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5 Ways to find an idea for your own business

G.B. Oliver is a small business marketing consultant and ebook author. Her blog, Attention-Getting.com, was chosen by American Express as a Top 10 Small Business Blog for 2014.

Ready to be your own boss, just can't come up with an idea for a small business? These ideas will help get you started.

Many people are looking for an opportunity to be their own boss. The hard part is coming up with an idea for a small business that they can do. Here are five ways to help you find that ideal opportunity.

1. Do what you like to do (and are good at)

Everyone will tell you to follow your passion, but I like to add to that; it also has to be something you're good at. For example, a lot of people love to sing, but if they are not good at it they won't earn a living doing it. So find what you love to do and are good at, then determine if there is a way to make money doing it.

2. Listen to those compliments

Sometimes the best way to find out what you are good at is to listen to what people compliment you on. Maybe it is your sense of style, your cooking or your photography skills. If they like it, chances are other people will too.

3. Look at your own needs

Another great way to find an idea for a business is to look at your own recent needs for a product or service. Were you unable to find what you wanted? Maybe others are looking for the same things you are. Where there is demand, there is opportunity.

4. See what people are searching for

Go to one of the question and answer websites like Quora, and type in "where can I find x." The results are fascinating, everything from "where can I buy a stylish bike helmet?" to "where can I find someone to practice Spanish with?" You can even narrow it down to the city you live in, for example, "where can I find x in Seattle?" It's a great way to get an idea of people's current wants and needs and see if you can build a business around it.

5. Read product and business reviews

An interesting way to find an idea for a business is to read reviews of products and services on sites like Amazon and Yelp to see customer complaints about the ways these businesses are lacking. Capitalizing on a popular product or service's weaknesses presents an opportunity for you.

If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, chances are there is a small business idea right for you; you just have to find it.

Photo credit: Fancy Yan/Photodisc/Getty Images
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