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You’ve decided that you want to work for yourself. It makes sense for you and your family. You’ve probably even got an idea of what you want to do, whether it’s something small and local, or something with more national or even international ambitions. But the first question that every aspiring entrepreneur faces is – how do you know if your concept is a good one? Obviously success can never be guaranteed, but there are signs that your business idea will work, even from the very early days.

(And if you’ve not quite come up with an idea yet, don’t worry! Here are 25 ideas to get you started…)

5 signs your business idea will work

1) You’re passionate about it

OK, so this doesn’t guarantee success in itself, but we think passion for what you do is crucial when you run a small business. Your passion is such an important part of what drives us, as entrepreneurs, to get up in the morning. It’s what gets you through the tough days, and what makes the great days so special. Moreover, if you don’t love what you do, how can you expect your customers to love it?

2) Other people are already buying it

Nobody wants to create a carbon-copy of a business that’s already out there. But one of the important signs that a business idea will work is if people are already doing something similar. If there is, you know that there’s an obvious market for your fledgling business. People are already out there. Buying. Then, the question becomes not so what you’re going to do, but how you’re going to do it better than your competitors.

3) You’ve done your research

This third sign that your business idea will work is something of an extension of the second. Detailed research is incredibly important when you’re setting up a new business, especially if you’re hoping to achieve any level of growth. Without research, how will you know who, and how big your market(s) are? How will you know if people actually need (or want) your product? If your research is successful, the information and knowledge that you gain should give you confidence in your choice of business.

4) You have the skills for success

In the same way that passion and interest are important signs that a business idea will work, so are skills and experience. If you want to make wedding cakes, where is the proof that you can design and produce high quality products? Perhaps you want to be a freelance social media manager. Do you have appropriate experience? If not, how will you train, and with whom? However you gain them, being able to demonstrate that you have the right kind of skills and experience is an incredibly important way of building trust with your potential customers.

5) You’ve been there

Some of the best business ideas start with a ‘pain point’. It might be that you’ve identified a potential solution to a problem that you’ve experienced. Or, like us, you’ve been in the same position as the people you’re hoping to work with or support. Having ‘been there’ yourself makes you so much more relatable as a small business owner. It also means that you have direct experience of the ‘gap’ or need that you’re trying to fulfil as a consumer, not just as a business owner. And with experience comes trust!

What next?

So what next? Obviously the points made above are only some of the signs that your business idea will work. The above are also only intended as an introduction – the details will very much be dependent on you, your idea, your industry and your markets. There will also be other variables to take into account. For example, whether you have the finance available to make your business idea viable.

Which brings us back to the idea of research, and ensuring that you are as informed as possible.

So once you’ve grasped that initial nugget of a business idea, don’t just dive in with both feet. Take some time to think things through. Research as much as you can. Talk to people. And then once you have as much informatioln as possible, you can decide whether or not to proceed.

And if you do decide to take it forward, we wish you all the luck in the world on your small business journey. And if you find that you need some support, we’re here for you! You can also read more in The Definitive Guide to Starting a Small Business.