How to find the right business opportunity to suit youWorking for yourself, doing something you enjoy and being in control of your work-life balance is not an uncommon dream that many people have at least thought about.

However, starting your own business can be a daunting prospect and a risk that most people never end up taking. Fear of failure or not having the right idea often prevents would-be entrepreneurs from taking that first step.

But being your own boss doesn’t have to be difficult. Assuming you’ve already created your life plan, you should ask yourself the following questions when deciding what type of business would suit you.

What is your passion?

Job satisfaction is often a reason why many people look to start their own business. Is there a product or service that you are passionate enough about that you wouldn’t get bored selling it? Do you understand why people would part with money for it and do you have the skills to sell it? You shouldn’t just look to start a business based on profit potential, but what will truly interest you in the long term.

What are you good at?

Now take that idea and ask yourself whether you have the skills to build a business from it. No one has to be a jack of all trades, but any good entrepreneur will ensure they utilise the best of their skills while learning the ones they don’t have from others.

Will it work?

Firstly, there has to be a demand for the product or service you intend to sell and secondly, there has to be a unique selling point. Looking at what kind of competition you would have is a good place to start to find this out. Having competition is healthy (if there isn’t any then ask yourself why) and can help you to set a benchmark to surpass. Do your research and find a gap in the market. Maybe it’s down to location or the method of sale, or perhaps you can offer a better product at a lower price.

Can you afford it?

All new businesses require an initial investment. Even if it’s something you start from home on a part time basis, you’re still investing your own time. To take a business idea to the next level you need to work out how much it will cost you versus the profit you could make (and the latter is unlikely to happen straight away). What materials do you need? Will you need premises? How much is the business insurance? What tools do you need to sell it? Can you do it alone or will you need to employ people immediately?

If, after answering all of these questions you still feel confident, then it’s time to start drafting your business plan. However, if you have come to the conclusion that there isn’t a market for your product or service or your idea is not strong enough, then do not despair. There are still business opportunities out there for you. This is why the more research you carry out, the more likely you are to come across something that is right for you.

Why not join a franchise?

If you like the idea of being in business for yourself but not by yourself, then becoming a franchisee could suit you. Based on tried, tested and proven models, there are a wide variety of franchises available at different investment levels and in different industries. They give you the opportunity to start your own business but with the support of an existing network of franchisees. What’s more, 90% of franchises are profitable within two years whereas only 10% of new businesses survive the same period according to the 2012 Natwest Franchise Survey.