Home Articles Three steps to finding a million-dollar business idea. But, that’s just the...

Three steps to finding a million-dollar business idea. But, that’s just the start


Just like a farmer needs healthy seeds before he can start a farm, an entrepreneur too needs a healthy business idea before he can start his business. It is the genesis of everything.

How do you find that idea? Well, here are three fool-proof steps that I know work.

What are the three steps to finding a viable business idea?

Step 1: Find your niche
What is your niche?

Your niche is not a business idea; it is the area you would like to get involved in. The principle here is simple – if you are going to spend all this time and effort building a business, build it doing something you actually enjoy. After all, that’s what this is all about, right?

Step 2: Find the unsolved problems in your niche
Now that you have identified your niche, start looking around for problems worth solving in that niche. Find people who are experts in the niche and join their newsletters. Go to their meetings and listen to what they talk about.

Start looking for things that people complain about, unsolved problems. Start talking to people about the issues, and ask lots of questions. Try to come up with 3 or 4 different potential problems you could solve. And if you’re still struggling…

People are actually giving ideas away! Why? Well, as you will see later on, the idea is just the starting point. It is not even the first 5 per cent, implementation is over 95 per cent. You can check here, here and here for high-quality libraries of business ideas.

Now, keep in mind that to get the most from these ideas, do not to just follow them. Instead, use them as starting points to get your creative juices flowing, then go out and talk to people about the problems you want to solve.

Step 3: Creating your shortlist
Work out which of one your ideas are most likely to make viable businesses by asking yourself some key questions. Can it be monetized? Will it be profitable? Is it sustainable? Can I start it? Are others already doing it?

You might add in some other factors that may be important to you. If your goal is to start a lifestyle business so you can spend more time with your young family, it might be important to ask how much time it will take to manage it.

Why is the business idea just the beginning?

By now, you should have a couple of business ideas you are excited about. I mentioned earlier that the idea is just a starting point. Many would-be founders spend months upon months trying to come up with their “killer idea” with no success.

The reality is that you need to be flexible, learning as you go, as your final business idea may be completely different from what was originally intended. Now you need to get out there and start talking to people.

Why? It is for the following two reasons:


Some will give you additional insight into your ideas, or even better, they may offer suggestions as to how to improve what you’re doing.


It starts the process of learning how to sell your business to others, giving you real world feedback on how to explain it, what has the biggest impact and which parts of your business people are not interested in.

Your key goal is to better understand the problem, not the solution. When someone gives you an answer, always look to delve deeper. Why do you like the idea? Why would you buy? Why do you think it’s expensive? Why do you think it’s the same as something else? Do your potential customers love it? Do they hate it?

The evolution of ideas has parallels with the evolution of great business people. We learn the most through failure. If we can fail fast, cheaply and without great risk, then it increases the likelihood that those failures will not inhibit your ability to build the business you want.

Very few set out knowing exactly what their journey to owning a business will look like. Being comfortable with the fog of uncertainty is a great entrepreneurial skill to have. As Richard Branson himself said, “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and by falling over.”

Stewart Bell is Managing Partner of Corporate to Freedom. He is one of Sydney’s top business coaches who have coached over 300 financial services firms and consulted to some of the largest financial institutions in Australia. He’s a keynote speaker and enthusiastic writer on the topic of business coaching who has featured in publications including The Financial Review, Money Management, Professional Planner, Risk Info, IFA and Kaplan Professional.

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