How to come up with a successful business idea

Want to start a business, but have no idea what? Here's how one mum came up with a successful business and how you can too.

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Want to start a business, but have no idea what? Here’s how one mum came up with a successful business – and how you can too.

So many of us have been there...we’re totally convinced we want to start our own business, if only we could come up with a good business idea! The ‘idea’ stage of a business can be one of the most challenging, so we thought we’d speak to successful entrepreneur Sharon Melamed about how she came up with the idea for her two award-winning businesses, Matchboard and FindaConsultant.

Here’s what she told us:

Look for a pain point 

Sharon says that the first place to start when trying to think of a business idea is to see whether it solves a particular problem or pain point. She says that:

‘If you, or someone else, has said ‘hmmm, if only there was…’ [in reference to your business idea], then there’s a high chance there’s a need for that particular business.’

Sharon used this thinking when coming up with her business:

‘I said to myself ‘if only there was a smarter, faster way to Google your perfect match supplier, instead of wading through page after page of search results.’ The problem, as I saw it, was search engine blues, so I set about developing a free online platform where you can enter your needs for a business service, and presto, you get connected with suppliers who meet those needs.’

Let the dust settle 

After you think you’ve identified a pain point, Sharon says that you should always ‘let the dust settle’ before you do anything. But what does this mean?

‘The litmus test for whether you’re really passionate about an idea is to wait and see whether you still think it’s any good 2 days after you’ve come up with it. You have to effectively ‘let the dust settle’ on your idea before you start pursuing it.’

But why is this? Sharon says:

‘It’s amazing how you can feel wildly passionate about an idea one day, and then forget it the next - usually this means it wasn’t such a great idea after all!’

Be honest with yourself 

And if you’re still passionate about it 2 days later? Sharon says that although optimism is important, it’s equally important to be honest with yourself about your idea’s merit, and also your capability. But how do you do this?

‘Validation is really important in the business idea stage. Ask people what they think of your idea - and don’t just ask your friends, as they may sugar-coat their response to make you feel good.’

‘Ask people who are going to be your potential customer what they think, and make sure you listen carefully and don’t just hear what you want to hear.’

And the final step? Sharon says that you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the skills to build your business:

‘Be brutally honest with yourself, do you have the skills to execute this business? If not, you may need to find a co-founder to complement your skills.’


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Recommended Reading: 4 ways to a better work life balance

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