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How to Narrow Down Your Business Idea

It’s been your dream for a long time: Becoming an entrepreneur. And you’re feeling ready to pursue your business idea.

People want to work with, or buy from, experts. And they’re willing to pay them more.

But we’ve got a hard question for you before you launch.

Think about the last time you told someone about your business idea. Did it sound something like this?

I’m going to do X, but also a little Y and Z. And I’m probably open to A, B and C, too.”

If so, it’s time to do some more work to narrow down your business idea. If you don’t, you’re likely to leave your customers cold – and drive yourself crazy in the process. These questions can help.

Who’s your target customer or client?

Do you consider everyone a potential customer or client? There’s no bigger red flag that your business idea needs to be narrowed. Businesses that try to be everything to everyone end up appealing to no one. They’re bland and confusing. Today’s customers want to buy from businesses they resonate with. They want to feel at home with you and that you get them. That means you have to get really clear about the people you want to serve. For example, your online store isn’t just “for millennials.” It’s for “recent college grads who need midprice options for starting their professional wardrobes.” Your food blog isn’t just for families. It’s for “families who want to cook together, using easy recipes and healthy ingredients.” Being specific and targeted is the key to attracting the customers you want.

What do you do best?

If your business idea is feeling overly broad right now, we’re willing to bet that includes some aspects that you’re really awesome at, and others where you’re just pretty good. How can you narrow your focus to the awesome stuff and ditch the “pretty good”? This can feel a little scary. You might not feel confident yet that you can find enough clients who want you to do only what you’re awesome at. And maybe you keep taking those “pretty good” gigs because they’re more abundant. But you’re more likely to set yourself up for long-term success if your business centers on your greatest strengths. People want to work with, or buy from, experts. And they’re willing to pay them more.

What do you need financially?

How much do you need to make in order to support the life you want to live? There’s no right or wrong answer here. It all depends on you. Once you have a number in mind, think about the earnings potential of your business idea. Is it in line with your financial needs? Are there high-effort, low-return aspects of your business idea that you should shed?

What do you love doing?

And we’re talking really love. The kind of love where picturing doing the work you’d do in this business for years into the future makes you crazy-happy. This is because the sustainability of your business isn’t just about how much money you’re bringing in. It’s also about whether you get up every morning thrilled to work on your business – or whether you’re dreading it. So ask yourself this: What work really lights you up? And what’s just OK? Getting clear on this distinction can be enough in itself to refine your business idea.

Is this something you can maintain long term?

Consider logistics, your bandwidth and who or what your business would need to operate. Is this idea something you can keep up with? What facets need to come together for this idea to take life? Can you work from remotely? Or do you need a location? Make sure you’re not biting off more than you can you to chew! Is this a business you plan on doing alone? Or do you need a team? Your business can always start with just you, and you can hire help as you grow. But it’s important to consider what that team might look like before you begin.

Need a sounding board to help you figure all of this out? We love helping entrepreneurs find clarity and shape the business of their dreams. Contact us today to find out more.

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