You Like

Think about the things you enjoy doing.

Do you enjoy calligraphy? Knitting or crocheting? Talking to people? Freelance writing? Teaching? Shopping?

You might be surprised that you can turn almost any hobby into a potential business idea. For example, if you knit or crochet, you can sell your creations on online marketplaces like Amazon or Etsy.

Why is it good to consider what you like when deciding on a small business?

According to Susan Ward, a small business consultant, it’s essential to enjoy what you’re doing in business since you’ll probably be doing it for a long time. You don’t have to love it; you just need enough desire to keep doing it for the foreseeable future.

Here are some hobbies that you can turn into a small business:

  • Handcrafting jewelry
  • Making scented candles
  • Making soap from natural ingredients
  • Creating different artwork (painting, drawing, digital art, etc.)
  • Photography
  • Baking
  • Cooking

Do an Inventory of Your Skills

Sometimes, passion isn’t enough to start a business. In this case, consider your knowledge and skills. What are you good at doing?

You can also use your experiences to come up with new business ideas. For example, if you’ve worked in the food industry for years and know how to cook, becoming a food truck owner may be a good idea.

If you know how to cook healthy food, you can start a business that offers an online course geared toward people clean-living enthusiasts who want to learn how to cook healthy and nutritious food.

If you’re a freelance writer, you can set up a freelance writing website and offer your services to other small businesses.

You can consider offering virtual assistant services if you have project management skills. A virtual assistant is someone who does tasks that many business owners don’t have time to do. You can also set up a website that matches a small business with a virtual assistant.

Why should you do an inventory of your skills?

Jason Zook of Wandering Aimfully has a pretty good answer. He said you can find good business ideas “in a curious place between something you’re passionate about, something you know something about, and something you’re willing to put effort into.”

Identify Your Purpose For Starting a Business

Author and leadership expert Simon Sinek said that people behind inspiring and successful businesses start with their “why.” You should, too.

Why do you want to start a business?

Is it because you want to have enough money to live comfortably? Do you want to be your own boss? Are you starting a business to provide other people with employment opportunities?

Regardless of your reasons, your purpose for starting your own business should be crystal clear. Otherwise, you might end up going in circles.

Explore Business Ideas That Might Work for You

Explore Business Ideas That Might Work for You

If you haven’t come up with a definite business idea even after self-reflection, don’t fret! Consider expanding your search for good business ideas.

Here are some ways to do so:

Think About Common Problems

Shayna Waltower of Business News Daily says that good business ideas solve problems for others. Consider her description to discover a new idea that can earn money for you.

Start with yourself (again).

What problems have you encountered? Did you recently try looking for a specific product only to find out that no business was offering it?

You can also ask family members and friends the same questions. There’s a big possibility that other people have run into the same problems that you have.

Use these pain points to generate a business idea that can improve your life and the lives of others.

Familiarize Yourself with Different Niches

Another way to establish a new business startup is by studying different niches. Doing so will give you an idea of which options suit you.

If you don’t know where to start, consider picking a niche or two to explore. Let’s say the beauty niche got your attention.

Do further research. You can ask yourself these questions.

  • What beauty products do online businesses already sell?
  • What beauty products interest most paying customers?
  • Are there any gaps that I can use to my advantage?

Why is having a niche so important? Because trying to please everyone is extremely difficult. In trying to please everyone, you could end up pleasing no one.

Let’s say you’re trying to sell sustainable makeup to everyone and have a generic marketing strategy. There’s a risk that no one would relate to what your ads are trying to say.

The alternative is to target a specific group, such as environmentally conscious women who like using sustainable makeup. Create a marketing strategy that reinforces the idea that these women can stay beautiful while protecting the environment at the same time.

Targeting a specific customer base is more likely to result in sales because your advertising shows that your product meets your customers’ unique needs.

Know Which New Businesses are Trending

Browsing through market trend reports can be daunting, especially if you’re not well-versed in marketing. However, these reports can help you get new business ideas that might work in the long run.

According to Mike Nesselbeck, these consulting firms can get you started on your research:

These tools can help you conduct a competitive analysis should you finally pick an idea to get started.

Come Up With One Business Idea at a Time

According to Mick de Bouer of The Strive, coming up with one idea every day is an excellent way to enhance creativity. It’s an effective way to stimulate brain activity and help foster the perfect idea for your first business.

This Steven Johnson further emphasizes this step in his TED talk. He shares a story about Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. He implied Darwin had the critical ideas leading to his theory long before his eureka moment.

Johnson says the same thing happened when GPS was born. At first, the founders were just toying with the idea of using physical locations to know where the satellite is until someone else pointed out the possibility of doing it the other way around.

He concludes that it will keep happening to many businesses because that’s how good ideas come to life. You have small, everyday hunches; then you find out one day how they come together to become a successful business.

Learn from Other People

Learn from Other People

Creative thinking does not end with you. Most of the time, you’ll need to hear what potential customers and other entrepreneurs think about your business idea.

Here are the ways you can learn from others before starting a business.

Read Books

It doesn’t matter if it’s an e-book or a printed copy. Make sure it’s non-fiction, and you can learn about starting a business from it.

There’s a strong correlation between reading books and becoming a successful business owner. For instance, Sales & Marketing Executives International states that people who read seven or more books about businesses per year earn over twice more than those who read less.

