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How to Come Up With a Foolproof Business Idea in 2024

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If you are considering starting a business but don’t have any idea what kind of business to start, you’re not alone.

One of the most challenging things to come up with is your business idea, so don’t beat yourself up about it.

Instead, do something about it.

Today, I want to give you a few tips on how you can come up with foolproof business ideas. You don’t have to create the next disruptive technology to be a successful entrepreneur.

People start businesses in every sector of the economy, and you’d be surprised at some of the ideas that people turn into businesses! I’ve seen businesses that do everything from poo scooping to letter writing.

So, let’s get into it. Here’s how you come up with your business idea

First Things First: Who Are You?

I know. This sounds like a silly question. But you’d be surprised at how many people don’t really know who they are. I want you to take out a sheet of paper or open a document on your computer, right now because you’re going to do a little self-inventory.

One of my copywriting friends does a thing called an “intake questionnaire” with all of her new clients. The very first question she asks her new clients is this: Who are you?

The answer to that question varies wildly from client to client, but the answers typically look like this:

  • I like to read
  • I love working on my business
  • I enjoy helping people reach their dreams
  • I love going to the beach
  • I enjoy traveling long distances by car
  • I am a cat person
  • I enjoy my time alone
  • I love binge-watching Netflix on the weekend
  • I enjoy Thai food the most
  • I don’t like writing by hand

…and the list continues until the client honestly can’t think of anything else to share.

So, what I want you to do is to stop right here – right now! – and write down as many things as you can about yourself. Write down likes, dislikes, pet peeves, favorite foods, personal things that no one else knows, and anything else that comes to mind.

One important note, though: Whatever you do, don’t short change yourself when creating this list. It shouldn’t be shorter than twenty items. Write for as long as you possibly can.

When you’re done, you’ll be ready for the next step in coming up with an idea for your business.

Next Step: What Means The Most To You?

As you look through your list, you’re going to find that some things you wrote down about yourself stand out more than others. What are those things?

I’d like you to circle them.

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Now, what I want you to do is expand your list to include things that are closely-related to whatever you circled.  

For example, let’s say you circled “I am a cat person.” From there, I want you to write down anything that comes to mind about being a cat person. Your list might look a little like the following:

  • Wet food
  • Dry food
  • Bengal cats
  • American shorthair cats
  • Pet allergies
  • Itchy eyes
  • Cat scratching posts
  • Cat memes
  • Cat videos
  • Black cats
  • Kitty litter
  • Kittens…

…and so on. See what I did? I just wrote down whatever I could think of as it relates to being a cat person. I want you to do the same.

As before, don’t do this in a halfhearted kind of way. Seriously…go for it! And be sure to make a separate list for each item you circled.

Once you’re done with this exercise, you’re ready for the next step.

Final Step: What Problems Would You Solve?

Every successful business on the planet solves a big problem. And if you’re going to come up with a business idea that you love and are passionate about, you’re going to be solving problems, too!

By now, you might have an idea of where I am headed with this exercise, and if you guessed that the next step is to look through your second list and see where there might be problems that you can solve, you guessed correctly!

Ok…so look through that list you just created, and underline each item on the list that sticks out to you as being full of problems. Then, write the problems out to the side of the item.

If you use my list above as an example, you’d come up with the following:

  • Wet food – sometimes has soy and grains in it, which isn’t good for cats.
  • Dry food – sometimes has soy and grains in it, which isn’t good for cats.
  • Bengal cats – can be naughty and need lots of cat-proof room to play indoors.
  • American shorthair cats
  • Cat allergies – difficult for people who love cats. I wish there were a healthy, cat-specific, non-drowsy product to help these people.
  • Itchy eyes
  • Cat scratching posts – They usually fall apart after a while. I wish there were more durable posts sold in retail pet stores and that I didn’t have to do online to find them.
  • Cat memes
  • Cat videos
  • Black cats
  • Kitty litter – even the dust-free versions aren’t that dust-free. Also, litter tracks all over the floor. I wish I could create a better litter or a better litter box.
  • Kittens…

See what I did? I just came up with six foolproof business ideas in less than twenty minutes! WHOO HOO!! And that’s just from one list!

There’s a durable cat scratching post, an all-natural cat allergy remedy, kitty litter, a better litter box, and grain-free cat food in my list of possible businesses.

You should have way more than one list of your own, so go on and see what the problems are for each item that stands out to you. You can write as many problems as you want for each individual item on your list.

Like before, don’t hold back when it comes to writing these down. One or more of these ideas could very well turn into a lucrative business for you!

One Important Note: Your Client’s or Customer’s Ability And Willingness To Pay!

Now that you have come up with a number of foolproof business ideas that you might start, there’s one, really-important factor that you need to consider that can make the difference between a failed idea and a MILLION DOLLAR idea…

That one difference? Your potential client or customer’s willingness or ability to pay you.

Your potential customers/clients have GOT to be aware that their problem is a real problem in their industry/niche. They also have to know beyond all doubt that there IS a solution.

And if they are actively looking for a solution, you’ve found the Holy Grail in business! This is called business “validation.” And the moment that you know past all doubt that people will pay you for what you know, you’ll never struggle as an entrepreneur, ever again.

I promise!

Coming Up With Your Business Idea Doesn’t Have To Be An Impossible Task

Hopefully, this exercise has been useful to you, today. More than anything, I want people who are new to the idea of entrepreneurship to know that they can come up with amazing ideas for their own businesses.

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6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

As long as you have a systematic approach to figuring out what you can create, you’ll never run out of foolproof business ideas. When you’re ready to get started taking your idea to the marketplace, I’d love to assist you with that.

In the meantime, use the approach I just shared with you, over and over again to come up with great business ideas. Bounce your ideas off of others to see if they’d be willing to purchase something like it. Make this the year that you get unstuck in the area of knowing what you want to do as an entrepreneur!

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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