How To Come Up With A Business Idea

Everything starts with an idea. The great businesses of today were at some point nothing else than a vague idea. This article summarises a number of concepts and ideas that can help you to generate a new business idea. 

What is a business idea?

A successful business requires nothing more than a few basic ingredients. It usually starts with a problem. A problem could be anything people are struggling with. Anything that is not ideal or not being run the way it should be, causing loss of time, energy and/ or money. The problem needs to be real. It can not be made up only to serve your idea. A real problem is crucial to define if there will be demand for your service/ product.

Problem + Solution + Availability/ Payment = Business Idea

In the essence, an idea is nothing more than a solution that addresses a real problem. The solution usually takes the form of a service or product that people are a) interested in and b) willing to pay for. Creating and activating your solution will of course take time. There are many steps between coming up with a business idea and actually running a successful business. Ideally, the idea would thus relate to a skill or passion, something you especially like or are particularly good at. Something that keeps you motivated. Lastly, there needs to be a way to make the solution available to your future customers. And to get paid in exchange for the product/ service you have developed.

Inspiration is all around you. A couple of tips how to generate good business ideas

The good news is you don’t need to be very creative to come up with a business idea. Anyone can come up with an idea and write their own success story. The tips in this section should help to get inspiration. As a general rule, ideas flow easier when you are relaxed. Probably, you have come up with great ideas in the past while least expecting it. If you struggle to find ideas try to relax and take a step back. Great ideas are abundant. Be present in the moment, inspiration is all around you. Start thinking about what is going on around you. The world is changing every day. With change comes opportunity in the shape of new inefficiencies, needs and problems. Problems that you may be able to solve.

To help you brainstorm think about the following:

Everyday Problem… Solved. In the end, any good business idea is nothing else than something that solves a problem. Think about what frustrates you on a day-to-day basis. Where do you struggle? What does not seem right? Chances are you are not the only one who feels this way. Try to think about ways to improve the situation or solve the problem.

Explore Something New. The combination of your upbringing, jobs, hobbies and interests all result in a unique skill set. Think about new ways to use these skills. What do you enjoy doing? How can you combine your skills to create a new offer/ product? If your idea is to build on something you especially like you will be more invested in the business.

One More Thing. Technology is changing the face of the world. New products are launched every day. Think about what might become the next big thing. What gadgets are trending right now? Is there some technology that impressed you recently? Is there an opportunity to create offers around these gadgets/ technologies?

Same Same. Existing products can be a great source of inspiration. Innovation is not equally spread. Some industries will see major change every couple of years. Others might not see changes in decades. Think about products or services that have remained the same for many years. How could change look like? Is there anything missing? What could improve the current core product/ offer?

Cheaper. It does not always have to be something new. The price of a product/ service is usually derived from the cost to produce/ create the offer plus a markup/ profit. Think about more cost-effective ways to create the same offer. How and where could you save cost? Are there better ways to create the same offer?

1 + 1 = Success. Combining two or more existing offers have led to some successful business ideas. Think about what products/ services would work well together. What products/ services complement each other? How could you add value by combing these products/ services? To be successful the new offer has to have a benefit outweighing the existing offers.

Think Small. Established companies will usually compete for the biggest or most profitable part of the pie. New products are specifically created for their defined consumer target groups. Think about people who do not yet enjoy certain products. Do you know people who would pay a lot of money for a product not available to them? Is there a way to tweak/ further develop an existing offer to make it accessible to a new group of consumers? Try to think about ways to cater for the need of profitable consumer segments not yet served by established companies.

Ask. Listen. Talk. Ever wondered what other people are struggling with? Being present can be a great source of inspiration. If you are interested in tennis racquets, for example, it might be a great idea to spend some time in a sporting goods store. Just observe, listen to shoppers and take note of the challenges they face. Ask them what they are missing in existing offers. What frustrates them? What are the most common complaints they express? You can also read reviews and blogs to get a better idea of problems surrounding existing offers/ services.

Above is just some food for thought. In the end, only you can come up with the right idea. So, grab a paper and pen and start writing. What are the first ten ideas that come to your mind?

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