You know you want to start a business. Only problem: you have no idea what kind of business to start. Maybe you have a million ideas that need whittling down to a few, or maybe you have no ideas and need to figure out a place to start.
This isn’t surprising and, in fact, is totally normal. I work with plenty of women who are clear on wanting a business but unclear on everything else. And many times they’ve been stuck in that stage for a year or more, stumbling and frustrated.
So while that step is normal, the reason I find women getting stuck there may actually be surprising.
That’s because it has nothing to do with the actual business options. Instead it’s all about getting clear on what you want out of your business.
Until you know what you want out of your business, it’s impossible to compare your different ideas. Because you don’t have a basis to compare them ON. They’re all viable, they’re all in different markets, they’re all possibilities. So when you line them up next to each other you don’t have a good business reason to choose one over the other. It becomes a coin flip, and when a business is on the line coin flips are a pretty scary strategy. Hence the cycle of endlessly choosing which business to start.
Which is why I’ve developed this list of questions to ask yourself – and I mean really ASK – prior to trying to choose your business. And once you’re clear on these choices, stop comparing your business ideas against each other and instead compare each one individually against its ability to provide you with what you want. Then you’ll find clarity really fast.
What are the 3 magic questions?
1. What style business do you want?
2. What kind of work do you like to do?
3. How do you like to deliver?
Let’s briefly go through each question.
Question 1: What style business do you want?
This is all about finding your Business Model Personality Type. Do you want to work from home on your laptop or do you dream of employing and leading 100 people? These are very different things, and you need to know what kind of experience – what kind of style – you’re looking for before you can understand whether or not your business idea will provide that for you.
Here are a few things to think about when thinking business style:
1. How do you want to work? (i.e. from home, free to travel, in a co-working space, in a regular office with colleagues)
2. How many employees do you want to have? How much support?
3. How many hours a week are you willing to put into your business?
4. How long do you want this business to last? Short-term or in it for the long-haul?
Question 2: What kind of work do you like to do?
This might be the most important question of the 3, and it’s also the one I see ignored most often. Please don’t do the same – take time to really think about your answer to this one, because it might surprise you.
Answering the question of what kind of work you like to do is all about understanding how you like to provide value. I’ve found 4 main categories:
1. Supporter: you show up best by providing support services to someone else. Examples of businesses supporters might start include: social media management, virtual assistant, operations manager, bookkeeper, etc.
2. Teacher/Mentor: you enjoy teaching others how to do what you’ve already done (or learned to do). Examples of businesses here might include: life coach, health coach, business coach, yoga teacher.
3. Creator: as the name implies, you like to create tangible things. Examples of businesses for creators might include: independent artist, photographer, musician, chef
4. Visionary: the visionary is interested in leveraging new technology or new theories into a unique business others haven’t seen before. Because your passion lies in the actual act of creating something new, you may or may not have a deep passion for the thing you’re creating, and that’s ok. Your drive to innovate trumps all. Examples here include tech start-ups, cutting edge health ideas.
Question 3: How do you like to deliver?
This one’s all about how you actually want to deliver your business. For example: do you want to provide a service? Make a physical product? Deliver value online? Create an ongoing subscription model via a membership site or publication? Deliver reports and recommendations? All of these are viable ideas, and getting clear on how you like to deliver will help you choose a business.
Here’s an example from my own business: I used to do a lot of project-based consulting work. I loved the topics I was working on but eventually realized I didn’t love the delivery method: a company would engage me to look at a problem they were having, then go away and come back a few weeks later with a lengthy recommendations report which inevitably no one read. I realized I could have more impact by keeping my work to the idea generation phase, so I stopped doing corporate consulting and started working 1:1 with entrepreneurs like yourself.
So tell me – have you asked yourself these questions before? Have they helped you in choosing your business? Let us know below in the comment section!