How to find a business idea from your personal experience

Grain is a custom woodworking business founded by entrepreneur, Tom Gelinas of Windsor, ON as a result of his own experience. “It really started when I began purchasing furniture for myself. I quickly realized that everything I was buying was being imported from oversees, and often the quality reflected that. I knew that I could build something better. I had been woodworking for many years and had honed my talents by constructing built-ins and kitchens. This had built my understanding of wood and finishing. After gaining experience while apprenticing with a Master Craftsman, I was ready to offer my customers something we could both be proud of.” As with many successful business owners, Gelinas saw a gap in the marketplace and filled it with his unique and top quality products.

Gelinas offered that working with wood had always been his passion. “We manufacture custom cabinets, custom trim, dining room tables, side tables, and built-ins. There are three key things that enable me to stand out among of my competitors. Specific joinery that I use to build a quality cabinet that will last. These techniques are not commonly used among my competition. The material that I use is thicker and stronger than current standards resulting in a quality product. My business is customer focused in that we offer one point of contact; me.” Gelinas personally sees to the attention of detail from the customer to the finished product.

Although only in business for a few months, Gelinas is already seeing that he was correct in assessing his market and filling a need in the woodworking sector. You may see some opportunities to bridge a gap in business, too, but be cautious and use the following questions as a template to assess the viability of your idea.

Is the market real?

Customer analysis – Surveys or attempting to answer: Who the customer is? What do they want to buy? What price are they willing to pay for that?
Competitor analysis – Which else is in this market? What are they doing for the customers? Are they supplying a similar substitute for what idea you have in mind? Is this industry growing or shrinking?

Is the product/service real?

Is this industry growing or shrinking?

Can I be the best at this market?

What are the risks?

Are there any barriers to entry?

Financial risks?

How can you create barriers so imitation is not prevalent?

Is it worth it?

Is it an attractive industry?

Regulations that you would be subjected to?

Gelinas notes that being in business for yourself, even with a great idea, can be taxing, but he adds, “I love creating and building. It is really inspiring to see a customer say they love what I have made them. Truly rewarding.”

Name: Tom Gelinas
Business Name: Grain Woodcrafting
Location: 1428 Argyle Rd Unit 4, Windsor, Ontario


One response to “How to find a business idea from your personal experience

  1. I agree that it’s heartwarming to hear a customer say good things about what you give to them. It makes you want to continue doing what you’re doing, and it also makes you want to be even better at that. One of the good things about starting something using your experience is that you don’t have to study a lot about it. If you’ve done it for a long time, it means that you must have some sort of love for that thing you’re doing. A lot of entrepreneurs are starting up that way; making money out of something that they love to do.

    = Gerald Martin, White Label SEO =

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