Need a business idea but can’t find one?

When you read about successful entrepreneurs you get the feeling that their business idea struck them like a bolt of lightning.  One day they needed a widget that hadn’t been invented yet and BAM! their business idea was born.

This is definitely not the way it was for me! And if you’re feeling the same way about your big business idea, relax. Try to think of your business idea as a journey rather than an event.

There will always be a journey to  get from where you are now to earning a steady income stream  from your business. Even if your idea did hit you in a flash of inspiration, you’d still need to test it  to make sure it was going to work. Then once you get started, the shape of your business evolves as you learn and develop. So that journey never really ends.

As a mum, you’ll need to add  your family’s development to that journey. The arrival of a new baby will put some (all?) projects on the back-burner and when a child starts school it will free up time and mental space. Running a business as a mum to small children is like the rest of life as a parent: half planning and organisation, half going with the flow. So your big business idea may no longer suit you a few years down the line and it may need to evolve again.

So what do you do? You can only ever start from where you are right now. If you’ve got a few ideas that you’re not sure about, pick the best one and try it. Think of a way you can test it out quickly without spending much money. If you’re selling a product, get a group of family and friends together and hold a party like the old-style Tupperware ones. You’ll soon see if the product grabs them – and you. If it’s a service, find someone who needs it and offer it for free or very cheaply. Even if you’re very wobbly and nervous the first time, you’ll be able to tell whether it’s something you want to take further or not.

While you’re testing your idea, you’ll be making contacts, talking to people and gaining experience. So even if this isn’t the idea you eventually run with, you could find it leads you to another idea you’d never even thought of before.

Instead of getting hung up on finding the big idea, dive in and try an idea you already have. Providing you are only risking a tiny amount of money, of course. Before spending a few thousand pounds on a franchise (or anything else) you need to do a lot of research. You will fail sometimes – that’s also part of the journey – but it’s best to fail fast and early, then move on.

If you’d like to check out some tried-and-tested business ideas, get hold out my book Start a Family Friendly Business (out on 15th September).

Pop back tomorrow and Monday to read about Nicki Cawood’s journey from full-time employee to book-seller to freelance writer. Three very different ways of earning a living that matched where she and her family were at the time.

Photo credit: Whatshername

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