From Jeff Bezos to Elon Musk, it is tempting to believe that all successful entrepreneurs are born with an innate ability to innovate. However, in reality, anyone who is brilliant at noticing previously unnoticed opportunities can build a great business out of it (1).
And an idea is the first thing you need when starting a business.
Now, where do you get an idea? Here are different hacks you can use to come up with an idea for starting your next business.
Myths and Misconceptions Around Business Ideas
According to a serial entrepreneur, over 70% of business opportunities are yet to be found (2).
While there is a sea of opportunities all around us, we often fight to find new business opportunities. Why? Because there is no blueprint or recipe to find new opportunities.
There is no proven way to find a new business idea. The way you or someone else found your last profitable business opportunity will most likely not work again. It is because the world we live in today is just too volatile.
Hence, there are some myths and misconceptions about your next business idea that we would like to set aside for you (3).
- You do not need the blockbuster business idea of the century to create a successful business.
- You do not need to find the next automobile, the next light bulb, the next fuel source, or the next spaceship.
- Your idea does not need to be complex, and it does not have to be new.
- Your idea does not need to be free of competitors. It is alright if it has several direct competitors. It is all about how to differentiate your business; then, you can successfully compete.
- Not all business ideas are equal; some small business ideas are more likely to succeed than others.
More often than not, finding a new business opportunity is about unfastening existing things to existing markets in brand new ways. Yes, finding a business opportunity is about creating new things. However, if only you pull back the curtain a bit, you will realize that it is not only about building things; it is also about convincing others that they need those things.
That’s the middle process, and that’s what we mean when we talk about finding new business ideas.
Understanding the Process of Finding New Business Opportunities
The process of creating new business ideas are divided into three modes (4):
- Changes in technology
- Changes in the market
- Changes in the way technology get to the market
Most of them, about 80%, happen in the third category, with existing technologies reaching existing markets in new and innovative ways.
When you think about making way for some of the major shifts happening at the moment, or where are the next big opportunities in the future, yes, you can look at new markets, but as we noted, More often than not, finding a new business opportunity is about unfastening existing things to existing markets in brand new ways.
That is especially crucial now, as we foray into what James Chin Moody, a former space engineer-turned-entrepreneur, refers to as the “sixth wave of innovation,” or “phygital,” where the digital and physical worlds are turning more interconnected (5).
The Time is Terrific to Start a New Business
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the world is drastically changing, and it is changing fast. Changes often favor new businesses and new entrepreneurs.
The most obvious changes impact the business industry in a big way, such as advances in mobile internet, high-speed internet connectivity, new-age technology, social media, and much more (6).
Moreover, we are also amid a massive ramp-up in demand for personalization, services, and customization. All of these changes are calling opportunities for new entrepreneurs (7).
Never before have we witnessed things so easy for even small businesses to achieve mass distribution and recognition nationwide or even globally. There have never been so many services, support networks, and intermediaries that make it effortless than ever to launch and succeed at a business.
In short, it is the right time for you to take something in the natural world and start to find its digital counterpart.
But, How Do You Choose a Business Idea?
We suggest you start creating a list of all possible business opportunities. You can include business ideas that may excite you and those you are not critical of at first. Then, gradually, carefully weigh the pros and cons of each idea (8).
You can also consider having a brainstorming session with yourself. Surf around the web looking for ideas when you are in a good mood. Or maybe you can do it in an old-school way with many news articles and magazine clips or advertisements that may suggest a new business idea to you.
It is also better to keep that list with you all the time, perhaps on your smartphone and every time you get a business idea, type them in as they come to you.
Lucrative business ideas are lurking all around us. They could be in your kitchen, garage, or on your way to your office, or even in the back of your mind.
Someone once stepped in oil from his car in the garage, leading him to create a floor sealant that made the garage floor easily washable.
Someone had tripped on the piles of stuff in the attic and realized that she could create a big business while helping people get rid of all the junk in their house.
Someone once had a walk into the dark upstairs closet with no possible wiring for the last time and built the stick-up battery-operated bulb with a pull chain.
And if you get tired of looking around your house, you can also visit your neighbors or get a collection of old publications and start cutting out pages for business ideas. You can also visit your local store and see how many product ideas others have come up with to fill those store shelves.
Here are four ways to find more business opportunities:
It is about being creative and giving yourself enough time to let your creative thoughts flow when it comes to finding the business opportunity. After all, choosing the right business idea for you is the first and one of the most critical steps in starting a business (9).
