Today it has been announced that unemployment figures have dropped in the UK and Northern Ireland and one of the contributing factors is self-employment. 

Becoming self-employed may be something that you are considering, but you are unsure of where to start...

There could be a number of reasons why you want to start a business. It could be that you have plenty of time on your hands; you have recently been made redundant or are currently unemployed. All you know is that you have gained quite a lot of skills, knowledge and experience from your previous roles, and now you want to find an opportunity and a gap in the market that you could operate in.

You may have a few ideas of what you want to do, but finding the right idea for your business start-up, can be tricky.

Here are 6 areas to research when investigating your ideas:

  1. A good starting point is to look around and see what problem you could solve. Make sure that you can identify the size of the potential market and that it has the capacity to make money.

  2. You might want to search a number of blogs to try and get some ideas, also to read up about the sector that you are interested in.

  3. Consider researching areas that could save potential customers money, which is always an attractive proposition. Sometimes existing suppliers may not be meeting the needs of their customers. Large firms usually don’t have the time to cater for everyone’s needs, because it’s just not economic. Recognising that enough people have needs and expectations that are not being met, can be an ideal opportunity for a new business idea.

  4. Areas of expertise are usually an ideal place to start, because you have the skills, knowledge and experience to get the business off the ground.

  5. Try putting together an inventory of the key things that you are looking for in a business for example, working hours that suit your lifestyle, networking opportunities, travel options or minimal paperwork.

  6. If after attempting all the above and you still haven’t identified the ideal business idea then consider your hobbies or things of interest. Try to spend some time exploring whether individuals have managed to turn these ideas into businesses, if so, and then start exploring the sections above to assist with the development of your business idea.

Once you’ve settled on a business idea you should consider finding out more about the sector from free resources.

A good example is the government’s statistics service; it produces periodic statistics on all types of businesses operating in the UK. And don’t forget to read business magazines, as they will be able to highlight the topics that are currently being addressed and the movers and shakers within a particular sector.

Statistics are always useful, for example it can be used to communicate your research findings, to explain your activities and to make comparisons. It can also be used to make predictions and assist to draw your own conclusions and decide if the sector that you want to pursue, is worthwhile.

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