Tuesday, August 13, 2019

6 Brainstorming Techniques For Coming Up With Small Business Ideas - The Story Exchange

6 Brainstorming Techniques For Coming Up With Small Business Ideas - The Story Exchange


6 Brainstorming Techniques For Coming Up With Small Business Ideas - The Story Exchange

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 09:48 AM PDT

Coming up with a new business idea can be stressful, but you don't have to pull your hair out -- there are ways to keep your creative juices flowing. (Credit: Unsplash)

Brainstorming for a new business can be difficult, but there are ways to keep your creative juices flowing. (Credit: Unsplash)

I have sat and talked with many women who were tired of their jobs and wanted out or had several hobbies that they thought they could make money from but couldn't decide which one to choose. They would often hear, "follow your passion" or "find a problem and solve it."

While sometimes "passion" and "problem" work, there are methods for exploring and generating new ideas. The brainstorming process helps you discover fresh ideas, encourages critical thinking and just flat out gets all the creative ideas out of your head and onto paper.

So, there are a few different techniques that I used with my clients to move them from a cluttered headspace to a clear mind.

[Related: How saying no to big-name cosmetics gave this woman entrepreneur a creative business idea]

1. Mind Mapping

This is one of my favorites. There are many programs online that will help you with the process, but you can absolutely do this with just pencil and paper. You start with a key word, problem or question and then use lines that branch from your subject that are key ideas. Write a keyword on each line and then add ideas that may trigger new thoughts or ideas. Warning! This map could go on forever but it's okay. Let the ideas flow. I have a client who joked that her mind map looked like an EKG.

2. 3…3…3

I have used this with adults and youth, and it is a lot of fun. Start with jotting down three hobbies and three skills. Create a table with your three hobbies on each individual row and the skills across the top on the columns. Think about what type of ideas you can create based on your hobbies and skills listed. For example, your hobbies may be sewing, writing and yoga and your skills are organization, business acumen and communication. You could start a business being a Yoga consultant, designing Yoga clothes or writing a book on Yoga techniques. You should have at least 3 ideas from this brainstorming technique.

[Related: The best CEOs embrace this leadership skill]

3. IF

This technique is similar to just solving a problem. Again, start with a sheet of paper and pencil and respond to the following statements:

It would be great if:

Things would be easier if:

What I can do about it is:

List at least 6-8 "IFs" and see how many ideas you can create in the "What I can do about it is" section.

4. Idea Funnel

Start with a general topic and narrow it to a one-sentence concept. Visually this looks like an upside-down triangle or a funnel. The steps you should follow are this:

  • write down an idea
  • narrow it down
  • tighten it up
  • make it clear
  • state the facts
  • come up with a one-sentence concept

An example of this would be

  • a restaurant
  • a vegan restaurant
  • a vegan fast food restaurant
  • a vegan fast service restaurant
  • a vegan fast service restaurant serving breakfast and lunch
  • a vegan fast service restaurant serving breakfast and lunch for customers on the go.

[Related: The 1 must-have item for letting investors know your idea is the big one]

5. Reverse the Storm

This sounds really crazy, but it actually works in coming up with creative ideas. Start by listing problems. Instead of trying to come up with ideas for solutions, reverse this process and think about ways to cause the problem or make it worse. Once you have a list, then spend time reversing each of those ideas. Don't be analytical or judgmental. Just let the ideas flow.

6. Bounce

This technique is a favorite of mine if there are at least three people involved. One person needs to be the scriber. You start with a keyword and the person next to you says the next word that comes to mind. It then goes back to the next person and you continue to bounce ideas off of each other. The scriber is writing the words down and after about five minutes, pause and view the words written to see if a business idea has been created. If not, restart the session with the word that you left off with OR use one of the words scribed to start a new brainstorming session.

The bottom line with business brainstorming is that you have fun with it. There are no bad ideas in brainstorming. Every thought can lead to a brilliant idea if you take your time and keep challenging yourself. Of course, you want an idea that can be monetized but many profitable ideas started from a crazy idea written on a napkin. Start throwing out your ideas and see what sticks.

Stacey Banks Houston is the Founder of Banks Int'l Group and Chief Launch Coach of RSVP Consultants. She has committed herself to the launch and growth of entrepreneurs over the last 23 years. Stacey is the author of The Passion Plan: Journaling Your Business from Passion to Position to Profit and Seasons of Wholiness: Inspiration for the Seasons in a Woman's Life. For more information, visit www.staceybankshouston.com.