Reading is also known to boost brain activity, so if you don’t know how to start a business, reading might help you develop new ideas. Many entrepreneurs admit that they read books during their free time.

However, choose how much information you take in. Don’t spend too much time reading, or you might be unable to move forward.

Talk to People

No, you won’t be doing this to find customers. At least not yet. Try to have meaningful conversations with other people to help you think of new ideas.

Start with people you know, like family, friends, and colleagues. Talk to people you trust— people who know about you and the business you want to start. You can consider the people you talk to as business mentors.

These people can give some sound advice about more than just starting a business. They may even be able to guide you throughout your entrepreneurial journey. Listen to what these people say and learn from them.

How to Start a Business with No Idea: Next Steps

If you haven’t come up with a good business idea despite doing some research, don’t worry! It isn’t the time for self-doubt.

While self-doubt is common among first-time entrepreneurs, it won’t help you in any way. Continue your research even if it feels like a hopeless and daunting task.

Here are other things that you can do.

Know Your Target Market

Each niche has specific customers.

You may already have several business ideas in your head; the details just aren’t clear yet, so you haven’t decided which idea to start. That’s okay.

The next time you talk to people, think of them as potential customers. What needs do they have in common? How much are they willing to spend on these particular needs?

Their answers can help you decide which of your ideas is best for starting a business.

Jason Zook recommends that you have real conversations. In other words, arrange local meetups. You can also attend local events to expand your network.

Determine Your Financial Goals

Setting financial goals can influence the kind of business you will set up. For example, if your goal is making money without much capital, you might consider a home business that utilizes your existing skills or resources.

If you have a bigger goal and wouldn’t mind spending on some start-up costs, you can start a business that might not make money today but will do so in the long run. Starting a business that generates long-term passive income is always a good idea because the business does the work for you.

Remember to start with small, easily attainable goals. Many small businesses have achieved long-term success this way. These “baby steps” should lead to an overall financial goal, whatever that may be.

A financial goal backed up by sound financial projections is also helpful in developing a business plan that will allow your business to thrive for the foreseeable future.

Identify Your Business Model

You might be wondering how determining a business model can help you generate new business ideas. After all, a business model is a plan to generate income.

Thinking about marketing or weighing the pros and cons of being an LLC or a sole proprietorship can help you decide which idea to pursue.

For example, if you want to be on your own, you’d prefer a small online business that you can manage by yourself. Decide on the model that best fits your business goals.

How to Be an Entrepreneur Without an Idea: More Tips

If you still don’t have any ideas, be patient.

Most entrepreneurs do not get their big break on the first try, and that’s okay. As the saying goes, failure doesn’t mean it’s over. It’s an opportunity to try again!

How to Be an Entrepreneur Without an Idea

Here are some more tips to help you come up with new business ideas:

Start Small

Give small business ideas a go. It’s okay to start from the bottom and work your way up. Small is how many of today’s largest biggest businesses began, anyway.

Apple began with only Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak working in Jobs’s garage. Jeff Bezos started Amazon as a small company selling books.

Fast forward to 2022, and Apple and Amazon are now two of the most well-known companies in the world.

The beauty of starting small is that you avoid dealing with expensive overhead costs in the beginning. You can focus on building your business and making money instead of securing funds from venture capitalists.

There are other benefits to starting small.

  • You won’t need much time and energy.
  • You avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  • You feel more motivated and confident when you achieve small goals.
  • You’ll find it easier to pivot.

Care About Your Customers and Your Own Business

Successful entrepreneurs strive to improve not only their lives but also the lives of others. If treating your customers with care isn’t essential to you, forget about starting a business venture.

When you care about your customers, you’re more likely to provide them with what they need.

Customers who are satisfied with your business are much more likely to give you good reviews and free referrals, which can enhance your reputation and boost your sales.

In addition, it is way cheaper to keep an existing customer to find a new one. Therefore, caring for your customers can help lower your marketing expenditures. Whether you’re looking for ideas for your first or next venture, you should always prioritize your customers.

If you care about your own business, don’t give up. Fight through the tough times and remember the importance of what you’re doing.

Don’t Rush

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of businesses fail during their first year. After five years, almost half of them are closed.

Why?

Misreading the market, hiring the wrong people, and challenges are some of the most common reasons startups fail. Remember that these things can happen to you too.

There’s no need to rush because there’s no such thing as overnight success. Even the most successful entrepreneurs today took the time to grow their businesses.

Here are some reasons to work towards your business goals slowly but steadily.

  • You’re bound to make smarter decisions.
  • You’ll have better overall performance.
  • You’ll feel more confident.
  • You’ll avoid burnout.
  • You’ll have a greater appreciation of the rewards.

Don’t fret if you still don’t have a business idea. Take your time, and use it wisely. Don’t drown yourself trying to come up with good ideas—it will only delay your progress.

Some reasons to work towards your business goals slowly but steadily

Final Thoughts

Starting a business when you don’t have any ideas is challenging but not impossible. Beginners like yourself can still come up with a big idea. You just have to keep working at it and not give up.

Don’t be afraid to try the techniques I discussed in this article. You might also want to explore our list of ecommerce businesses to get started.

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