The next step is to use everything you discovered about yourself in the previous step to brainstorm possible business niches that are aligned with the core of who you are as a person. Then we’ll look at some of the most popular business models, and lastly we’ll talk about what type of location and working environment will work best for you and your selected niche/business model combination(s).
As you work through the next few steps, don’t worry about making a final decision just yet. Don’t rule anything out – just get your creative juices flowing. No idea is too big, too small, too silly, or too lofty. Go ahead and take note of everything that piques your interest. We’ll narrow it down later.
Brainstorming Your Business Niche
Use your results from Step 6 as keywords and search Google with those keywords, as well as any related variations. See what else Google can suggest to you – both in its search results, and through its Autosuggest feature.
Be sure to further explore any results that interest you, so you get a good feel for:
- What products and services are out there already?
- How many similar businesses there are in the first few pages of search results?
- Are people selling in this niche? Or do you see mostly free info and hobby sites?
- Who are the top 5 or 10 competitors in this niche?
- How many similar products are being sold on Amazon and eBay?
- What categories are the products listed under on Amazon and eBay?
- eBay is particularly handy for quick product research: Not only can you see if there’s a demand, you can also check the displayed fields to see:
- Typical prices objects are commanding
- Whether or not there are any sales and high interest (number of bids)
- What’s been covered in this niche area – and what hasn’t?
The “what hasn’t” is often a big clue to find potential gaps that you can lucratively fill. Just be sure to do further research on that one specific topic to make sure the reason it hasn’t been filled already isn’t simply because there is no demand for it.
In some cases, you’ll search on a term or phrase that interests you and find that there are a daunting number of results (like over a million). Normally this would be far too great a number of possible competitors – but notice also that the two top-ranking sites in the example below are eBay and Etsy (Etsy is the online version of “the world’s handmade marketplace”), neither of which are really a direct competitor for you. They’re actually excellent partners!
Also consider that eBay and Etsy sell wares from thousands of different vendors, and typically get every single product in their database indexed by the search engines – meaning that the majority of those one million results could be individual product pages on eBay and Etsy, and not actual competing businesses.
Don’t worry about going too in-depth with your research here; we’re primarily just trying to see if there’s a market for the main product or service you want to offer, as well as whether there are other supplemental products and services that may interest you, or even pull you away from your initial idea entirely. We’ll be tightening things up and delving further into the intricacies of supply and demand as well as product/service selection in Part 2 of this module.
Starting A Business 1-2-3
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