Starting your own business is the ultimate ideal of the American dream. Although it is one of the most difficult things you can do, there are few things more satisfying than watching a small business come together and become successful. One of the key components of a successful small business, though, is finding a way to differentiate your small business from the other cookie-cutter businesses out there. Although a cookie-cutter can be successful, particularly when you take the franchise route, it's also easy to fall into the boredom trap, when consumers have simply become tired of the same old thing time and again.
A successful creative small business is one that distances itself from the everyday – something that stands out in consumers' minds as being different from the ordinary. By avoiding blending in, your business is constantly new and fresh, and you'll always have a steady stream of customers coming in.
So, how do you decide what is and what isn't a creative business idea that you can make a living from? For one, take a look around your local area. If your idea is based on the businesses already in your area, then you will probably have a difficult time being successful. If, for instance, you plan to open up a sandwich shop when you've already got six within a mile of your location, you'd better have something catchy about your sandwiches to differentiate you from your competition, otherwise, you'll probably only ever be moderately successful, if you don't over-saturate the market. Now, if you open up a sandwich shop in a place where no other sandwich shop has ever stood before, selling to customers who've eaten wraps their whole lives, then the novelty of your product is sure to catch on, if even with just a handful of locals, and you'll be successful.
Of course, it isn't that easy. More often than not, people have already heard of your product, and may have tried it out unsuccessfully before. This is where the internet can come in handy. Under the Yahoo! Local website, you can easily find any and all competition that may be in your local area. Additionally, you'll be able to find where all the failed businesses were located, as well. How is that, you ask? Well, for one, the Yahoo! Local site is user-maintained. Businesses who want to be found on the site simply input their name and phone number, as well as their location, into the system, and voila, they're listed. In order to be removed from the maps, the user themselves has to go into the system and remove their listing. Otherwise, it stays there. To find the failed businesses, just track down all the businesses, and then make notes as to where there appeared to be more or less success.
Most people like “calm novelty.” You won't find that in any business startup text, but the idea is simple. A novelty can be just a little off base, and people will find it new, exciting and fresh. Think of a sandwich shop that specializes in every kind of pepper under the sun as part of the dressing for their sandwiches. Too far out there, though, and you alienate consumers. This might happen if the shop offers only the hottest peppers it can find.
What's your interest? Do you think it might pick up? Maybe you enjoy beading, or mural painting, or even caring for tropical fish. Regardless of what you like, you might be surprised to find a host of willing consumers who share your interest, and are willing to not only spend money with you, but tell all their friends about your business, as well!