A number of the people in my audience have mentioned that they desire to start their own/side businesses. However, they have no idea how to identify a business idea, let alone start the business. By God’s grace, I have used the many training programs I have received plus my own experiences to help hundreds of businesses grow. It is my goal to help you as well, if this is your need. I encourage you to follow the weekly content of this blog and apply what is applicable to you. If this is not for you, then please share it to others who need it.
First things first, a business idea is any concept that has the potential to make money. For instance, corporate training, coaching, event space and books are currently making me money. They all started as business ideas. Let me share a few below:
How I created Startup 101
In 2015, I was very green at running a business. I had so many questions about bookkeeping, business structure, etc. Interestingly, others who had seen me quit my job to focus on my own business were coming to me with similar questions. Therefore, I decided to put together an event to help women (including me) start and grow our own businesses.
I wanted the content to be very practical so participants could easily apply them. So I spoke to 2 of my business mentors to facilitate and a friend recommended another gentleman. I named the event Startup 101. When 82 participants turned up on the day, I knew we were on to something! Since then, we have conducted annual Startup 101 events, sometimes twice a year. As of the time of writing this, over 300 new business leaders have been trained through this product alone.
How I created a book and a course on networking
A friend once called me a ‘networking guru’ because I was always connecting and getting to know many people. I took this for granted until I realised some students and startups were not realising the potential in networking. So after my YALI training at GIMPA, I decided to do a free training on Networking Skills as my community service. It was a success.
Following that, I began speaking more on networking whenever I had opportunities to speak to students and startups. Then one day I thought, ‘why not write a book on networking for students and startups?’. I did and sold over 1000 copies mainly through speaking engagements.
It didn’t end there. I was once invited to speak on networking to a medical group and a university. Both were out of town and I was unable to travel. So I made videos for them and they were grateful. And then I thought, ‘why not create an online course on networking?’. This idea gave birth to the Networking Made Easy Online Course which made me some good $$$.
I hope you can deduce from my stories above that business ideas are really not that complicated to come by. Of course, there is a lot of behind the scenes work and that’s a story for another day. Now, let me share 3 basic ways to identify a business idea, find a:
*need and meet it.
For instance, one of my mentees needed consistent supply of sachet water while he was on campus. He realised that others in his room had the same need and so he started buying enough to sell some to his room mates. Then he started selling to his floor mates and eventually to his entire block. He said in those days, he used to make 500ghs (over $100 then) profit per week. All he did was use his creativity to meet a need and in the process made money.
*problem and solve it.
While on a business school campus, one of my mentors noticed that her mates had a problem. They were super busy executives who did not have time to go searching for textbooks for their course work. She got the textbook list and took it upon herself to supply books to her busy mates. This made her very good income while she was on campus for two years. What she did was find a solution to a pressing problem in her environment. And by the way, this was a side gig for her.
*desire and quench it.
A young lady knew how to make delicious pies. Her roommate on campus had a stove and so she made a few for just the two of them. The aroma of course brought other people to ask for some. Eventually, the two ladies turned this into a business on campus. They made delicious hot pies every morning for students and made good money. Not only that, they learnt important business skills.
When I met her, she was selling already prepared breakfast at vantage points in Kumasi. At the time she had over 20 employees serving under her. Recently when I spoke to her, she had opened an eatery in Accra. Note: the pies were not a need, the students could all have survived without them. However because it was available and they desired it, this business idea has now turned into an eatery. I really hope you are following me and getting your own ideas as you read.
Now ask yourself these:
*What do I need? Do other people need it too? Is it readily available? Is there room for improvement?
*Which problems do I have? Do other people have it too? Is there a solution already? Is there room for improvement?
*What do I desire? Do others have this desire too? Is it readily available? Is there room for improvement?
Also, note the following:
*It may not be your own need, problem or desire, but the solution can come from you.
*You don’t have to make the product yourself. Once you identify the need, problem or desire, use your creativity to bring the solution to the people.
*In order to identify needs, problems or desires, pay attention to happenings around you.
May I just add: please don’t go into a business just because your friend, sister, rival, etc is in. Or everyone says it’s the hot cake business at the moment. Do your research. Look for needs to meet, problems to solve or desires to quench.
If this content has been of value to you, please join me here next week so I can share more steps you can take after these. Until then, apply what you can fabulously!
PS: Do you need help to plan, execute and achieve your business goals? I have created Group Coaching For Startups to help you do just that. Over 40 women have benefited from this program already. Currently, I am recruiting the 5th Cohort which starts in the first week of April. If this is for you, read and sign up here: Group Coaching For Startups.
Photo by: Vera Obeng Photography