You want to start a business. Awesome. So does 65% of the 20-something crowd. The fact that you’re on this website, reading this article, means that the odds are pretty high that you’re interested in starting a business.
Just one small thing. You need an idea.
Ideas are where businesses germinate. If you can come up with the idea, the business building part will follow.
Where do you get an idea? Here are five ways that you can come up with an idea for starting your next business.
1. Identify your biggest source of satisfaction.
Any career counselor or job coach will tell you the same thing — ”Find something that you love doing.”
I almost hate to say the same thing, because it’s become so cliche. But here I go. You’ve got to do something that you enjoy doing. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll flourish and so will your business.
What gives you fulfillment and satisfaction in life? Well, you can probably do that — or some variation of it — for a living.
Tim Ferriss calls it a “muse,” which sounds a kind of fairy taile and dreamy. But it works, because it’s built on a solid principle: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” (Confucius)
Here’s how to turn this principle into a business idea: Figure out how to monetize what you love.
You love rock climbing? How about being a rock climbing instructor?
You find fulfillment in organizing spaces and maximizing workflow? How about becoming a productivity consultant?
You love space travel? Then, heck, start building rockets.
Find out what you love. Do it, and turn it into a business.
2. Identify your biggest frustration.
Think for a minute. What’s the biggest frustration in your life right now?
Got it? Okay, good.
Now, what’s the solution to that problem?
There’s your business idea.
I’m not exaggerating, although I am simplifying the principle.
The greatest business ideas are born out of solving problems. Someone confronts a problem, comes up with the solution, and sells it.
What’s the problem? And what’s the solution? Something to trap the mice that are eating the chips in your pantry (mousetrap). A device that keeps diaper odors from ruining your entire home (diaper champ). An electric orb that eliminates unwanted darkness (thank you, Edison ).
The problems that you can solve are your most brilliant and profitable business ideas.
3. Think about the world’s biggest challenge — fifteen years from now.
Elon Musk is a forward-thinking innovator. Where did he get his ideas?
According to Musk, “I thought about what are the problems that are most likely to affect the future of the world — the future of humanity.”
He brainstormed the solutions to future problems. Musk probably knew that short-lived problems would have short-lived solutions. So he tackled bigger problems — the future of humanity problems.
So he founded PayPal, built rocket ships, created an electric car, designed a submarine car, and invented a tube-traveling capsule that will talk you from San Francisco to L.A. in thirty minutes.
So you may not need to design rockets or Hyperloop capsules, but the world will experience other types of problems down the road. What will they be? How can you start solving them now?
People are going to pay for those solutions. Maybe not today, but eventually they will. Now is the time to start thinking about it.
4. Start doing anything.
I’ve found that just doing anything is the best and fastest way to the perfect idea.
You can’t expect the best idea to come to you on the first attempt. You may have to try several times. You might have to try (and fail) two times before you land on the charm of the third.
You’ve got to just start doing something, anything. Try. Fail. Go for any idea, and just run with it until you have to stop.
You might avoid starting a business because you fear failure. But maybe failure is what you need. Maybe you need to fail a few times before you can succeed.
So, go ahead and start now. Do anything.
5. Unplug, and do something different.
An Entrepreneur article by Nadia Goodman, expressed this brilliantly:
New ideas require creativity, which thrives on novelty and diversity. You might find a great idea while you’re on vacation or unexpected inspiration in an experimental art exhibit.
Boynton, the author of The Idea Hunter said this:
You have to get out in the world and practice behaviors that lead you to new ideas….If you open your eyes, the answer is there, but your world has to be broad enough and diverse enough to feed you the ideas you need.
New experiences, new destinations, new sensations — these are the types of things that inspire new ideas. You can’t brainstorm new, unless you experience new.
Find something new to do or somewhere new to go. What’s it going to be? Go to Burning Man, hike Inca ruins, bungee jump in Costa Rica?
Do something new, and you’ll get ideas like never before.
You can come up with an idea — an idea that will change the world, make you millions, or revolutionize an industry.
Great ideas aren’t the exclusive realm of smart and successful people. They are available to everyone. With these tips, I’ll be surprised if you don’t come up with at least one.
Where did you get the idea for starting your business?