How to decide what business you can start?

08, Jan 2021

Business Choice

Hitesh Porwal

| Certified Executive Coach

Once you decide to take the entrepreneurial path, the next vital question that you need to address is “What type of business do I start?” This article seeks to guide you through the process of choosing your business, how to figure what you exactly want to do.

But before we get started, let us clarify one point upfront. You might wonder whether this is a good time to launch your business. The reality is that there’s never a bad time and ‘NOW’ is as good a time as ever to start your entrepreneurial venture. While it is smart to launch when the economy is looking up, it is equally intelligent to get started when the economy is not doing its best. That’s because it gives your business a better shot at getting noticed and accepted. With that, let us cut to the chase:


1. Respect your passion, play to your strengths

Self-discovery – that is where it all begins. If you are selling a product (or service) that you know about and are emotionally connected to, you automatically amplify your chances of winning.

Look around and you'll find that all businessmen who are successful are also enjoying doing what they are doing. They are getting to use their natural talents and passions at workplace that puts them ahead of their competition.

Your business should be a reflection of who you are. The nature of business has to fit your temperament, strengths and the kind of lifestyle you want down the line.

Also, during tough times, that will undoubtedly come; you will have the motivation and creativity to think outside the box and develop unique solutions that will put you a step ahead of your competition.

Playing to your strengths is fundamental to cracking the code to success.


2. Find the right customer

‘You are in the business of finding the right customer’ it cannot be any closer to the truth.

The nucleus of your entrepreneurial activity should be to talk to the right customers and satisfy them in a way that they come back to you again. The more clarity you have about the ideal customer, the more effective and focused marketing efforts will be.

Here are a few tips to help you identify the best customers for your business:

  • Ask yourself who could you help?
  • Where would you find them?
  • What is their age, education level, occupation, financial situation and so on?
  • Determine the exact time when your ideal customer would buy the product. Is there any specific time of the year, month or week?

The ability to map your product with the ideal customers will influence your business success. For example, if you are in the construction material space, you don’t want to waste your resources advertising directly to households. They are not the right customers. Instead, you will market B2B i.e. players in the real estate, architects, engineers etc.


"If you are talking to everyone, you are talking to no one."


3. Focus on your customers’ pain points, not what you want to sell

Your guiding star in a new business should be customers’ pain points. Keep your eyes and ears open to what customers are seeking.

Understanding the types of pain points is the key to offering a product that adds value to their lives. Some of the usual ‘gaps’ that you can capitalize on are:

  • Cost: Prospects need an inexpensive alternative vis-à-vis what they are getting right now
  • Productivity: Prospects feel they are less productive with the product they are currently using
  • Ease of use: Prospects are finding the existing processes (of using a product or service) too complicated and they want an easier alternative – for example, a software that generates leads instantly, thereby easing the lead nurturing process

The idea is to take a clinical glance at the market. Is there a real need screaming out for you to start a business? If not, hatch another business idea. You don’t want to be a solution seeking a problem – the typical reason why many new businesses either close down or stagnate.


"If you can help other people get what they want, you can have what you want."


4. Assess the market size

You start a business with some concrete goals in mind, right? E.g. size of income you want to earn, number of customers you want to impact etc. Calculating market size will help you find if the market you are considering has enough potential to live up to your expectations.

E.g. you don’t want to get into an industry whose total size is 100 crores while your personal goal is to get to 125 crores. It is never going to happen.


5. Know your differentiators

The market today is spoilt for choice. Also, everybody is grappling with a dwindling attention span. It is this double whammy that makes it crucial for you to find out and work on your brand’s differentiators. To gain competitive advantage, differentiators must:

  • Be authentic and tangible for your customers to see and experience
  • Be substantial rather than cosmetic
  • Offer added value to your customers’ lives. Otherwise, why will they care?



Basis of differentiation


How can you do it differently?


Improved features | Performance and reliability upgrade | Durability | Longer warranty


Ease of ordering | Hassle-free delivery | Easier installation | thorough customer training


Wider coverage | Increased access to expertise


People-focused customer service efforts demonstrating competence and offering credibility, reliability and responsiveness


Novelty in communication (of the value proposition) and advertising leading to improved brand perception by customers


Attention to customer segmentation


6. Do you understand business functions?

Market rewards execution, not ideas. Your business plan is not just a lazy document designed only to on-board lenders and investors. Instead, it is an essential management tool as it guides you to take stock of aspects related to organizing and running your business.

In the crossfire of starting your business and attending to the nitty-gritty of product development, you might forget about executing business functions well. However, this is also what forces 4 out of 10 businesses to shut shop within the first seven years.

Strategizing is a one-time event, not a process. Yes, it is important, and you will have to revisit strategies occasionally. However, having a first-rate strategy but a mediocre execution of business functions (finance, marketing, human resources, technology and operations) is as good as not having a strategy at all.


In conclusion

Innovation is critical to entrepreneurial success -- Acknowledged. However, don’t let that intimidate you. Because unless you are doing something so revolutionary that could potentially disrupt the existing world order, trying to reinvent the wheel is mostly a waste of energy and resources.

Choosing the right business is all about following the science i.e. asking the right questions, being self-aware of your strengths and your choices, being authentic in identifying who (clients) you could help, and finally having the discipline and patience to follow through.


Bizstart ( is a virtual platform for aspiring business owners to help them decide what business they can start. You can study financial inputs required to start hundreds of businesses. You can also schedule calls with existing business owners to get all your pressing questions answered.