Have you ever wanted to start a business but been stuck on what to do, where to start and how to take step 1? I got you. Ive started a lot of businesses and advised a whole lot more how to grow. It starts with you and the idea, the rest is easy.
Want to start a business this weekend?
Let’s do this and get you from idea to reality with this article on building a business in a short amount of time. Im a serial business builder this is my weekend startup process for going from idea to reality.
Before we do this are you ready to commit to this? are you ready to start a business and put your thoughts to the world wide web? I sure as heck am right here with you. Lets do it.
The key is the idea, only you can come up with this. Have a think and as you read this think about your surroundings, what you like and dislike, and think also a little left field out of your normal comfort zone.
Image source: Emily Rhoads
Here are 6 ways to go about finding this idea👇
Method 1 Search Facebook Groups
Ive trawled group after group looking for inspriation for products. This is a goldmine. People are busy, people voice their opinions, people share frustrations and you can even reach out to these people to ask questions.
You can also look for group members who are looking for help with things that they can not do. This is a huge field and a good example is freelancing social media because people are busy and don’t have the time to manage their social media.
Ive also started my own Facebook groups on topics Im curious about calling them things like “learn at home gym gang” and “learn fruits of the garden” as group names. This is a great way to get extra ideas and build a warm group of people to either help test products or provide feedback and buy your stuff.
It’s that simple
Recommended reading: How to start a freelance digital marketing business.
Method 2 Review top Amazon bestsellers
Ive always been an ecommerce guy from way back. Selling things online has been one of the best teachers for me. I love to trawl through Amazons Best Sellers and Movers and Shakers lists looking for new product ideas.
This works for you if you are for example a fitness person and 8 of the top 20 trending products are gym equipment. You could easily take 2 of these products and start a real niche business selling just the 2 items.
From here you can find the top sellers, their rough sales volume and market sentiment by review counts and comments. Do a bit of Google searching to see whats happening in your local area and if theres a saturation or gap in the market.
Ecommerce business options:
I loved this business so much I moved to China and Indonesia for an extended period to understand more about manufacturing and logistics. To further my Amazon FBA business and ecommerce stores.
I met a handful of cool people all selling different things from all over the world that really opened up my eyes to whats possible. As Im doing for you here now.
People in my groups were selling:
- Nail polish
- Pool Floats, toys
- Gym gear
- Pet toys
- Yoga accessories
- Gardening equipment
- Pregnancy clothing
- and much more
There is no narrow lane for what you can sell online. At the markets in Yiwu China there were football fields on football fields in size of stores selling products of all sizes, shapes and colours. My imagination was limited because asa the tour guide kept telling me “anything is possible”.
Method 3 Searching Different Subreddits
Before learning about marketing, sales and ecommerce I only used Reddit to have heated conversations, and find tips for video games. But I’ll tell you the nuggets are hidden in sub reddits and in open conversations among Reddittors. Its the most underestimated place for product ideas ever.
There is a couple ways to use Reddit.
1 Look for sub Reddits on your niche topic and pick them apart for ideas
2 Go to the DIY (do it yourself) sub Reddit and look for ideas there.
The DIY method might be easier because everyones already showing you how to DIY. You will also find people who don’t have time to DIY and want to hire people to do it for them.
Im the type of person who most of the time would rather pay someone to build me something then spend my weekend physically building something. Im not alone, there are millions of others just like this.
Scroll and look for these comments:
“I WANT THIS.” and “CAN YOU MAKE THIS FOR ME.” and also “I WISH I COULD BUY THIS.”
Thats about as easy to identity an opportunity as it gets. Take that as your motivation to start a business that solves that problem.
Method 4 What Annoys You That You Can Fix
This one appeals massively to me. The immediate problem I thought of when doing this the first time was my polo shirts are sometimes in summer (an Aussie summer 40+ degrees) I get a little sweaty under the armpits, so I decided to get all the polo shirts I needed for my work copied into Bamboo polo shirts. No more sweaty pits and a real nice feeling when wearing the polo shirts.
This methods is best for solving problems that you have with existing things. Think of Uber vs Taxis. Taxis used to be the only option in the transport field and the cab drivers were in my experience, stinky, cocky, loud, messy and often missed the destination.
So Uber was created to make transport on demand easier and its so much nicer.
You have to think about what the annoying things are in your week and what it is that could be improved, what it is thats broken and how could it be improved.
What is the most annoying or inefficient thing you do every day?
If you have that problem, others probably do too. This is worth looking at as a business idea.
Method 5 What Stuff Do You Like Doing
For me, I love my home gym. During COVID I really went after the home gym market creating several DIY home gym setups for dip stations, door racks, stretch stations and different X Bar competitors (bar that you stand on and use resistance bands for tension). That makes me feel amazing.
