How do You Find Niche Ideas for Starting a Business?

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I have been doing a lot of brainstorming lately on opening up an eCommerce website as a new source of income. For some time, I thought retail arbitrage was the way to go when it came to selling items online. However, after selling a few items on eBay a couple months ago – I realized that this type of income stream was not for me.

Retail arbitrage as an income stream doesn’t follow the characteristics of the Money Sprout Blueprint. For example, this type of selling does not seem to be sustainable. Relying heavily on external forces you cannot control is not a sustainable business model. I have been burned in the past by relying on a third party site (i.e. eHow) for income generation. I will not make that same mistake again!

Instead of selling items on eBay or through Amazon’s fulfillment program, I am focusing on building my own eCommerce store. The first step in this process is to decide on a profitable niche. Historically, narrowing down a niche is something I have struggled with in the past.

It doesn’t matter if it is for an eCommerce site that sells a product or an informational site – I struggle coming up with niche ideas. Either I have difficulties getting started brainstorming ideas or talk myself out of the other ones I come up with.

Note – The same can be said about coming up with post ideas for this site and for my freelance writing jobs – I struggle brainstorming ideas. The hardest part of writing for me is coming up topics and ideas.

If you are having problems coming up with niche ideas to start a business, you are not alone. Here are a few of the ways I am building a list of 100+ niche ideas to get me started.

5 Ways to Brainstorm Niche Ideas

Here are a five techniques I have been using to build a list of possible niche ideas for my eCommerce business. If you have any that work for you – please send me an email or leave a comment.

1 – Search Engine Tools – In the past I have done a lot of research using the Google Keyword Tool (now called Keyword Planner) for informational sites. Search engine tools provide a way to see what people are looking for online – whether it be information or a product.

2 – eBay and Amazon – Competing with eBay and Amazon would be impossible. However, that isn’t to say you can’t find niche ideas from what is selling on those sites. I have been searching the categories and sub-categories on sites like eBay to see what people are buying for possible ideas.

3 – Acquaintances – I have started to pay more attention to problems that friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family are talking about. What problems are they having? Are they looking for a product they can’t seem to find? These real, everyday life problems that people face seem to be a potential goldmine of niche ideas for a site.

4 – Specialty Shops – What type of specialty stores are found in your city? These are the types of stores that are selling items you can’t buy at WalMart. For example, there is an old fashioned candy store that just opened up in the town where I live. Neat little store that sells things you can’t find elsewhere. While selling candy online doesn’t appeal to me, these type of specialty shops can help build niche ideas.

5 – My Life – Just like listening to the problems my friends and family are having, I am starting to think more about my own problems. For example, I have several Paleo diet recipes I have been wanting to try that call for unsweetened shredded coconut. Guess what? I can’t find it anywhere around where I live. I can find sweetened at most stores but nothing that is unsweetened. All of the local grocery chains don’t carry it – neither does Trader Joe’s. The only place I have found to buy it is online at Amazon.

Note – I cannot take credit for a few of the techniques listed above. The ideas to look at eBay categories and specialty stores came from reading the following eBook – Profitable eCommerce which I highly recommend.

Final Thoughts

I doubt that I will be starting an online store that sells unsweetened shredded coconut anytime soon. However, it is a product that is hard for me to find. I am sure there is a local grocery store around that sells it but I need to spend my valuable time finding it. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just find it easily online from a reputable vendor that sells similar products?

There are plenty of ways to get started building a list of possible niche ideas for your business. I have listed the 5 I am currently using but there are certainly more.

How do you find niche ideas for your business or blog?

Photo Credit: Thin Glass (Tweet @humanpilot) via Compfight cc

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