Examples of Writing Business Ideas - Entrepreneur

Posted: 31 Jul 2019 12:00 AM PDT

Are you an experienced writer? Would you rather work for yourself doing what you love? You can start one of these writing business ideas.

9 min read

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

You can start your writing business from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a solid internet connection. However, there are tips and tricks to ensuring your writing business remains profitable, here are 10 examples of writing business ideas you can use to launch the best possible version of your writing business:

1. Fiverr: Writing and Translation

Fiverr is a freelancing platform that enables writers and translators from around the world to offer their services and complete projects for people. Before you join and set-up your profile you should see what other writers are offering, how they've worded their skills and who you'll be competing against:

Business Name: Fiverr

Website: https://www.fiverr.com/categories/writing-translation

Established Date: 2010

About the business:

Fiverr's writing and translation section covers every possible writing project from article to cover letters and product descriptions. How the business works is writers will submit what they can do and how much they're charging for it, then customers will select who they feel will do the job the best.

Innovative business offering

Fiverr allows the writer to charge however much you want for a particular skill or task. The writer can also determine, which projects they'll take on. If the writer has more than one skill set they can also expand their offering using the other categories of Fiverr.

2. Copywriter

Are you a copywriter? Do you create text for numerous projects such as advertisements, marketing brochures, press releases, tv and radio commercials, and catalogues? You could strike out on your own and become a freelance copy writer, here is an example of someone who has done just that:

Related: 20 Innovative Business Ideas Doing Well Overseas (That Could Make You Money In SA)

Business Name: Colin Corcoran

Website: https://independentcopywriter.com/

Established Date: 2014

About the business:

Colin Corcoran is ranked Number 1 in the United States by L├╝rzer's Archive Magazine. He's won multiple awards for campaigns and adverts across numerous mediums. He's also worked for multiple well-known international brands.

Innovative business offering

The more versatile you are as a writer the more jobs you can take on, the more businesses you can work with and the more creative agencies will contact you with a project.

Colin Corcoran does everything from print to radio, to social media and covers numerous industries giving him an edge over his competition.

3. Freelance Travel Writer

If you love to travel and you're a good writer, you can earn money travelling to interesting places. Before you quit your job and hop on a plane, first see how this travel writer has turned travelling into a career:

Business Name: Expert Vagabond

Website: https://expertvagabond.com/

Established Date: 2010

About the business:

Matthew Karsten is a full-time adventure travel blogger who has been exploring the world for the last 9 years. He runs a travel blog where he shares entertaining stories, budget travel tips, fun videos, inspiring photography and crazy adventures from around the world. 

Related: 10 South African Entrepreneurs Who Landed Funding – And How They Did It

He's been featured on National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Travel Channel, New York Times and Go Pro.

Innovative business offering

Since Matthew Karsten is travelling around the world anyway, he also takes and sells professional travel photographs. This ensures he has two income streams that keep him afloat as he tours around the world.

4. Proof-reader

Are you good at spotting errors in large amounts of writing from various sources? You could offer your proofreading services to everyone from students to businesses.

Before you start your business ensure you know what your competition is doing, here is an example of a successful proofreading business and what they're offering:

Business Name: The Write Words

Website:https://www.thewritewords.co.za/

About the business:

The Write Words offers proofreading services to academics, students, businesses and creative writers. They specialise in dissertations, theses, essays and research proposals, but also cover newspaper and magazine articles, advertising and manuscripts.

Innovative business offering

Consider that to be a good proof-reader you'll have the same or similar experience in other areas of writing and editing. The Write Words also offers copy-editing, formatting, referencing and writing service to their customers.

5. Social Media Manager

Social media has become the new way for businesses to communicate directly with customers, which means they need to get it right. If you have experience in social media marketing this could be the writing business idea for you.

Related: Examples of Social Media Business Ideas

Before you launch your business, you should research your market and see what other businesses are offering, here is an example of a social media marketing business:

Business Name: Lyfe Marketing

Website: https://www.lyfemarketing.com/

Established Date: 2011

About the business:

Lyfe Marketing excels in Facebook Marketing, Instagram Marketing, and Google Marketing services. Since their launch they have managed over 2000 social media marketing campaigns. They optimise social media channels to satisfy their clients' marketing objectives. 

Innovative business offering

Lyfe Marketing also convert social media advertising investments into more leads and sales for their customers. They focus on driving real, organic traffic to their client's websites and store fronts.

