This is a guest post written by Rob Place, a small-business coach, trainer, and speaker.
Thinking of starting your solo business? Don’t know where to get started? Most people just conceive of the business by thinking of the most tried and tested idea. So someone with web design skills will envision a web design freelance business, someone with marketing skills will think of starting a marketing consulting business, and someone with bookkeeping skills will consider a freelance bookkeeping business. Right where all the competition is.
These businesses struggle right off the bat because they are imitating everyone else. Rather than just doing what everyone else does, start developing your business by thinking outside the box.
Think of yourself a Saturday. In the morning you’re dressed in your gym clothes: shorts, t-shirt, sneakers, and a baseball cap. In the afternoon, you’re wearing street clothes: jeans, a button down, and shoes. In the evening, you have your going-out clothes on.
The outfits look typical. In the gym, on the street, and out Saturday night, I look like everyone else. That’s O.K. in terms of dressing. But if you think of each outfit as a business idea, you could say I’m conforming to the accepted assembly of shirts, pants, and shoes. You could say I’m boring, even unoriginal.
Looking at the Three Elements of Business Conception
To complete an original idea conception, think of three things: what’s your skill, who will you sell to, and how will you deliver your skill?
The skill is what you would say you were if a four year old asked you what you did. Here at Solventurer, we deal with knowledge -based businesses, like writing, software programming, design, web design, small business, accounting, marketing, human resources, public relations, tutoring, etc. So you would say, “I’m a copywriter”, “I’m a software designer”, “I’m a small business expert, etc”.
Your spin is how your service might be different. It could be that it caters to a certain segment. It might be that it’s highly unique. So these would sound like, “for start-ups”, “for young families”, or “that are
Lastly, the service delivery is how you will deliver it: consulting, coaching, training, or freelancing.
Examples of each are shown below:
Search engine optimization
Let’s put a few of these together and see.
“Copywriting for right brained people via freelancing.” O.K., so that might be writing articles for creative bloggers. How about copywriting coaching for right-brained people?
“Software programming for startups via consulting.” So you will be solving problems for start-up companies in need of software creation. But changing the delivery to training tech startups could be more unique and lucrative.
Last one: “graphic design for e-books via coaching.” Rather than designing e-books for others, you’ll empower others to do it.
A Better Way of Idea Conception
Start by using 12 index cards. For the first four, write four versions of your skill. If you are known as a marketing person, be more specific to get four different kinds, i.e. public relations, internet marketing, direct marketing, etc. On the second four, write four possible customer groups that you enjoy serving. And on the last four, you don’t even have to think—just write down freelancing, consulting, training, and coaching.
Move the cards around. Without thinking too much, see what unique combination of skill-customer-delivery you get and write a few combinations down (i.e. “training facebook development for established bloggers”). This should give you a good idea conception.
Once you are finished with idea conception, you can begin a basic feasibility study to see if the idea meshes with your capabilities.