Over 800,000 new businesses are started each month, however less than 50% are still up and running after the first year. This shows you that while it’s fairly easy to come up with a business idea, finding a sustainable, lucrative idea is not as simple. 

In this article, we’ll go through the steps of how to come up with a business idea that will actually work. 

You want to be an impact maker? But first you need an idea. A really good one. Some might say brilliant.

Startup ideas can come from just about anywhere—truly. 

Let’s look at the most common sources:

  • A problem from your daily life
  • An emerging trend
  • A gap in a specific market
  • A drive to help others in an inventive way
  • A special skill or expertise that you possess

Which is best? We’ve asked scores of successful entrepreneurs and noted experts this very same question. And far and away, they agree: 

It’s that first one, the problem or “pain point” that you personally experience on a regular basis, that is the ideal motivation for starting a company.

“The advice I have for entrepreneurs is….

Number one, you need to solve a real problem. I look for those problems in my own life. 

That’s because the early days of starting a company are notoriously difficult. You might find yourself questioning whether you’ve made the right call. 

But beyond that, there’s another reason why it makes sense to let your personal challenge lead the way. Chances are, others are experiencing the same problem as well — even if they’re not entirely aware of it. They’re called your customers.

Of course, you might say to yourself: “Wait a minute. Yes, this is a personal frustration of mine. And others probably experience it as well. But chances are, someone else is already working on a solution.”

Guess what: 

You’re exactly right. In some form or another, nearly every idea is already out there. But how you implement your idea, position your new concept, and execute can be the defining factor of success.

Countless billion-dollar companies are based on ideas that were just tweaks of what was there before. Facebook, for example, is far from an original idea. Social networks had been around for nearly a decade, in companies such as SixDegrees, Friendster, and Myspace. Facebook’s success didn’t come from the idea itself but instead from countless iterations around how the product could reach customers and achieve a competitive advantage.

Every company needs a starting point, “I encourage entrepreneurs to focus more on falling in love with the problems they want to solve rather than their initial ideas.” Collins A.J

We included 6 sure tips from entrepreneurs who have been in your shoes and know a thing or two about coming up with a business idea that takes off.

Step 1: Train Your Mind to Identify Areas of Opportunities 

There is no real formula to coming up with the next great business idea. 

The key is knowing how and when to look for good ideas. Your eureka moment can strike at any moment, so you need to be able to recognize it when it comes. 

Not every idea that you come up with is going to be a good one. The point is to train your brain to notice a potential opportunity when you see one.

Step 2: Start Making Lists of Problems that Need Solving

Once you are tuned into looking for areas that can be improved upon, you will want to start writing down the problems that need solving. The process of making lists will keep you focused on finding areas of opportunity.

You will not be able to come up with problems if you are not looking in the right places. You need to be actively looking yourself, asking friends and colleagues, and considering products that can be improved upon.

business ideas

Step 3: Come Up with Possible Solutions

You should now have plenty of problems listed, so the next step is to start going through and coming up with solutions to those problems.

If you have one or more people whose opinions you respect, then it may be good to bring them into the room with you for this step. Collaboration often helps the brainstorming process.

Don’t let the problems you can’t think of a solution to slow you down, when you hit a wall with a particular problem just move on to the next. 

There are many industries that are overcrowded and overly competitive. Instead of entering a space that already has multiple similar products, you may do better by honing in on a specific area where you can really shine. 

Step 4: Do What You’re Passionate About

Starting a successful business takes a lot of drive and persistence, and is likely to take at least a few years. This is why people who choose to start businesses that they are not passionate about, generally give up after hitting the stumbling blocks and challenges that come with getting any new business off the ground.

No entrepreneur is able to be good at everything, know the areas you are good in and find people to help you with your weak areas. If you have an idea and are passionate about something – you can look to others to handle the parts that you’re not good at.

For example, if you are passionate about cooking, you may be tempted to open up a restaurant. However, there are a lot of things that go into creating a successful restaurant besides just the food. If you love to cook but you’re not passionate about the business side of things, partner up with someone who you trust and can help your food get the business it deserves.

Step 5: Narrow Your Ideas Down to One

You now have a shortlist of solutions to common problems that you are passionate about. Now it’s time to find out which business ideas will actually work in the real world. The key to narrowing down your list to just one idea is by testing out the market in a risk-free way. You want to find out if people would buy the product or service before you spend the money to actually start your business.

Step 6: Determine if the Idea is Scalable

If you’re creating a business, it’s likely that your end goal is to make money from it. Even if your business can be profitable in its first year, you want to make sure that it has longevity so you don’t waste your time on a project that doesn’t have a long-term future.

Bottom Line

Coming up with a business idea can be a fun – but not always an easy process. It’s important to get all of your ideas on the table first and then filter down based on what makes you happy and what will actually work as a business

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