Becoming your own boss starts with a business idea. And the good news is that you don’t need to be a creative genius to have one. Here are some simple steps that may help you identify the next big business thing.

Solve a problem

If you find an everyday task painful, chances are there are others who feel the same. Some of the most successful businesses solved real-life problems, such as Google, which among other things made searching online better and easier than other search engines, and Amazon, which simplified online shopping.

You don’t necessarily need to solve a big problem, either. Take notes of frustrating day-to-day experiences and think about ways of solving them. Dog walkers, for instance, have solved some of the pains of busy dog owners.

Help save money

Can you see a way to make something more affordable or help people save money? If you can make something cheaper or last longer, chances are you’ll have some willing buyers. For example, Aldi supermarkets made grocery shopping more affordable by cutting costs with a large range of private label products and a simplified operating model.

Talk to customers

Listening to customers and sales employees can be a simple way to find out what the needs and pain points are in a particular industry. If you’re interested in retail, pose questions to sales staff next time you’re shopping in store. You can also find plenty of helpful customer feedback online through chat forums such as Whirlpool.

Identify what’s missing

Have you noticed a gap in the market you could fill? That could be your business idea right there. The founder of RedBalloon noticed a gap in the market for buying an experience as a gift, so she created her own website offering just that.

Think ahead of the curve

Have a look at what trends and technologies are coming up and what products and services may be needed to complement them. For example, you could check whether there are any unmet needs following recent innovations in home entertainment systems.

Next steps

Once you have your business idea, find out how to develop it to see whether or not it has the potential to be profitable.

Things you should know

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on this, consider the appropriateness to your circumstances.