We hear it all the time… “I don’t know how to get startup ideas!!!”
The scene is sometimes romanticized by profiles about successful entrepreneurs: the keen observation is jotted down on scribbled paper. A spontaneous conversation putting everything together for a good reason. This is where it begins. Next thing, you’re listening to their story of how they got their startup idea on your favorite successful founders podcast…
The stories seem to suggest that the only way to succeed in entrepreneurship is to wait to be smitten. And it is precisely what happens during those mythological entrepreneurs’ epiphanies. But in the retelling of these fantastic success stories, the most messy parts are sometimes lost.
Some successful startups may spring from a brilliant idea that strikes like a bolt of lightening, jolting unsuspecting future founders onto their entrepreneurial path, but if you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who is not waiting around to be struck.
You are a future founder in search of a good idea…
The good news is that not every initial idea for a new business starts with divine inspiration. Many business owners, like yourself, begin with the dream of becoming the founder of a successful business, and then they intentionally evaluate ideas that can be turned into a thriving business model.
But first, you must get clear on your goals
The first step is to get clear about what you want out of becoming a business owner. This process begins with some self-reflection to assess your passions, interests, skills, and core values. Once you have a good understanding of what motivates you, it will be much easier to identify ideas that fit with your personal goals. There are a lot of interesting things to work on, but they must be able to turn into a business that makes sense for you, and that will fit into your life in order for it to feel like a success.
So many founders forget the bigger picture. They identify a pain point and a target client or a market segment that needs a solution. They get on the founder track, they may even raise startup funding and eventually become a big business. But, if your great idea turns into a business that doesn’t have a clear path to meet your own needs, then it’s probably not a good idea for you.
That’s why your first idea may not ultimately be the right one for you to follow.
Some questions you can ask yourself during this process include:
– What am I passionate about?
– What problems do I want to solve?
– What needs am I seeing in the world that are not being met?
– What would I do with my time if money was not an issue?
– What unique skills and talents do I have to offer?
– What do I value most in life?
Your answers to these questions will give you a good starting point for evaluating startup ideas that are in alignment with your personal goals.
So how to get startup ideas for your own business?
Here are 10 ways to come up with the perfect startup idea:
1. Go out and talk to people
This is probably the most important piece of advice for how to get startup ideas, and eventually find the perfect one for you. Too often, people sit in front of their computer screens and try to come up with the perfect startup idea in their heads. But the chances of that happening are slim to none.
The best way to come up with a great startup idea is to go out and talk to people. See what problems they’re facing in their everyday lives and try to come up with a solution that can be turned into a business. This is called customer development, and it’s the best way to validate your idea and ensure that you’re solving a real problem.
Read more about Startup Sales Strategy.
2. Look for problems that need to be solved
The world is full of problems waiting to be solved. And some of those problems are more pressing than others. A great way to get startup ideas is to look for problems that need to be solved.
Ideally, you want to find a problem that’s big enough to be worth solving but small enough that you can actually do something about it. Once you’ve found a problem worth solving, the next step is to come up with a solution.
3. Identify a trend and ride it
One of the best ways to come up with a great startup idea is to identify a trend and ride it. This doesn’t mean you have to come up with a completely new idea, but rather, find a way to improve upon an existing one.
For example, when the fitness craze started taking off a few years ago, there was a huge opportunity for businesses that could help people get in shape. And that’s exactly what a number of successful startups did.
4. Be passionate about your idea
If you’re going to be working on your startup ideas for the long haul, it’s important to be passionate about it. This doesn’t mean you have to be in love with the idea, but you should at least be excited about it.
The reason passion is important is because it’s going to be the driving force behind your business. If you’re not passionate about your idea, it’s going to be very difficult to get through the tough times.
5. Find a niche market
One of the best ways to come up with a great startup idea is to find a niche market. This is a group of people who have a specific problem that needs to be solved.
For example, when the online dating craze started, there was an opportunity for businesses that could help people find their perfect match. And that’s exactly what a number of successful startups did.
6. Look for white space
In the business world, “white space” refers to a market that’s not being served by any businesses. This is an opportunity to come up with a new idea and fill the void.
To find white space, all you need to do is look for problems that haven’t been solved or markets that aren’t being served. Once you’ve found a problem or market that’s not being served, the next step is to come up with a solution.
