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Start-up success! Steps to creating your business idea

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

Anyone looking to start a business obviously needs to have an idea on what they are going to develop. Truth is, most people can’t get past the first hurdle and this can be discouraging. However, there are ways to stimulate creativity and encourage you to brainstorm ideas for your business.

Talk to people you know

Talking to people inside your network can help you understand the types of problems that people are facing. Once you understand the daily problems, you can start to create solutions which will ultimately form your business idea.

Once you have a business idea in place you can use your network to test the validity of your product / service. This will help you establish constructive feedback so that you can be the best before going to market. If you are worried about bias judgements, have someone else deliver the trial and observe feedback externally.

Experience different environments and cultures

Phil Knight stated that business trips to Japan opened him up to new experiences and people that would help him create the company that we know today as Nike. Travelling the world, learning about new cultures and meeting new people are all enriching activities that will broaden your thoughts. For example, if you were to experience something unique in one country, you might want to start thinking of ways that you could make it work back home. I’m not suggesting you copy business ideas, but you shouldn’t be re-inventing the wheel either. Try taking elements as inspiration and this will help you spark new trails of thought.

Analyse your skillset and passion

The best place to start when creating a business idea is to think about your strengths and weaknesses. Once you understand your strengths you can focus on creating a business idea that is tailored to those skills. Equally, you want to create an idea that does not require skills which fall into your ‘weakness’ category.

The other aspect you need to consider here, is your passion. Often in the business world, people will tell you that you won’t succeed if you aren’t passionate about it. It’s true. How can you expect to invest the hours required if you aren’t passionate or enjoying the process? When you work on something you are passionate about, you believe in it which means your chances of success are higher.

Consider your why

Simon Sinek created a book called ‘Start with why’, which looks into the ways in which you should approach work/business/life. As the title of the book suggests, try starting with why. Why am I looking to start a business? Why am I starting a business in this market? Why now? Answers to your ‘why’ will help you understand your purpose and this could be the factor which drives you to your business idea.

Freeing up time to think

If you are serious about creating a business idea, you need to provide yourself with time. In the modern world, we run busy days at 90 mph without stopping to take a step back and think. Start by blocking out 30 minutes in your calendar. This is 30 minutes for you only. This is the time that you can use to relax and explore the various ideas you have floating around in your head. You can also use this time to get those ideas down onto paper. Not only will this help you keep track of your ideas, but doing so can lift the weight off your shoulders and reduce stress.


There are multiple methods available on the internet to help you stimulate creativity and engage in brainstorming activities. In this guide, we have chosen a select few from individuals who have tried and tested these methods. Even Jeff Bezos blocks out free time for himself to think, relax and reduce stress.

We have developed a guide on registering your business to help you decide which business type is right for you and how you should go about the process of registering.

At the SME Centre of Excellence, we have worked with business start-ups all across the North East, helping them to start, survive and thrive. We realise that business can often feel like an isolated space and sometimes finding the right answer isn’t as simple as a quick google search. To combat this, we have brought together resources, programmes and unique support offerings to help you on your way to start-up success.

View our support here.


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