Related reading: Insights Into My Top Selling products
So what do you really like doing that you think you could do as a business? the sky is the limit and best of all there is no wrong answer.
Combining stuff you love doing could be your next idea.
Method 6 Ask Your Friends
My mates are going to hate me for saying this one, but ask your friends. I’m always asking them for feedback on new businesses and stores that I launch. They may be a bit over it but to be honest some of them work for me and some have since purchased businesses I asked them to help build with me.
All it took was a text or call to a friend to ask them what they thought about an idea.
- Would you buy this product? Yes or no
- Would you subscribe if this was a subscription based product? Yes or no
- Would you be open to the next product (if you know what that might be)? Yes or no
- Would you be interested to start this with me? Yes or no (no hard feelings either way)
Thats the immediate feedback loop that you need from people who are not just yes men or trying to sell you something.
You can even try asking them “if I was going to start a business today, and you know me what would you see me doing?” I got some really interesting ideas from doing this. Some paid off some were a waste of time.
Their answers may surprise you. But you’ll learn a lot about your skills and strengths. Opportunity is everywhere, but sometimes not where you could see it alone.
Extra Sauce: Help A Mate Opportunity
This never worked out for me but has worked for some friends that I was helping them pivot after COVID ruined their industry.
You have to ask 5-7 friends who have money and are open minded, what has been on their to do list for more than 2 weeks. This can be stuff like organisation, scheduling, viewing houses, finding clothing and other things.
It’s a really cool way to look at opportunity and has provided a lot of unique new jobs. People are busy and if your friend has money but not time then you need money and have time. Perfect match.
Pitch your friend the idea of you doing that thing on their to do list and them paying you. It might lead to your first customer.
There’s your first customer.
Ok, so now you have some ideas and you should have a short list of things that you think you can do.
Next you need to do a little research:
• Go and find the number of people in the market
• Go find how much each customer is worth at your price points
• Go calculate the $ of the whole market
• Go validate the idea
I wrote a blog post here for side hustle startups check it out.
How we make this idea a reality.
1) Focus on what works and cut the loser
Ive wasted a lot of time, energy & money on people and ideas that didnt work out.
How you can avoid my mistakes:
- Give yourself a time limit for success
- Give yourself a budget you can not exceed
- Give yourself a sales target to reach before moving on
This gives you actual numbers that signal if you are wasting time or you are onto something that has potential. Id recommend a small advertising budget to help you in the start up phase like $500 just to help kick start the momentum.
As you notice potential you can use more ad channels and increase ad budgets but this at least gives you a chance. You only want to focus on winners, you want to be a winner.
2) Do more of what works
If my ideas work and my growth tactics work then I will rinse and repeat those tactics all day long. If they cost me ad spend Im happy to pay to play, but I’ll be looking at ways to refine the process and lower my outgoing expenses.
Recommended reading: Mechanics of a Dropship store
I will try new ideas and new methods but if things work you need to know how to systemise them for repeatable use. This helps your new idea scale.
What I like doing is making new user/customer acquisition as simplified as possible. Then sell them on the backend with emails and upgrade bundles. Works a charm.
3) Be Like a Dog with a Bone
If you believe in your idea, go all in. Burn the boats so to speak and be hustling that business all day every day. Start ups work when founders go next level. Every-time I build a dropshipping store its a dog fight but it gets easier.
You will hit patches of uncertainty but just keep going. Live your dream.
It doesn’t matter if you have a growing number of competitors just outsmart them. Do what works, watch their moves and zig when they all zag. Take it serious but use your unique selling position to get in front of the customers. No one brings more passion than a founder.
Things don’t happen overnight.
4) Surround yourself with smart operators
As the founder the one with the idea you have a large battery for your business. You will grind 14 hour days and not break a sweat. Not everyone will give you that energy. Hiring a bunch of 9-4pm workers is not the best way but its essential at some point.
Whats helped me overcome the odds is by aligning with operators and those other weirdos out there that love to hustle. They love to problem solve and fix broken things. They love a good system and seeing momentum in growth charts.
I look for the person not the role when hiring for my startups. I fully believe this and I also look at the hustle each person brings to the table. If They could give me a go then Im interested in hiring them. I want to work with positive energy.
Hire smart, fire fast and encourage people to be their best self. As the leader people around you will feed off your energy, you make them great by being present and driving the ship.
I still take part in the hiring and firing of people in my businesses and I think its part why we are so successful.
I hope this helps you find that idea, reach for it and go all in. Build that business that you have always wanted and make a dream a reality.
That’s a wrap!