7. Be different
In today’s crowded marketplace, it’s important to be different. This doesn’t mean you have to come up with a completely new idea, but rather, find a way to stand out from the crowd.
One way to be different is to focus on a niche market. This is a group of people who have a specific problem that needs to be solved. By focusing on a niche market, you can provide a solution that’s tailored to their needs.
8. Think big
When it comes to startup ideas, it’s important to think big. This doesn’t mean you have to come up with a world-changing idea, but rather, an idea that has the potential to grow into something big.
One way to think big is to focus on a problem that’s big enough to be worth solving. This is a problem that’s not only affecting a large number of people but also has the potential to grow.
In today’s world, there’s a lot of noise and clutter. And in the midst of all that noise, it can be hard to stand out. One way to cut through the clutter is to simplify your idea.
This doesn’t mean you have to come up with a completely new idea, but rather, find a way to make your idea simpler. This can be anything from streamlining your product to making your message more clear.
10. Buy someone else’s idea
Another option is to buy startup ideas from a university through Technology transfer offices. This is one way to get your hands on some of the best ideas out there.
What is a technology transfer office?
A technology transfer office (TTO) is a university department that helps commercialize the research that’s being done at the school. This includes everything from patenting inventions to licensing technologies.
If you’re interested in buying startup ideas from a university, then you should contact the TTO. They can help connect you with the right people and resources.
These are just a few of the many ways you can come up with a great startup idea. The most important thing is to keep brainstorming and thinking outside the box. And eventually, you’ll find an idea that’s worth pursuing.
Once I have an idea, How can I turn it into a business?
Now that you’ve come up with your brilliant idea, what’s next? How can you develop a viable business? It’s all good to have a company concept in mind, turning it into a business plan can be a different thing.
What’s important to remember is that a lot of businesses have been created from very simple ideas. Sometimes, it takes more than just a good idea to succeed as an entrepreneur. It takes grit, determination, and a willingness to risk everything for your dream. If you have what it takes, then take the plunge and turn your startup idea into reality with these nine tips:
1. Research your idea
The first step is to research your idea. This includes everything from understanding the market to competitive analysis. By doing this, you’ll be able to validate your idea and make sure there’s a demand for it.
2. Create a business plan
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to create a business plan. This is a document that outlines your business concept, financial projections, and how you plan on making your idea a reality.
3. Find the right team
No entrepreneur is successful alone. You need to find the right team of people to help you turn your idea into a reality. This includes everything from co-founders to developers to designers. Read more about building your team here.
4. Build a prototype
One of the best ways to validate your idea is to build a prototype. This will give you an opportunity to test your concept and see if it’s something people will actually use.
5. Project your cash flow
A critical part of any business plan is projecting your cash flow for the first year. This will give you an idea of how much money you need to get started and how much you can expect to make in the first 12 months.
6. Get funding
If you don’t have the financial resources to get started, you’ll need to raise money from investors. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as crowdfunding, pitching to venture capitalists and/or angel investors. SBA loans and startup business lines of credit may also be options for some businesses.
7. Launch your business
After you’ve done all the preparation, it’s time to launch your business. This is when you’ll start marketing your product or service and begin generating revenue.
8. Get feedback
Finally, it’s important to get feedback from customers and users. This will help you improve your product or service and make sure you’re on the right track.
9. Be Persistent
Finally, it’s important to be persistent. This is something that all successful entrepreneurs have in common. They didn’t give up on their idea, even when things got tough.
If you’re going to be successful, you need to have the same mindset. You can’t give up on your idea just because it gets difficult. You need to push through the tough times and continue to work towards your goal.
For information on forming your business entity, read C Corp vs. LLC: Which Structure Is Right for Your Startup?
These are just a few of the many ways you can come up with a great startup idea. Keep brainstorming and thinking outside the box. And eventually, you’ll find an idea that’s worth pursuing. Once you have an idea, research it, create a business plan, and find the right team to help you turn it into a reality.
Remember, it takes more than just a good idea to be successful as an entrepreneur. If you have what it takes, then go out and make your dream a reality.
Take it from me, it’s not easy. But it can be done. I never thought that I’d be able to build an 8-figure business that I would sell so that I could retire in my thirties. Until the day that I decided that maybe I could…
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful business too.