Creating a Completely New Idea May Not Be The Best Route
You do not need a completely new idea to succeed. It is also worth noting that there are only a few new ideas. Most of the so-called new ideas are some twist on or an extension of an existing idea. In short, you do not need to build new proverbial products or services to enter into business.
Millions of entrepreneurs profit by creatively selling routine services. The key to running a successful business and making a profit is selling something your customers can’t do well, don’t want to do or don’t have the time to do it themselves.
Moreover, the company you start today might not be the business you will run tomorrow. These are all the more reasons to start a lower-risk business today and consider higher-risk and more complex ventures as you gain more experience and build enough capital tomorrow.
Also, it is easier to start a mundane business part-time. Starting with a side hustle is something we highly recommend (10). Keep your full-time job until your startup gets enough traction to be your main gig.
Your Budget Matters!
Your budget may limit the number of business opportunities you can select (11). For instance, we won’t recommend you to start a high-tech 3D printing business or health-related business with 1k USD. It would not work.
However, there are plenty of small business ideas from where you can start. Your initial capital is important. However, it is not a real hurdle if you are keen on starting a business.
Like you don’t need to be a genius to spot business ideas, you don’t have to be a billionaire to start a business. Numerous business owners have turned their interests, hobbies, and skills into satisfying profitable businesses by finding needs around them and ways to solve them. You can, too.
Start by considering what problems or other businesses have and figure out creative and sustainable ways to solve them. You can also determine what unfilled needs people have and how to meet them. That’s how you create business ideas and then go ahead with the ones that fit your budget.
Turn Your Existing Knowledge or Skill into a Business
A person with expertise in grooming can start a beauty salon; even if the person doesn’t have enough capital to establish a premise, he can start servicing his clients at their homes and carrying his tools himself.
Maybe you would like to open a large plant nursery, but you can’t afford the property now. So, perhaps you should start by establishing a service to care for plant incorporates or residencies.
Sometimes people have no idea what business they would enjoy, and nothing stands out to them. However, if you love reading about your friends on social media platforms and writing up new posts or your blog, well, that is something you can easily turn into a business. How? Because every business out there requires a social media program and many of them are happy to hire a freelancer to do all the writing for them.
Let’s say, for instance, you don’t enjoy doing anything at all and would rather be shopping out there. Well, you can turn that into a business as well. Consider starting a shopping service for large retailers to help them keep tabs on their outlying stores. You can also start a “secret” shopping service to keep a check on their competitors’ stores. Or you can also start a personal shopping service for busy, wealthy, elderly, people with disabilities, or even celebrities to fulfill their shopping needs.
As you can see, the world around us is full of endless ideas and opportunities for starting a business. And most of these ideas need little money and little expertise to begin (12). Some of them are even a lot of fun!
Business Opportunities Are Plenty, but You Have to Make Them Happen!
You can make things happen when you do what you love. Whether you plan to make money by twisting balloons into different shapes or create the growth of a multimillion-dollar company, your success will rely on what you bring to the business. There is nothing like your passion for making things possible.
If you feel uncertain about what you are doing, your performance and success will also reflect it. If you are fond of what you do, your enthusiasm for your venture will shine. It will drive you to be creative and knowledgeable. Hence, keep looking until you find a business you think you can get zealous about running for a long time (13).
So, before you get going, start putting together your list of possible business ideas, and don’t forget to consider these points when thinking about starting your next venture.
- Look at your daily life for inspiration
- Find pain points or problems and look for creative and sustainable ways to solve them.
- Rember, your business ideas do not need to be glamorous to be successful.
As we mentioned, there are plenty of opportunities around us for would-be entrepreneurs to make their mark.
We suggest you start your journey by looking at a “really painful problem” and try to solve it — the more painful and widespread the problem, the better. A welcome addition if you can fall in love with the problem because that would be what severs the drive for the solution.
You can always find a real business opportunity at the boundaries because innovation never happens at the center. Look for the intersections, places that are a bit forgotten about, where you can be an expert.
Look at the crossings between industries and figure out how they can work better together.
Remember, you can develop an idea that can change the world, make you rich, or disrupt an industry.
Great business ideas are not exclusive to the realm of successful and genius people. They are available to everyone. Don’t be surprised if you start coming up with multiple business ideas after reading these hacks.