Can you help me determine what business to start?

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Answered by: William, An Expert in the Ideas for Home Business Category
Can you help me determine what business to start?

Many people considering an entrepreneurial career wrestle with what kind of business to start. The lucky ones have something in mind - perhaps something they've always gravitated to. For them, it becomes a process of taking the steps to start the business. Most everyone else faces the dilemma of trying to determine what kind of business suits them and their goals.

There's a natural tendency for people to choose a business that parallels what they currently do in their career. That can be a fine choice if you enjoy what you are doing; but, what if you are burned out in your job? It does no good to start a business in an area which holds no appeal. Other people will choose a business opportunity simply because they heard one can make a lot of money at it. There's logic to that, of course, but those businesses tend to be short lived because the owners really don't rally behind them. There's more to running a business than just profits. Then, there are those who choose a business based on something they enjoy. That can be a very good foundation, but it also has to be something that the marketplace wants - something that will pay the bills.

In truth, examining several areas of your background for clues regarding the type of business to start is the best approach. The right business is not only a consideration of what you can do, but also what you enjoy doing, and what motivates you to serve the marketplace.

With that in mind, grab a sheet of paper and a pencil, and divide the page into fourths. In the upper left-hand corner, write the following question, "What have I done in the past?" In the bottom left, put, "What am I good at doing?" In the upper right, place the question, "What do I enjoy doing?" Finally, in the lower right, write, "What do I feel compelled to do?"

Now, make lists of answers for each of those four areas. Brainstorm and come up with at least a half-dozen responses for each quadrant. The more items you have in each, the better this exercise will work.

Effectively, this creates two lines of inquiry about your background and the assets you bring to a potential business opportunity. On the left side, you have your skills and history. These are things you know you can offer. On the right side are your interests and passions; those are things that drive and motivate you. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you necessarily want to - and, if you don't, your customers will pick up on that! As well, just because something motivates you doesn't mean you can effectively offer it.

The trick is in finding the synergies among each of the areas. With that in mind, take a look at all four areas - do you see any overlaps?

Are there things you've done in the past, that you are also good at doing, and that jazz you? Sometimes the overlaps are obvious. In other cases, the overlaps are more subtle and some reading between the lines is in order.

If you have trouble seeing any commonalities, ask a trusted friend or relative to look over your shoulder. Sometimes, others can see what we can't because they are not so close to the situation. Their objective eye may be helpful in uncovering themes that you can't see yourself.

However, when you find a theme that seems to span all four lines of questioning, you have a very good basis for what business to start! You have uncovered something which is rooted both in your ability to offer it along with the desire to make it available to your potential customers. Stop and ponder how you can turn that powerful set of synergies into the business you've been wanting.

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