6. Start a Blog

A blog offers reads of very specific content and it can be presented in an informal way. If you can attract enough people to your blog, you can monetise it and earn a revenue from adverts every month.

Related: 10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!

Before you get writing, see what this writing business did to ensure their success:

Business Name: You Baby and I

Website: https://www.youbabyandi.com/

Established Date: 2013

About the business:

Shan Vijendranath launched You Baby and I when she had her first child and needed support from other moms about what to buy and which brands to avoid. She created a tribe of mom's who trusted each other's opinions.

In 2016, the blog was named Africa's most influential parenting blog and recently won Best Parenting Blog in South Africa. She has also collaborated with international brands like Mattel, Disney, LG, Volvo, Samsung and Unilever.

Innovative business offering

From her blog Shan Vijendranath realised there was a gap in the baby industry market and decided to launch Momsays, which she created to help small businesses and empower people with a focus on mompreneurs.

7. Business Plan Writer

Every business needs a business plan, but not every entrepreneur can write one for their business, that is where a business plan writer comes in. You can offer your strategic thinking to help entrepreneurs set-up their business plans. Here is a writing business you can learn from:

Business Name: iAuditor Business Consulting

Website: http://iauditor.co.za/

Established Date: 2008

About the business:

iAuditor focuses on developing world-class business plans. This assists start-ups in raising funding and growth capital, as well as SME's in analysing and improving their operational, economic, marketing and branding strategies. 

Related: How Yoco Raised R300 Million in VC Funding

Innovative business offering

The business has also expanded to include business management consulting, financial projections, demographical studies. They have assisted with over 11 000 clients from 14 countries, developed over 6100 business plans and raised over R37 billion in funding.

8. Amazon Self-published Books

Whether you're a fiction or non-fiction writer, you can publish your books through Amazon's Self-Publishing platform and earn a living off your work. Before you get started learn from others who have successfully navigated the self-publishing platform, for example:

Business Name: Andy Weir

Website: http://www.andyweirauthor.com/books

Established Date: 2011

About the business:

Andy Weir is a computer programmer who decided tried to launch his book. He initially began posting free chapters on his personal website. He later put a 99c version on Kindle. By 2013 the book became so popular that Crown Publishing offered to buy it for $100 000.

Innovative business offering

To ensure the authenticity of his novel, Andy Weir conducted extensive research into orbital mechanics, conditions on Mars, the history of manned spaceflight and botany. The novel went on to make it to #12 on The New York Times bestseller list and it was made into a film in 2015.

Not every novel will be lucky enough to achieve critical acclaim and financial success. There is more information about this writing business idea here.

9. Freelance SEO writer

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has become the new strategy to drive traffic to an article and a website. Businesses are using SEO specialists to increase the traffic to their site and increasing their revenue and sales leads.

Related: 25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Business Name: Laura Pennington

Website: http://sixfigurewritingsecrets.com/

Established Date: 2012

About the business:

Laura Pennington went from public school teacher, to part-time freelancer to full-time freelancer in a year. Just a few years of hustling and honing her niche enabled her to reach $20 000 a month. To help her market herself Laura Pennington used Upwork to advertise her services.

Innovative business offering

Once Upwork found out about her success story she was featured on the homepage for three years. During this time other freelancers began emailing her and asking for help, which led to her secondary business, online courses teaching others how to make their freelance business a success.

10. Writing Workshop Teacher

There are so many writing business ideas and even more people looking to improve their writing skills through courses or workshops. 

You'll need to already have significant experience in writing in order to offer workshops to customers, but once you do you can start this writing business idea. Here is an example of a seasoned writer who did just that:

Business Name: The Writing Room

Website: http://www.thewritingroom.co.za/

Established Date: 2005

Related: 

About the business:

Sarah Bullen offers guidance through her mentorship courses and practical assistance in her international writing retreats and residencies to help others improve their writing and get their novels published.

Innovative business offering

They offer writing tips on their website for those looking for some free practical guidance. The Writing Room also offers 'pitch to publisher' courses, write a book in 100 days course and manuscript appraisal courses.

With so many writing opportunities there are many people who want to learn how to write or improve their writing abilities.

How to start this business idea

You'll need to have experience in this area before offering a writing workshop. You can advertise your workshop at bookshops and on writing forums.

How to keep this business idea successful

This business idea doesn't lend itself to repeat customers, unless you continuously offer something new that your previous class also wants to learn.  A strategy could be to offer beginner, intermediate and advanced classes to retain clients.

Related: The Ultimate 101 List Of SA Business Ideas To Get You Started

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