Business ideas emerge from everyday life. For example, they commercialize their hobby. Or, they observe the problems people face and then offer products to provide them with solutions.
Basically, business ideas are plentiful and it’s not hard to find them. However, not all of them deserve to be commercialized. So, the real difficulty when starting a business is finding a viable business idea.
How to judge an idea is feasible or not? Beginning entrepreneurs may have to spend some time trying to find answers.
On the other hand, mature entrepreneurs can be one step ahead of ordinary people or beginners. They have a kind of sense when it comes to a business idea. They can quickly determine whether the business idea is feasible or not.
How do business ideas arise?
There are many entrepreneurs around us. So, there are many ways to capture brilliant business ideas. The question is, where do entrepreneurs’ business ideas come from? How did they find it?
In general, entrepreneurs’ business ideas come from their daily lives. It could be intentional or coincidental.
Then, how entrepreneurs offer solutions, there are two types of entrepreneurs. Some entrepreneurs come up with ideas and offer completely new solutions. Others take existing business models and products and then refine them.
Business ideas usually arise from chance
New ideas may not require entrepreneurs to think seriously. It might appear by chance from their daily activities. For example, when you sit at the station, you see a lot of people waiting in line to buy tickets – maybe you too. Then, you might be thinking why not sell digital tickets? Wouldn’t that be easier?
You then put together a team and resources to create a mobile application for online ticket booking. It is not only for booking train tickets or other transportation, but also for ordering various other related services such as hotels and tourism packages.
Entrepreneurship is basically about developing solutions to consumers through products and services. So, to find the next business idea, you can observe various everyday problems and offer solutions to these problems. For example, you identify it from what you or others often encounter. In order to be feasible, the solution you provide is either long term or needed in the future.
For example, many people spend time and money visiting stores, not for shopping but just to compare the prices of the smartphone products they are going to buy. You may have an idea to develop a product price comparison website. There, you not only display products, but also compare their specifications. Your site also allows visitors to leave reviews.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, didn’t start with his idea of building the company. Instead, he just saw there was a problem on his campus and tried to help those people connect. The key, he says, is to try what we can improve in our lives.
Likewise with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google. The two, along with Scott Hassan, saw a gap being fixed in conventional search engines. They then launched a project to develop a better system and build the PageRank algorithm and dubbed their new search engine “BackRub”.
And, in general, experiences or problems around are not only learning but also potential to open new businesses. While ordinary people might be looking for solutions to everyday problems, entrepreneurs are one step ahead and find out how to make money.
Entrepreneurs often perceive bad experiences or problems around them not as problems but as business opportunities. From there, the entrepreneur’s business idea emerged. They then offer solutions and set up a new business.
Hobby or skill
Some entrepreneurs start a business from a hobby or skill they have. They see what they do and enjoy can be a source of income for them.
Say, you have a passion for photography. You can look for market gaps where it can make money. For example, you can choose to be a photography course teacher. You can make tutorials on websites or Youtube videos. You can monetize it by advertising or selling affiliate products, apart from charging fees by taking online classes.
Other potential hobbies include writing, design, music, cooking and gardening. For example, your hobby of writing can make money without you having to do it directly. You can take a few freelance projects and put a team together to work on them.
Your gardening hobby can also lead to new business. You can use your website, social media and acquaintances to reach potential buyers. You can sell your plants, develop tips and tricks, sell various supporting products, or create discussion forums.
Small-budget research is another way for entrepreneurs to come up with business ideas. They observe and study existing businesses or products.
For example, the product or business may be located in your country. Or, they may be overseas. It can be a source of your ideas to develop something innovative, which current products cannot do.
Another way is to observe, imitate, modify. For example, you might copy a foreign business or product to run in your country. You don’t have to copy exactly. You can modify it by adding special features to your product or service.
Take Xiaomi as an example. It is broadly very similar to the iPhone but produced at a more economical cost. Then, it targeted the price-conscious consumer market and sold for less than Apple.
You can also apply such principles to the successful and unsuccessful businesses you find. For a successful business, you learn the keys to success and apply them to your target market.
For failed businesses, you study weaknesses and find out why they fail. Then, you refine it and apply it in your target market.
Although research can be expensive and time consuming, you can come up with ideas with available potential markets. In addition, research is also easier via the internet. Online channels can open up many business opportunities, which you may not have been aware of.
You then run a simple research to find out what gaps exist in your local market. Which foreign products are not yet in your country? From there, you can plan how to fill those gaps. Of course, you have to consider whether such an idea is feasible or not to be implemented or not in your country.
Reading or attending events
Another way to come up with ideas is to read market research reports. For example, when you read a survey, the researcher might reveal a business opportunity to work on and its potential market. Magazines or newspapers that you read can also be a source of inspiration for new business ideas.
Then, a great place to broaden your horizons and find business opportunities is to attend an exhibition or conference. There, you can meet successful people or business owners, share stories and experiences and develop networks. For example, at such an event, the speaker might offer a franchise business to those present. And, it could be an opportunity to give it a try.
Entrepreneur’s business ideas can also come through brainstorming. It is a more direct way of generating ideas where people come together to express their ideas freely to come up with solutions to various problems. They then put the ideas on paper.
Some ideas may be dismissed because they are not relevant. Others may require more concrete follow-up.
Previous work experience
The workplace is a potential source for generating business ideas. The expertise and experience you gain during your work can be a business opportunity for you. For example, when you work in financial services, you take training to take a professional degree and earn related certificates. Instead of continuing to work, you can start a business by opening online classes utilizing the certifications and skills you gain from training.
Filling a business gap from the problems your employer is experiencing is another alternative to business opportunities. For example, suppose your employer is having problems finding and recruiting new employees because there is not enough information available about job applicants. You can open a new online marketplace to bring together business and job applicants.
In other cases, your employer may struggle to find a reliable supplier or logistics company. It could inspire you to start such a business.
In general, work experience is a valuable resource for finding viable ideas. At least, you already have insight and knowledge about what consumers need and want. Likewise, you are familiar with information about competition and market potential, which can be useful information when you start a new business. It can also save you money because you may need less initial research than when you start a completely new idea.
Absorb ideas from others
Some people have many viable business ideas. However, they may not have the courage to run it as a business, for example for fear of failure. Or, they do not have adequate resources. Or, they don’t know it’s worth monetizing.You are then one step further. You take it and turn it into a business.
Watching the trend
Observing trends is a great way to get business ideas. What’s popular around you or on online channels? There you may find market opportunities.
For example, many young people spend time with their smartphones just looking for study materials. They are not interested in long readings and prefer to absorb short but informative readings to answer their problems.
This phenomenon may encourage you to create a website or educational course. You don’t rely on long writing, but rather informative materials such as infographics, presentation slides and videos.
But remember, the trend may only last a short time. If you’re not careful, your business may not make enough money to make it big.
In addition, because it is popular, many other entrepreneurs are interested in monetizing it. In other words, you will likely face many competitors.