Finding Your small business ideaAs an office business centre, Telsec not only rents office space, but we also have virtual office solutions for people who work from home or on the road. Most of our virtual office clients have their mail forwarded to where they are working, but some still prefer to come into the office to pick up their mail. This blog writer has had a chance to meet some of these virtual office clients and learn how they chose the business they went into, then turned those methods into this blog. Before we get into some of the ways that these clients came up with the ideas for their business, let me tell you why I chose to ask this group of customers. The people who use Telsec’s virtual office solutions are more often entrepreneurs who are sole proprietors who work from home – and are often the sole employee of their business.

One fact that we learned is that most people get really anxious when it is time to start developing ideas for their business. So where do you begin your search for a profitable small business idea? The truth is that just like a lot of good things in life, it is probably hiding in plain view. Brainstorming ideas sounds like a grand method, but often fails to come up with a profitable business plan. The reason for this is that there is no passion behind these ideas – and that sometimes too many ideas come forward. Trying to work on too many ideas just waters down your efforts on one good idea. Here is what worked best for some of our top virtual office clients:

• Find a problem that you and others face that needs a solution. Take a look at some of the problems you face and and determine if others would pay to have it fixed. It does not always have to be a business-based problem. It could also be a personal time-saving or money-saving idea.

• Think of hobbies and skills you are already good at. Everyone has something that they are good at. What do you do well? The truth is that many people do not realize how good they are at something and take it for granted. They do not realize that someone else may be willing to pay for their help or advice. This could be almost any skill – cooking, playing a musical instrument, home organizing, marathon training or creative gardening or landscaping. People might be interested in paying you to teach them how they can do some of those things better, than if they tried to do them on their own.

• What you did previously for work. Before you decided to become an entrepreneur, you most likely had a job that you were good at. There are many small businesses who may want someone with your business experience skills, but they cannot justify hiring a full-time employee to fulfill that role. One of our virtual office clients actually made a customer out of a former employer at a higher rate of pay than they made previously working at a quarter of the hours per week. Remember that there are also businesses that need someone to do a job. But they may not want to deal with recruiting costs, training, health insurance, and the overhead involved with physical office space for that employee.

• What advice are people always asking from you? Ire constantly getting that question “can I get your advice on something” or “can I pick your brain?” Chances are that people may see you as an expert on certain topics, so why not see if you can turn your advice and expertise into a profitable small business. Maybe you are a photographer like me and are always getting asked photography-related questions. I eventually turned those questions into a small business of teaching photography seminars.