Member Article

Idea generation from NBSL

As an Enterprise Agency we have lots of people coming to see us who say they want to be self-employed and work for themselves, and when we ask them what they want to do, they don’t know and ask if we can suggest anything!

We have a fair idea what the most profitable businesses are with regard to what the margins might be, but it’s no good opening a business in a sector that you are not interested in as it will not succeed. The margins on sandwiches are good, but we all know good and bad sandwich shops and which ones have succeeded and which ones have closed after a few months. We can guarantee in most cases that the successful businesses are run by people who love what they are doing and therefore have the passion and the drive to make their business succeed.

So if you want to set up in business and don’t know what to do, how do you come up with some ideas? The answers to a few simple questions may inspire you:

- What are you doing now?

Should you start a business doing the same ‘job’ as you are doing now, but working for yourself rather than for an employer? Depending on the business idea this might be possible with a little bit of help and a lot of hard work, as often employees realise they are virtually running the business on behalf of the owner and therefore might as well be doing it for themselves.

- What are you good at?

Thinking about what you are good at might just give you an idea as to how you could use those skills to develop them into a business. This might not be related to the job you are doing now. Skills are transferrable, but think about what comes easily to you, and what you enjoy doing and then you might be able to develop those skills into a business proposal.

- What are you qualified to do?

Some people have qualifications that have no bearing on what they are currently doing, but may help them make a decision as to what they could offer in terms of a business. Did you study film at university but now work in logistics? This may sound mad but it might be possible to develop your previous qualifications into a business if that’s what you really want to do.

- What would you like to do?

Some people have always had a hankering to set up a certain type of business, but think they can’t because it’s too stupid, or other people have told them it’s too stupid. Some of the greatest businesses have been built on the back of ‘stupid’ ideas, don’t dismiss the idea, develop it and take business advice to help you see where it goes and whether it is viable. There are no stupid ideas, they are all just ideas.

- Do you have any hobbies that could be developed into a business?

This is a great way to set up a business. If it’s your hobby, it is bound to be something you really enjoy doing. Photography, painting, cake baking, walking in the country and wood working are example of some of the hobbies that have been developed into full time businesses. So what is it that you do in your spare time and could it be scaled up into a working business?

- What hours do you want to work?

This may impact on what type of business you might want to set up, as if you can only dedicate certain hours to a business then this may influence what type of business you could and would want to set-up. It is important to bear in mind the kind of lifestyle that you want before committing to a business idea that will involve you 24/7.

- Where do you want to be based?

Location may be really important to what you do and where you do it. Ask yourself where you are prepared to set up your business and whether this means there are any restrictions on the type of business that you could set up. The area where you set up your business may directly influence your type of business and vice versa.

- What goods and services do you always struggle to get?

The importance of market research is really critical in developing your ideas. What goods and services does a community struggle to find on a regular basis and can you develop an idea from that opportunity? This is sometimes more relevant in rural areas where services and certain goods have become very hard to find. Can you develop a sustainable business on the back of this gap?


If you are going to be successful in business then it is really important that you enjoy what you are doing, so start with this in mind. This coupled with a need for the product or service, or an ability to deliver the product or service in an innovative manner, will potentially set you on the road to success.

For more information and support to start or grow your business, contact NBSL NOW on 01670 813322 or go to

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Phil Langton .

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