Finding a new business opportunity lead is the starting point for many would-be entrepreneurs and seasoned business persons alike. It can be one of the most enjoyable parts of setting up a business (excepting for when the money comes in of course!) and can also be one of the most frustrating. Get it right and you can replace your current day job or add a valuable income stream to your current portfolio of businesses – get it wrong and you can waste a lot of time, money and energy for nothing.

It seems that some people have a gift for spotting money making ideas that will work. However, most of us need some assistance in finding business opportunity leads. The best tool is the Internet as it is crammed full of all sorts of business ideas, good and bad. To find one that is suitable for you takes some care and an element of luck.

The worst thing that you can do is to surf aimlessly round the web. You will simply be entering search items that interest you and are not necessarily money orientated. Or, you might enter words like: home business opportunity lead. In this case you will be presented with a whole range of sites selling businesses purporting to be able to make you money. This is where care is needed.

I would advise a minimum of three phases of research that are needed to get anywhere near a business that will stand a chance of working for you:

1. Your initial trawl through the Internet using the broad search terms for finding an “ideal business opportunity” or a “profitable business idea” etc will result an a wide range of different subject areas for businesses. On the face of it the marketing hype will probably sound enticing for all of them. However, you must now sift through all these ideas carefully. Make a simple spreadsheet that sets out some details including:

  • web site address
  • business name
  • type of business
  • investment required
  • initial estimate of resources needed (your time, extra staff, special equipment etc)
  • references provided by the marketing site
  • initial assessment – good/uncertain/poor or something similar based on your initial reaction

2. Once you have spent time amassing your initial ideas, you need to first reject all the bad ones obviously, and then to collate the rest into categories of the different types of business leads. Now your second search will be on these category names and any associated relationships you can think of. This will allow you to thoroughly find out about the different business ideas and become more knowledgeable about the general feasibility of starting a new business in a particular industry or niche. Examples of the closely associated nature of the different categories can be found within Internet Marketing:

  • article marketing
  • keyword research
  • affiliate marketing
  • search engine optimization

Each of these areas will be associated with a number of different marketing web sites offering you the chance to set up your own business and make money. They will now form your business opportunity lead list that you can further refine, excluding any that form part of an industry that you do not think would be suitable for you. For example, you might have a number of categories representing several business offers in the world of network marketing. They will generally require strong networking skills and some people do not like this.

3. After these two phases of research you will hopefully be left with a short list of perhaps one or two categories within a single industry area. Now comes the detailed checking of the companies that are offering you business leads in these areas. Not only must you carry out more detailed checking – for example by re-entering each business name into Google and sifting through as many of the results as you can, but also carry out as much further research around the central subject as you can.

I was in the position recently where I wanted to add an income stream to my portfolio and had time to carry out the research. I narrowed my options down using the first two stages until I had only one idea I was interested in pursuing. Just for the sake of this article – let us call the company “Prime Widget Co” – and it was attempting to sell me a subscription to a course that instructed me how to sell “widgets” over the Internet. I was hooked on the idea and was now ready to do my third stage of research. On entering “Prime Widget Co” into the search engine I received a lot of hits for similar companies selling widgets and similar products. About half way down the first page one result came up for “…is the Prime Widget Co a scam…?”

In this case the web site was actually a customer of the Prime Widget Co and was extolling their virtues – however, I could have been on to something! What I was able to do was contact the site owner (it was a blog site and allowed contact easily through the comments feedback forms) and ask him about the business. He was positive and guided me to a couple of forum sites where the company was being discussed. I found a lot of balanced information in this way.

When you are in the market for business opportunity lead generation the best tool to assist you is the Internet. You might be able to supplement your research with books and magazines, but the Internet will always offer more current and up to date information. However, you must carry out your due diligence investigation into new business ideas, ensuring that you learn as much about the business as you can. If you follow a methodical three stage approach as detailed above, this will act as a checklist and hopefully help you reach your goal safely, that is a business idea that will make you money!

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