The 10/10/10 Plan for Identifying Your New Business

The following guest post is by Scott Quitter of A Couple of Quitters.

There is a growing interest in starting small businesses. So many people want to start businesses but don’t know how exactly to begin. Although there are many steps, from start to finish, that will need to be taken before your business is fully viable, here is something you can try and see if it will kick-start your progress and get you past the first step–identifying what business you want to start.

The 10/10/10 Plan


  1. Make a list of 10 areas of interest or things you are passionate about.
  2. Select your top item from the list and make a list of 10 ways to produce, promote, package, sell, or provide this as a business.
  3. Select your top method from the list, and then make a list of 10 action steps you can take to move forward with your plan.

This may seem like a simple method, and it is really. But the results of a simple method are sometimes easier to achieve because you haven’t overcomplicated everything along the way. The great thing is, you can easily repeat the process until you’ve found your true inspiration. Let’s take a more detailed look at each step.

Wedge Barrel.3

photo credit: tylerdurden1

Step 1

The first place to start is by identifying several areas where your skills, interests and passions are. Look to your childhood and adult hobbies. Also, is there a common theme among the books you read or the movies you watch that could provide a clue? Are there any careers that you’ve always been drawn to but had obstacles preventing you from pursuing them? Many times, even if you don’t have the specific qualifications, you can still find ways to provide a service in that field. Here’s an illustration:

Meredith always regretted not becoming a teacher. Now, with three children to care for, she doesn’t want to go back to college but still wishes she could fulfill this latent desire. One evening she received a phone call from her youngest child’s school. Since Meredith had arranged a few field trips for her daughter’s class, they asked her if she wouldn’t mind arranging something for the week of the Independence Day holiday. She was thrilled about making arrangements because she enjoyed the process and always attended the field trips with her daughter.

Meredith recognized a connection between her passion for organizing school field trips, the educational component, and her longing to teach children. The result was she started a field trip company. Teachers would call and request a field trip that would fit a specific grade level, curriculum, and occasion. Meredith would make all the arrangements and create a curriculum plan based on the location for the field trip and deliver the package to the teacher. It was a lot of work but she loved every minute of it…and she got paid to do what she loved.

Brainstorms at INDEX: Views

photo credit: Jacob Bøtter

Step 2

After you select your top item from the list, begin to brainstorm how you can provide or distribute your service or product. Sometimes, the answers you list may be very broad because you don’t have enough knowledge or information to be more specific. That’s okay. Just list 10 ideas to the best of your ability. You can refine it in step 3. Don’t worry about writing down silly answers. In today’s market, people are getting more and more creative in how they deliver their product or service.

Motion Blur Frozen

photo credit: Mariano Kamp

Step 3

By this step, you’ve already identified your top service or product and you’ve selected your favorite method of delivery. Next, make a list of 10 action step that will help you progress with your business idea. You may consider contacting your area Small Business Association or find a local entrepreneur group that may be meeting regularly. Perhaps one step would be to write down specific product ideas for your business, services you might provide, or make a list of people who you may want to email or contact for more information. Perhaps you would like more information about your method of providing a service or distributing your product. Researching any area where you need more information may also need to go on your list.

Once you have a list of 10 action steps, try to take one action today. Don’t wait. If you start right away, you’ll be more likely to follow through than if you put if off for a few days. You can repeat the 10/10/10 Plan as many times as you need to. You can even adapt this plan to help you explore any action steps in more detail. Or once you’ve chosen the main area of interest that you would want to base a new business around, you can make a list of 10 niche areas in which to further refine or specialize your service or product. This plan is a great way to get your creative business ideas flowing.

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