Conducting thorough market research on your field and demographics of potential clientele is an important part of crafting a business plan. This involves conducting surveys, holding focus groups and researching SEO and public data. A guide to conducting market research can be found on our sister site, Business.com. It's also a good idea to consider an exit strategy as you compile your business plan. Generating some of idea of how you'll eventually exit the business forces you to look to the future.
To canvass for ideas, we teamed up with Adams Business (a unit of F+W Media), publisher of The Start Your Own Business Bible, released this month. The book contains 501 "new ventures you can launch today," each with its own breakdown---including the startup funding required (as little as $500 in some cases), an overview of the product or service, the typical fee structure, initial equipment needed, hidden costs, operational tips and more---to give budding entrepreneurs an idea of what they're getting into. (Author Richard Walsh was unavailable for comment.)
"In the words of Simon Sinek, 'always start with why,'" said Glenn Gutek, CEO of Awake Consulting and Coaching. "It is good to know why you are launching your business. In this process, it may be wise to differentiate between [whether] the business serves a personal why or a marketplace why. When your why is focused on meeting a need in the marketplace, the scope of your business will always be larger than a business that is designed to serve a personal need."
As someone who's been immersed in a number of online industries for quite some time, I know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this arena. However, just like you, I started at ground zero with little knowledge, but a great deal of passion. What I learned along the way were some invaluable lessons from failure that hurt at the time, but helped immensely in the grand scheme of things.