Episode #6: How to Brainstorm Business Ideas for Your Online Business

explore business ideas Apr 09, 2020

Are you ready to start your online business, but struggling to come up with a viable idea?

If so, you’re not alone. Coming up with an online business idea is one of the most common struggles we see among our listeners and members. That’s why we devoted an entire episode to helping you come up with a business idea!

We will walk you through a step-by-step process for how to come up with business ideas. Our goal is to help you find a great business idea that is centered around the key business fundamentals AND is something you are relentlessly committed to.

Why? It’s a win-win for everyone!

Your customers want to hire someone who is completely committed to serving their needs and solving their problems.

You want to work on something that is personally satisfying and fulfilling to your soul.

See? Everyone wins!

Let’s dive into how to brainstorm a business idea.

Addressing Your Worries About Finding a Business Idea

We know firsthand how hard it is to take the leap and get started brainstorming online business ideas. There are plenty of objections that may pop up in your mind, like:

  • I don’t have the time.
  • I don’t know if I’ll make enough money.
  • I don’t know if I have enough knowledge.

You might have other worries too. Bottom line though, we know you’re afraid. Afraid to take the leap and make a commitment to yourself.

We’ve addressed a lot of these concerns in our earlier podcast episodes, but today we want to bring you back to the Tony Robbins’ momentum model that we discussed in episode 3: the keystone to success for online entrepreneurs.

We know that humans have amazing potential—YOU have amazing potential! Once you tap into your potential, you find your hunger and drive that pushes you toward action.

Taking action gives you results, and seeing those results helps you believe in yourself even more. This drives you to tap into your potential again, take more action, and see more results! This cycle keeps feeding into itself, giving you momentum.

This is how successful people become more successful! So let’s get started in helping you get momentum!

Four Steps to Brainstorming Business Ideas

Before we jump into the step-by-step process of brainstorming business ideas, let’s take a moment to review the key strategic elements your business idea should be based on:

  • Building your business on your unique skills, talents, and interests
  • Serving a niche of people you can be relentlessly committed to

Incorporating these two things will set you on the road to success. To understand more about why these are important, check out episode #3 of the podcast.

To guide you through these brainstorming exercises, we’ve created a downloadable worksheet that takes you through each step of brainstorming business ideas. You can use this to follow along with each step to come up with your business idea.

1. Identify a Niche of People You Potentially Want to Serve

A niche is a very specific group of people with a unique combination of interests and needs. Niches can be based on several different things:

  • Your expertise
  • Your passions
  • Something the world needs more of
  • Something you’ve struggled with

Your niche should be as specific as possible to help you narrow down what problems to solve and what needs to meet. If it’s too broad, it will be much more difficult to provide products and services because it’s not as specialized and focused.

It’s okay to start with something broad in this exercise and narrow it down as we go. Think about specific attributes of the broader niche that you want to support. For example, if you want to support teachers, what kind of teachers? Montessori teachers? What kind of Montessori teachers? Maybe Montessori preschool teachers, or Montessori teachers in a big city. Try to be as specific as you can!

If you’re struggling to think of a niche, listen to the episode for some real-life examples of niches that can lead to business ideas.

2. Choose One Niche and Drive Out Some Ideas

Once you have your list of niches, choose one that speaks to you the most for step two. (You can always repeat the exercise with your other ideas later but start with just one.)

You’ll need to determine some information about this niche. Below are some questions to jumpstart your search for this information. If you can’t answer these questions on your own, ask a few people you know fit this niche! People love to talk about their lives and it’s a great way to connect with others, particularly during social distancing!

Here are four questions to start understanding your niche:

  • What is this niche exactly? Describe who they are and what they do. What is their age? Their location? How do they behave? What’s important to them?
  • What are the goals of your niche? What do they want to accomplish? What is important for them to achieve?
  • What struggles does your niche have? What problems are they facing and looking to solve?
  • What is your sweet spot? Write down your sweet spot from the Finding Your Sweet Spot exercise about what you are good at and what you love. If you haven’t done this yet, do it now, or just write down things you are good at!

Once you have built out this picture of your niche and their needs, it’s time for the most important question: How can you help them?

As you answer this question, don’t filter your thoughts at all! Write down everything that comes to mind, and we’ll sift through it later.

3. Determine What E-Learning Products & Services You Can Provide

Now it’s time to think about what concrete products and services you can provide to your niche that will help them solve their problems and achieve their goals.

Here are some of the most popular ways to provide e-learning products, as we discussed on last week’s episode about making money from your online business.

  • Online courses: Teaching a specific system to get the results your customers desire
  • Monthly memberships: Providing ongoing support to help customers reach their goals
  • Mastermind workshops: Working closely with customers to help them solve specific struggles
  • Affiliate marketing: Recommending products and services that will complement your services and help your customers achieve their goals

You will also want to consider what you will offer for free, and what will be a paid service. In this episode, we dive into how to determine what should be free content and what should be paid, but here’s a sneak peek as to why this is important:

Free content helps attract new customers and gain their trust while establishing your credibility and demonstrating value. It should provide a teaser to what your paid service will give them so they are persuaded to buy from you.

Listen to the episode for more on what works as free content and what works as a paid service, as well as examples from specific niches.

4. Figure Out How to Make These Services Stand Out

By now, you’re hopefully closer than ever to having a viable business idea. The final step in this brainstorming exercise is to think about how you can differentiate yourself from other businesses that might be attempting to serve the same niche (or a similar one).

Start by listing out all the things that make you unique. These can be things you think about, say, or do automatically that you don’t notice other people doing. Think about how you can incorporate these things into what you’ll offer customers. This is the basis for your brand.

Making your services stand out doesn’t have to be a wild or intense angle. It simply has to be something that you—and only you!—can bring to your customers, shaped by your experiences, interests, and strengths!

Now that you’ve gone through our brainstorming exercise, you should have some creative thoughts brewing—and might even have a business idea! Congratulations!

Next, it’s important to take a little break from thinking about this and let your ideas marinate a little. Let inspiration strike you on a walk or get creative insights from pondering this all in the shower—research shows that 72% of people get inspired there!

Once you’ve found a business idea that’s exciting to you, you can move on to the next step: figuring out if your business idea is feasible! We’ll be covering this topic more on future episodes.

To wrap up, here are some of the key takeaways from today’s podcast episode:

  • Be strategic in your business ideas, building on your unique skills and talents AND finding a niche that you can be relentlessly committed to.
  • Brainstorm different niches you want to serve, and pick one to focus on.
  • Describe who they are and what they do.
  • Think through your niche’s goals, struggles, and needs.
  • List all the things you are good at—your sweet spot!
  • Find ways you can help them!
  • Determine what e-learning products and services will bring value to your customers.
  • Finally, think through what will make your products and services different from the rest!

Listen to Episode #6 and Brainstorm Business Ideas Now!

Be sure to listen to the episode for a step-by-step walk through of the brainstorming exercise worksheet, as well as real examples for each piece of the exercise! 

Then leave a comment on our private 20 Hour Work Week Movement Facebook Group to help support everyone in this movement.

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