Some people have a very clear idea of what they want their business to be. Maybe you have identified a gap in the market for a particular product or service that you know you can provide.
Or perhaps you want to set up a business but don't have a definite idea of what you want to sell. Whichever is the case it's important that you develop a well-defined product or service before you launch into setting up a business.
You need to be sure that you can offer the market something different, or better or cheaper. Good market research is the cornerstone of developing a sound business idea - see market research and market reports.
Invest NI's Business Information Centre has extensive market research and worldwide company directories that you can use.
If you don't have a definite idea, our business idea profile tool provides information on over 600 small business trades, sectors and professions.
Women are now setting up and running successful businesses in sectors that were once considered male territory, such as construction and IT. Equality of opportunity in these areas has been promoted through professional bodies and trade organisations. Search the Trade Association Forum's directory of trade associations.
You may find it helpful to identify a mentor from within the sector that you have chosen, who can be a role model and adviser - see benefits of business mentoring.
Women in Business (WIB) offer a free mentoring programme and may be able to connect you to someone from your sector.