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There is a distinction between an idea and an opportunity. Many people have good business ideas, but the idea may not be a viable business opportunity with potential for success. Careful research, evaluation, and preparation of a business plan will separate the real business opportunities from casual ideas. There are many innovative techniques for finding business ideas and opportunities. But before you start your search make sure that you have completed a detailed self-assessment. This will help you to find opportunities suited to your lifestyle needs. Here are some sources of information to consider:

Books. There are numerous books available which detail business opportunities that can be started with minimum financing (i.e., about $500 to $1,000). Check with your public library and local bookstores to see if these books are available.

Magazines and newspapers. Read your daily and community newspapers to become aware of trends locally, provincially and nationally. National magazines which cover small businesses are Profit, Entrepreneur, Venture, Inc. and Income Opportunities. Check at your local newsstand.

Trade and business associations. Almost every type of business has a professional or trade association which you may wish to check into. The association could be local, provincial, national, or international in scope. Check in the Yellow Pages under “Associations” for ones that interest you. In addition, check with your local library for directories that list associations in Canada and the United States.

Government Business Resource Centres. Check out the excellent business resource centres in your province. Look in the blue pages of your phone book, under your Provincial Government, and then under the Small Business Department. Look for the closest Canada/Provincial Business Services Centre.

Public libraries. Your public library is an invaluable source of business ideas, opportunities, and information. The business reference librarian will help you gain access to an extensive range of information relevant to your business interest. Many public libraries depending on the size of the community, have a full range of business-related books, catalogues, directories, trade publications, magazines, and newspapers.

Trade shows/conventions. Trade shows can be an excellent way to examine the products and services of many of your potential competitors. You will have an opportunity to meet distributors, franchise companies, and sales representatives. You will also learn of product and market trends, and identify potential products or services for your small business venture. You will find trade show information in the trade magazines servicing your particular field. Also look at the annual directories that publish a listing of trade shows in Canada and the United States. Trade shows also offer an excellent opportunity to stimulate creative thinking. You are exposed to speakers, panellists, and displays. You also have an opportunity to exchange ideas with other people attending.

Travel and hobbies. Whenever you travel, look for business ideas and opportunities. Many services and products may not have been introduced into Canada. You may be able to negotiate exclusive or non-exclusive Canadian distribution rights for a product. Alternatively, you may wish to duplicate, with modification and improvements, the product or service. Think of the areas relating to your hobbies or leisure activities where you believe a need exists. You might be able to devise creative ways of meeting those needs.

In summary, when you are looking for potentially profitable opportunities, it is helpful to review some of the main categories of business opportunities:

* Providing an information or consulting service

* Identifying new opportunities arising from your current business

* Becoming an agent, supplier, or distributor for someone else’s service or product

* Taking existing local products to new markets within Canada

* Transferring concepts from one industry to another

* Buying an existing business or franchise

* Imitating successful services or products

* Becoming an agent or distributor for a product imported into Canada

* Inventing a new product

* Capitalizing on a growth trend

* Solving someone else’s problem

* Rebuilding, repairing, or adding to an existing product or service

* Identifying specific target groups and customizing services or products for their needs

* Exporting Canadian products to other countries

* Finding productive uses for waste materials

* Catering to a market that is no longer being serviced

* Replacing imported products

* Targeting a small portion of a large market

Don’t forget to invite the candid input of friends and relatives on how good a fit the business concept is for you. Inquire from those in the industry on the viability and need for the business.

Copyright © 2021 , Douglas Gray, LL.B. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of the material contained in this website is strictly prohibited. E&OE (Errors and Omissions Excepted). Please refer to Copyright and Disclaimer at bottom of website page. Refer to Books section for related information.


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