I want to start my own business…but, doing what? I can’t tell you how often I hear this question from aspiring entrepreneurs. People like you and me who are sick of working for someone else and who want to put themselves in the driver’s seat. They know they can do it, they have the energy and passion and drive and grit and hustle…but not the actual business idea.
So, how do you actually come up with ‘the idea’?
The best business ideas are those that fill a gap in the market and solve a problem, often a problem you had yourself and which you resolved. If you had the problem, does that mean others – potentially a mass niche – also have the same problem which you can solve?
Take the time to think about whether you are on to a good thing. Get the data and answer these questions:
- Is there a market?
- What is the niche?
- What is their problem?
- How do you solve their problem?
- Who are your competitors?
- Is the offering unique?
- How will you differentiate?
Keep drilling down to ensure that you have identified a market who want and need your solution. Time spent thinking about this is time very well spent.
In 2019 I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Michelle Kennedy, founder and CEO of Peanut, a friendship App for mums. Peanut, often referred to as ‘Tinder for Mums’, was launched in February 2018 and uses an algorithm, similar to a dating App algorithm, to match up and connect mums by combining their location, interests, the age of their children and other criteria. Peanut is used by over one million mums worldwide.
Michelle Kennedy, Co-Founder and CEO, Peanut
Michelle Kennedy was solving her own problem when she launched Peanut. Her problem was the enormous sense of disconnectedness she experienced moving from the corporate world into motherhood. Like many new mums, Michelle experienced loneliness and a sense of isolation when she first child:
When so much of your identity is tied up with who you are at work it becomes so confusing to lose that part. And that’s true whether your identity is tied to your hobby or your identity is tied to your circle of friends, the same is true – motherhood changes that because you’re no longer able to participate in the same way that you were.
Coming from an established and successful tech business (Bumble, the online dating app), Michelle was used to operating in a tech-savvy environment. However, what surprised her when she had her baby was the lack of tech services connecting mums:
Up until this point, every part of my life was using technology and was cool and slick, and whether that was right down to the basics of ordering stuff on Amazon at 2:00 am that I felt like I must need while Finn was feeding, or Instagram, or Uber, or whatever it might be: all of those elements were very cool, very slick, and very technology first. I was working in the dating industry, and then motherhood comes along and you’re like: ‘Okay, where’s my experience that is tech first here?’ It just felt very fragmented and, quite frankly, old school. And it was at that moment when I felt: ‘Wow, the expectation of motherhood is that I must have aged or become less cool or become like my mum who doesn’t know how to send a text message.’
Michelle realised she had found a gap in the market, and Peanut filled that gap:
It was really about amalgamating everything that was out there and really fragmented and bringing it into one platform so that your mindset was: Peanut is where I can make connections; where I can seek advice and support; and where I can speak to likeminded women whatever your kind of sway or your likeminded element is – whether you are working for money, whether you’re a stay-at-home mum. Whatever it is, you will find women who are like you and likeminded, and I think that was important for me.
So – what is YOUR Peanut?
This is an edited extract from SMART Time Investment for Business: 128 Ways the Best in Business Use Their Time, Kate Christie
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