Are you one of the millions of people looking for the best home-based business for you, personally?
I suspect that you have probably been searching through pages and pages of home business ideas, franchises and business opportunities. In the end you are suffering from information overload. You feel confused and you are no closer to making a decision about the right business for you than before you started.
You have been advised to look for “your passion”. But, most people don’t have “a passion” – they may have an interest in several areas without necessarily being “passionate” about any of them.
So, the last thing you need at this stage is more home business ideas, right?
We understand your frustration. My wife and I went through the same process when we were looking for the right online business for us.
In hindsight we realised that the approach we had used was haphazard and ineffective. So, we devised a method, based on the advice of the best strategy experts.
The Lakota Principle
The Lakota Sioux Indians were indigenous to the Great Plains of North America. Their Sun-Earth Connection symbol consists of a triangle with an inverted triangle on top. The inverted triangle symbolises the sun and the triangle below it the earth.
We have used this graphic to symbolise the convergence of two types of thinking. It may sound complicated and academic, but it is really a very straightforward, practical way of focussing in on the perfect home business for you.
The Lakota Principle is based on the fact that there are two ways to find the answers to a problem – bottom up, or inductive thinking; and top down, or deductive thinking.
Bottom Up (Inductive) Thinking
Inductive thinking comes naturally to most people. You apply it by browsing through lists of ideas and making a note of those ideas that appeal to you. Once you have created the list, you go through it and add category descriptors to each idea.
So, you might classify an idea as involving children, organising and crafts. Another might be about children, writing and research. A third might be about webpage design, graphics and coordinating contractors.
At first it may seem that the ideas are diverse, but inevitably a common thread will emerge. The main thing is to keep an open mind from the outset and just write down ideas that have something interesting about them, even if they don’t meet your pre-conceived model of the right idea for you.
Top Down (Deductive) Thinking
With top down, or deductive thinking, you would start by defining all the criteria that your ideal home based business should have. These would include your interests, skills and experience, as well as whether it should ideally be about a service or a product. You should think about practical constraints such as transport, facilities at home, child-care or the availability of finance for working capital.
Then you would write a definition of the ideal home business blueprint for yourself. So, it could be something like “providing a service online using my organisational, writing and creative skills and experience”. Finally, you would conduct research to find small business ideas that meet these criteria.
The Biggest Mistake Made By Home Business Entrepreneurs And How To Avoid It
The single biggest mistake made by people looking for their perfect business idea is to exclude potential businesses by having preconceived ideas about what the business should and, more importantly, shouldn’t be like.
The problem is that many unsuitable ideas have an element that is relevant and useful. By discarding the idea prematurely, you may end up “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”.
To avoid this trap you need to do 2 things:
- Include all ideas on your list that are interesting to you and have the potential to lead to something else. So, you may not realistically consider driving a school bus, but could thinking about this idea lead to something like a home delivery service?
- Start with the bottom up approach, not the top down. The top down approach involves establishing your personal criteria. If you start with this, though, you may end up filtering out ideas prematurely.
A Case Study Example – How To Find The Ideal Home Based Business For Women
This is a real life story of a home-based business of which I am a regular, loyal customer. I live in a country town up near the mountains where it is cooler and one needs good quality socks to prevent ones feet from freezing in winter.
Four times a year there is a bush market in our town. I always go to the market to buy socks. It sounds strange, I know, but there is a reason. I cannot find good quality, warm, woollen socks in the clothing stores. These days most socks are made in the east from synthetic materials.
But, there is a woman who sells socks at a stall at our bush market and the quality is exceptional. Last time I bought socks from her she told me her story. She used to work at a woollen mill. She and her husband decided to move to the country and she had to find something to do from home. So, she had a shed built and she bought 3 used machines for making socks.
Today, she produces hundreds of pairs of socks and she sells them exclusively through the 4 bush markets. She has her own brand and packaging and she makes enough income to earn a healthy profit and fund their discretionary lifestyle (holidays and luxuries). Although she charges a premium for her socks, I gladly pay whatever she charges because her product is exceptional and there is nothing similar even in the upmarket clothing outlets.
Let’s think about how she could have come up with her idea using the Lakota Principle.
She would have started by going through lists of ideas, like our huge list, and noting those that caught her eye even if they weren’t exactly what she was looking for.
So, for example, her list may have included these ideas, just because they were interesting to her, personally:
- Product distributor
- Warehousing for e-commerce
- Event planning
- Household organiser
- Packing/unpacking service
- Online store owner
- Dog clothing
- Online shoe sales
- Upholstery repairs
None of these ideas would have been ideal for her. But, each of them contains an element that would have helped her to get her thinking straight. For example, product distributor was interesting because the idea of making up orders and interacting with customers was appealing. Event planning sounded good to her because she got a kick out of a plan coming together and things running smoothly.
Dog clothing was attractive because the idea of making something unusual appealed to her. Upholstery repairs appealed to her because it was uncommon and it seemed like it would give you a sense of reward through helping people.
Having completed the bottom up exercise, she would now have defined her top down criteria.
These could have been:
- Needs to involve making something
- Should include contact with people, like customers
- Should enable her to use her organisational strengths
- The product needs to have a unique element that gives one a sense of pride in the finished product
- It should help people solve a currently unsolved problem
She would then have thought about her own skills and experience. It isn’t hard to imagine that she would have been only a short step away from establishing a home-based business producing and selling her own exclusive range of high quality woollen socks.
I have one more thing to thank her for. Thinking about how she came to establish such a simple, yet successful home business led me to define the Lakota Method and write this article.
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