One of the most common questions that our consultants hear is “What type of business should I open?” Many aspiring entrepreneurs have dreams about forming a business that will make them rich or allow them to leave a legacy for future generations. Not only is this wishful thinking counterproductive to the ideation process, but it leads to the creation of businesses that want for customers.
Here’s what we tell these clients: Give up on brainstorming the next multi–million-dollar business idea and instead think about solving a real problem. Starting a business is not about creating something that you think is great; it’s about creating something that your customers think is great. When forming your next business idea, consider:
- What skills do you have that you could provide to a customer?
- Could you provide a service that would save others time?
- What knowledge do you have that you could share as a consultant?
- What connections do you have to suppliers or distributors that would allow you to create your own store?
- Could you meet a need by providing a good or service to others?
When starting a new business, many people take for granted their own personal skills. In reality, something that is common knowledge to you isn’t necessarily common knowledge to everyone. The most successful businesses are often created by entrepreneurs who recognized a problem and provided a solution that other people needed.
As you begin to plan your small business, remember to think about how you can help others. If you need assistance with your business planning, the University of Mary Washington Small Business Development Center is here to help. We provide training webinars and free, confidential business consulting. Fill out a Request for Consulting form or register for a webinar at www.umw.edu/sbdc.