The first step in starting a small business is to decide what kind of business you want. You must have a process when brainstorming potential business ideas so you can find something that will fit best with your talents and resources. Consider certain factors like start-up capital, experience and time constraints when deciding on a business.
Outline the requirements of your business on paper or computer. This includes things like how much capital you will have available to start the business and whether you will be doing this business full-time or around your current job. Find a business you have experience or expert knowledge in.
Create a spreadsheet either on paper on in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel. Write each business idea you have down on each row. Across the top for the categories, write down “required time," “required startup capital," “type of business structure” and any other categories you want to add to help compare your different business ideas.
Read resources to get ideas. Warren Buffet was a genius at picking successful businesses and many books highlight his strategies like “The Warren Buffet Way” by Hagstrom. “Entrepreneur Magazine” has detailed information about the best franchises to buy.
Research hot trends of growing industries to see where there is the most growth potential. Many business magazines or Web sites, like “Forbes” magazine and “The Wall Street Journal” are filled with information about growing industries.
Run through the different kinds of business structures and write down businesses from each structure as you do your research. Some different kinds of business structures include home-based businesses, traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses, franchises and wholesalers.
Continue thinking of more businesses you are interested in and research each one to see what it involves. Fill every category for each business so after you have all your ideas down, you can make a good informed decision.