Shifting your business from planning to doing
The new year brings the promise of clean slates and everything that hope and a year of new days stretching out ahead can bring. At this time, many people I know are seriously thinking about their lives, their future and their dream business.
For those folks who don't have a vocational compass driving them into a specific business, there are several ways to look for business inspiration. A good place to start is to focus on what you are good at and what you are excited by.
Writing a list or mind-mapping out a jumble of things that are rolling around in your head is a perfect starting point. Just blurt out words. Keep it very loose. Just get down on paper all of the thoughts and feelings you want to connect with ideas for your new venture. This is a highly unscientific process, but one that lets you creatively explore the beginnings of a commercial idea. There is plenty of time to apply rational logic later.
Most likely, you will see a pattern emerge regarding the type of venture you want to undertake. You could be a products person, a personal services person or a knowledge person, all of which can create a new business opportunity.
If a clear opportunity is emerging from this process, then start to refine. For example, if you've written down 'cake making and decorating', 'markets', 'kids', 'helping people', 'free time', 'creativity', 'happy' and 'fun', then a number of start-up ideas could arise from that mix. A market stall for cakes, kids party catering or organising, teaching kids how to bake, teaching mums how to decorate cakes, blogging about cakes and kids… the list goes on.
You can play with this process and start to develop that famous entrepreneur's intuition. Be quite ruthless about discarding ideas when they don't feel right, until you get a feeling for the one that you want to dig deeper into.
Of course, you can also use the internet to get an idea for emerging market trends. A quick spin around twitter and blogs tells me that personal service businesses are still on the rise. There are also opportunities in home-based aged care and niche food continues to boom.
Whatever your business direction, the key things are actually starting, being fully informed and being clear about your risks and motivation. If it all seems overwhelming, then look for just one thing you can do to move yourself one step towards your goal.
Dr Polly McGee has worked as a digital strategist and business consultant, freelance writer in entrepreneurship and commercialisation and been published in Start-up Smart. She is regularly featured as an expert on Startups and women in entrepreneurship.Polly remains a keen observer of the business and startup environment in Tasmania.