Florida has one of the biggest economies in the United States. Tourism and agriculture are two of the biggest and most famous industries. Florida is the 8th most densely populated state in the United States, with a tropical climate in the south. South Florida also boasts thriving financial services, aviation, life sciences, and technology sectors.
That said, COVID has hit South Florida hard. With tourism at a standstill, many of the public beautification projects underway in 2020 have halted. They are at the mercy of reviving the economy and some pivotal political decisions. With many workers and business owners unable to make ends meet within the tourism sector, unemployment has been an unfortunate consequence for thousands.
Work from Home
With the revival of tourism nowhere currently in sight, many now unemployed workers are looking to retrain. Others are considering the possibility of starting their own business. Now that the remote working model is proven to work in many sectors, the possibility of working from home has opened up many opportunities. The infrastructure is in place, tried, and tested, with the likes of Twitter stating that many employees can work from home permanently if they so choose. A remote business model is a prospect for many, thanks to the limited overheads mitigated financial risk.
This article will discuss how to come up with a business idea and establish a business. Please discuss any ideas with a local advisory agency or committee before investing any money. This article is for informational purposes only.
The starting point is often the sticking point. Maybe you know that you want to work for yourself but don’t know where to start. If this is the case, then there are a few strategies that you can use to come up with an idea.
One great way to come up with ideas is to head over to a website such as Reddit.com, Quora, or a Facebook Group covering a specific niche or industry and see what people are talking about.
What problems do people have? Is there a product or service that can help solve their problem?
With the same mindset, think about issues and annoyances that you might have each day. The phone answering company, Moneypenny, is now an international business because one of the founders missed an important business call. This issue became the catalyst for a successful business venture.
Amazon, Google, and Trustpilot reviews can also be great places to look. What issues and problems are people having with services and products? If you are thinking of starting a local business, look at the competitors in your area and look at the reviews and feedback – is there a gap in the market you can fill?
You can use Google and Twitter and search for ideas too. For example, you can search for “is there an app for” on Twitter and look at what everyone asks.
Exploding Topics is an excellent website for idea generation. It shows you what phrases are being searched for and what topics are up and coming. You can search by given niches, and this is a great way to spark relevant business ideas.
Another place to start is to make a list of all of your strengths, skills, abilities, and experiences. If your existing skillset doesn’t have a huge demand, think about skills you could learn within a month or two. For example, head over to Udemy.com and look at some digital marketing courses, SEO, and graphic design. If you are interested in anything technical, you could quite easily pick up these skills within a month of full-time study. Research the demand for these skills before investing your time and money by checking job boards and salaries. The more job vacancies listed and the higher the salaries, the more demand there is for a given skill set. Bear in mind that you may have to build up experience by helping out some people for free. On the positive, you can learn many technical skills for free either on Udemy or on YouTube. For example, see this complete WordPress web design course on YouTube. The Tyler Moore YouTube channel has some fantastic tutorials on it.
Once you have your idea, do some market research. This does not necessarily mean interviewing people and carrying out surveys; you can do much research online.
For example, as mentioned above, you can estimate the demand for a specific skill by looking on job websites and the number of vacancies and the salaries. More vacancies and higher wages tend to suggest that there is more demand.
You can also use a website called Google Trends. Let’s say you want to start a social media marketing company, type relevant phrases into Google Trends and see if the interest has gone up over time or down.
Next, head over to a website such as UberSuggest. Search for relevant phrases related to your business idea. For example, search for “social media marketing Florida” and see what level of search volume there is.
Also, check out how much the “cost per click” is for advertising on Google and the “SEO difficulty.” This will give you an indication of the competition and the demand.
Google Maps can also give you a good idea of the competition. With the social media marketing agency idea, you could search for digital marketing or social media marketing agencies in the South Florida area. See how many there are and check out their reviews – how can you improve on their service?
Having a business plan is an excellent idea for several reasons. It’s good to get everything organized and planned out. It can also help if you are looking for grants and support from local agencies.
By now, you should have your business idea and a gauge of the competition and the industry. Set aside a few hours and download a template from the Small Business Administration.
Most of the paperwork to start a business in Florida can now be done online.
You can use several websites, but sunbiz.org appears to be the one that charges the smallest fees.
You should see a section on the left-hand side, “Filing Services.” If you are looking to start a limited liability company – an LLC – then click on “New Florida LLC.”
You will probably need a printed copy of the registration details to open a business account in the business name.
This YouTube video does an excellent job of walking you through the process of submitting the paperwork online. Here is another video that’s worth checking out before you register your business too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJYn1LgFVQc
Help is at Hand
Before investing any money or a significant amount of time into your business idea, it’s always recommended that you speak to a local agency that can advise you.
The SBDC Florida is a great website that contains databases full of useful information. It can also help with networking, training, and capital access. Check out their website here.
Starting your own business can be rewarding and lucrative but it is also hard work. Be prepared, do your research and always look for advice – especially when it is on offer for free!
A great starting point is to brainstorm some ideas, draft a business plan and get in touch with a local organization such as SBDC Florida.