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To come up with good business ideas, we should first figure out what exactly a business is. From the article how the economy works, we can see that a business is just an extension of two people benefiting from each other by trading. Instead of just two people, it can be any number of people benefiting from each other by trading. Therefore, your job is a business, because you are trading your services for your employer’s money. When you give someone a hug and they feel better, that is a also a business, because you’re trading a hug for their continued goodwill (or to make yourself feel better by making them feel better). We’ll assume here that we’re in the business of making money, although other things of value tend to be exchangeable for money, so this is equally as applicable to hugs as to jobs.
1. Since the point of a business is to trade things, we should start by thinking about what other people need. This is easily done by just thinking about the things you think “sucks”. Do you wish you can get from point A to point B without having to drive? Do you wish that it was easier to clean your bathroom? Are the current solutions for these problems really horrible in your opinion? There are just tons of things throughout the day that you wish were better. Make a long list of all of these things.
2. Go down your list of things. Is there anything in there that you are particularly interested in? For example, let’s say one of the things on your list if that you think people need to be hugged more and you happen to like hugging people. This would be a perfect business opportunity to consider because you understand why people want to be hugged and you already know how to solve that problem (by hugging them). Circle all of these opportunities that you are interested in and have some expertise in (or would like to spend the time and acquire that expertise).
3. Who are your potential clients? Well, if we go back to the hugging example, it’s potentially everyone. Of course, people are probably not going to buy hugs for themselves, but someone can definiately buy it for someone else, kind of like a birthday card or a singing telegram. “Buy a Hug For a Friend”. “Buy a Hug For Your Sweetie on Valentine’s Day” (like if you’re far away or something). This step determines how big your market is and ultimately, how much money you can make.
4. How hard is it to get into the business? This is important to know because it determines how hard it is to get started, and more importantly, how hard it would be for other people to copy you should you become successful. The hugging business seems relatively low barrier of entry to me, since anyone can just make a website or list an internet ad (pretty easy to do). However, if you eventually establish a brand, like “Mom’s Hugs” or something, then that would become a barrier to overcome for your competitors.
So, that’s pretty much all there is to it. Find something a lot of people need done where the people doing it right now suck at it, and do it right.
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