Starting any kind of business involves a lot of work, which includes drawing up a business plan, getting funds, looking for investors, building the team, and every other sort of activity. However, the stepping stone that is a must before you can even start thinking about your business is the idea. Unless you have a clear and concise business idea, it will be a tough ride to start up the business and head towards success.
A business idea is nothing but a product, a service, or a new method of doing something for which the customers will be willing to pay. Unfortunately, these ideas cannot be given to someone, but one must come up with them by themselves. Although idea generation is a skill which every entrepreneur must possess, there are many hopeful businessmen who are out in the market seeking ideas. There sure are a lot of business ideas everywhere, but choosing the best one and commercializing it is not an easy task. People get many ideas all the time, and some of them might even be good to solve minor problems in daily life. However, great ideas will occur less frequently and will also require more work to execute and achieve the success. Although there are no hard and fast rules for generating business ideas, there are certain ways which can guide you in the creation of one.
Tap in Family and Friends
Looking for business ideas from your family might not strike as the best technique, but realizing that coming up with ideas all by yourself is not easy, will give you a new prospect when you talk to your close ones. Of course, you are going to reach out to them in later stages when you will be in need of funds, but it is also important to understand that your family members can be of great help even in these early stages of business. Talk to your parents, siblings or even that distant aunt who owns up a farm, who might share some insights with you. They might not necessarily be able to give you an idea directly, but they sure will delight some thoughts in your brain that eventually might give rise to a great idea.
Along with your family, your friends would also be a great source for new ideas. If you have a bunch of friends, then odds are that a couple of them already have some great business ideas. The key here is to stay vigilant at all times so you can take in new ideas when you encounter them. People might have crude ideas which if you polish well, will turn out to become an incredible business.
Traveling is a great way to open up to a plethora of business ideas. Any new place that you travel to will bring forward certain opportunities that might never surface back at home. You may perhaps come across a product or a service at this new place, which might have a huge potential to make it big at your home, or conversely, you might realize some important things that are missing from the markets in the area of your travel destination. Blending into different people, geographies and cultures can open your mind to various new opportunities that can provide value to different market segments.
Also, exploring need not necessarily involve travel all the times. Web surfing can be a fun way to come across some great business ideas as well. Look out for the ‘What’s New’ section when you Google, where you will come across the latest news, trends, and many ideas which might be taking shape in different parts of the world. Take out an hour each day and go through different websites to discover new avenues.
Another of the ways to stimulate new thoughts and ideas is to read books. You don’t need to confine yourself to reading business books, but in reality, reading different genres of books will activate your thought process for generating an idea. If you don’t want to commit to reading a whole book, then spend some time browsing them and getting a gist of what the book is about. The main idea behind exploring, whether you travel, surf the net, or even read books is to open your mind to every sort of thought that your mind is capable of coming in contact with.
Go on board with a customer
Usually, most entrepreneurs would start with a product idea and would then try to perfect it, but there are both strategic as well as special advantages for starting with a customer segment that you would want to serve. When you have a product, it can be a challenge to find customers to whom you can sell the product. Moreover, the process will be very time consuming if you keep exploring different ideas for different kinds of customers. Rather, if you focus on one particular customer segment, it would be much easier to figure out how to serve them. But again, your success would depend on how effective you are in choosing a customer segment. What sort of people you have easy access to or have relationships with, how enthusiastic you are when working with certain groups, and also the size of the market, are some of the factors that you can consider while making the selection of customer segment. Once you have this figured out, your next goal should be to comprehend a way to serve that customer segment with something that they would value.
Reinvent an existing idea
Most of the products that the entertainment industry offers are somehow the same story with different actors, characters, and surroundings, but most of them still become blockbusters. There are so many products in the market which ideally offer the same solution to your problem, but in a different way. Whether it is in the electronics industry or retail, the same idea gets reinvented and is brought in a different setting for the consumers. In this scenario, you don’t necessarily need to find out what is wrong with the present offering, but must see if you can improve upon it. Take a step further and offer something more to the customers than the present industry so that you can carve a niche for yourself and your products in the market.
Reinventing can also happen when you are unsatisfied with a present product and want to create a better one, or if you know about the needs of the customers that haven’t been fulfilled. If there is something that the customers desire but are not able to get it, then again it is a great opportunity to bring that to them. For example, if customers are getting bad service in some industry but you can offer the same service better at lesser costs, then you would have customers flocking at your doors.
Be your own customer
One of the best ways to come up with ideas is to focus on your own goals. But to do that, it is important that you identify your goals before you come up with any ideas. You may desire to have a business where you manage most of it by yourself, or you may even desire that it hardly takes up your time.
Both these have different objectives, and so you must be sure as to what you want before you have any ideas flowing. Once you are sure of your goals, some of the best ideas that you can ever get would be from your own woes. If you look around and be observant about your day and the activities that you carry out, you might come across several challenges or tasks that take a longer time and effort. Ponder upon what would be an ideal product or a service that would solve this problem of yours. It is apparent that anyone would be more motivated to work on solving their own problems than someone else’s. And once you have identified what would solve your problem, do some customer research and determine whether others would want the same solution as well.
Great business ideas are always around you but finding these great ideas take a lot of thought, creativity, and research. Each of these methods and even other ways in which an entrepreneur can generate ideas requires a commitment of time and energy. As an entrepreneur, you must open yourself to all avenues and search for that great idea by giving your brain the time and space it needs to make it happen. If you practice these efficient ways, you are sure to generate an idea or two, but taking it forward and building the plan and executing it is completely up to you.
Business Analyst by profession but truly a travel enthusiast, animal lover, dancer, and an avid reader that has brought me to writing. A reliable team player living in the present with utmost positive attitude who cannot live without friends and family. And I am one of the best persons you will ever meet unless you mess with me :)