So you have a few ideas for new businesses to start - good for you, the wheels are turning!
How do you decide which one to pursue?
Here Are Some Pointers And Key Things To Look For:
1. Make sure you are passionate about the Idea.
It may be a good idea, and it may fill a niche, but launching a forum about shampoo brands may not be your cup of tea and thus, you're not going to pour your heart into it. I know you’ve heard this before but stop ignoring the advice! You really have to love what you do to be great at it.
2. Make sure it can be monetized.
Sites that target big spenders (car buyers, digital camera/consumer electronics buyers, travelers, Business owners, CEOs, IT pros, web developers, etc) will monetize far better than sites that target the general public, general interest people that are just browsing around, people looking at general news, people socializing and chatting about their favorite color.
Can it be easily monetized, say, with Adsense, or will you have difficulty finding advertisers, getting subscribers, etc?
3. Evaluate the SEO value.
Traffic from Google is free, so it's best to design your business around this, and make sure to create a business that is likely to benefit the most from SEO.
Are people actively searching for content that your site features?
Dealighted.com, for example, features deals and coupons that are very recent. People are aggressively searching for deals and coupons every day, and particularly, recent bargains and deals that expire, so the site’s SEO value and potential are high.
Contrast this with say, a very niche site about 'gardening', for example, which people are still searching for, but less aggressively.
4. Will it run itself?
If I opened the Jonny Tyson school of online business, lesson 1 would be: "let the business run the business".
Don't become a slave to your work. I'm not, and you shouldn't be either. I work a lot because it's fun and I like to grow the business, but I don't have to. That's because I meticulously setup automated processes early on, and I create online businesses that are primarily comprised of user-generated content (Dealighted = aggregated user content).
The more day-to-day work your business requires to keep it afloat, the more you're just going to be treading water. When I work, I grow the business and very little effort goes into maintaining the existing revenue, traffic, and day-to-day goings on.
5. Does it fill a niche? Is there demand? Has it been done 50 times already?
Don't worry if you have competitors. There's often room for one more, especially if you can do it better. But, do worry if the market is totally saturated with mature players, and you're going to beat your head against the wall trying to gain traction.
* Look for markets where there is demand that is not fully being met.
6. Do you know how to set it up yourself and/or will you need startup cash?
This can be a big deciding factor. If you're a web developer trying to decide between setting up a user-generated content site, or a tractor supply store, I'm going to advise the former; use your skills.
I learned on the job.. dabbling as I went along. Don't put yourself into a managerial role, afraid to get your Hands Dirty, afraid to learn, and thinking you’ll just "hire a web guy, hire a developer, etc", because those guys aren't passionate about what it is you're trying to do - you are!
You need to a) learn everything you can, b) get your hands dirty, do the grunt work and the heavy lifting, c) start now and be prepared for it to take time, and d) test, test, test, put new ideas out there, try different things, fight complacency and don't rest on "good enough" when it comes to your business, because as "good" as you think you're doing, you're probably doing 10% as well as you could be (I know I am).
To your success,