During my times within executive coaching I have some reoccurring questions I thought I would provide a FAQ :
Q: I’ve now been out of steady work for over two years. A few of my friends and family keep telling me to start my own business. Frankly, I don’t know the first thing about what I would do. I guess I’m clueless when it comes to figuring out the kind of business I could start up that would actually make money.
My parents are helping me financially and they’ve said they could give me a small upfront investment, if I come up with an idea of what I’d like to do. How do I hatch a good idea for a small business?
A: After hard economic times set in, many people are forced to consider how they might make money to get by. The first step you might take is listing all your talents and skills. What do you know how to do and do well?
Secondly, consider the area where you live. Look around you. In the wintertime, is your neighborhood covered with snow and people who are often unable to get out? If so, think of doing snow removal by buying a snow-blower, grocery-shopping and drop-off, and pick-up and delivery of their medications.
If you live in a year-round warm climate, maybe you could mow lawns, trim bushes, and apply fertilizer to people’s yards, paint their homes, or pressure-wash homes and sidewalks. In terms of your skills, maybe you love having a clean house and could market personal cleaning services to people who work or who just don’t enjoy doing their own cleaning.
Q: That makes sense. I was getting hung up on the extra education or training I would need to get started. But you’re saying to begin where I am with the skills that I already have, right?
A: Yes. And you can also ponder all the things you love to do.
Maybe you truly enjoy cooking. You could offer to cook dinners a few nights a week for your working neighbors. Develop a listing of ten meals you love to cook, figure out the costs to make them for a family of four, and add in another 50 or 100 percent of those costs to determine what you would charge. Adjust the fee up or down as you see fit.
Answer some questions about your community. What kind of service is missing? What do people living here need to have done? Is the next best thing I heard about in the national news happening here? Your responses to these questions might very well help you discover a niche you could fill by starting a small business.
Having confidence in what you do will also help tremendously when starting your own business. Executive coaching teaches that everybody has something they do well, so tune in to your own qualities to determine how you can capitalize on them by providing needed services.