Trying to find your billion dollar startup ideas? I wish you the best of luck. But let’s face it, is it luck that you really need? Many founders and startup owners will agree with me that luck is the last thing you need, when it comes to finding those perfect million dollar startup ideas. What then do you need? Read on.
There is really no silver-bullet to finding the perfect startup ideas. Where you hoping to see a very long list of ideas you could just choose from? If yes, okay hold on and pause for a while..
Now you are back from the missionary journey. If you actually paused to think for a while, you should know by now that you cannot really find a long list of startup ideas anywhere. Common, will you give out a million dollar idea for free? Sorry for digressing a bit. Back to our subject, experienced entrepreneurs understand that you do not really need luck to find startup ideas. All they need to do is to look inside their inner self and talk to other people to learn what remains broken in the world around. Then — fix that, in the best possible way.
If you are still lost, see a quote from an entrepreneur below:
the best million dollar startup ideas aren’t generated from luck. They are often solutions to real life problems that people face everyday. So you want a million dollar idea, first of all find a million dollar problem without a solution.
Now that you have a clear understanding of this fact, let’s move ahead and share some tips on how to come up with better ideas for startups.
1) Look Inside Yourself
Great startup ideas are born when you feel a particular need on your own. However, you may not notice those signals in the daily routine. Want to talk about it? Well, sit down comfortably, calm down your mind and ask yourself:
Which of your talents do you like most or what skills do you want to improve?
Consciously or subconsciously, Mark Zuckerberg wanted to be more social, he fancied the idea of creating some web page where himself and other dudes could lookup pretty chicks on campus (I really think so even if you disagree), hence Facebook. Jack Dorsey wanted to feel more connected to a city’s activities almost in real-time, which led to Twitter.
Other important questions might be:
What is the hardest part of your day, what do you try to avoid?
What are your hardest challenges at work and beyond work?
What is that silent wish of yours when you perform a task, when going home from the close of work, when visiting a friend, when buying a cup of coffee from the mall, or when trying to get a taxi home?
Do you think other persons also feel the same way? Write down your answers. Even if you failed to identify something worthwhile, you might have an insight next time when you re-read it, and who knows; it might be your million dollar idea
2) What Drives You?
Time flies when we enjoy something. These are the moments that can bring in new opportunities. This is a way to identify business ideas from your hobbies.
- List activities which you truly enjoy doing. Select three or five the best ones.
- Talk to yourself in detail: what do you really like in each of those activities.
- Find one or two most painful problems in relation to these activities.
- Describe in details how to solve these problems if you had all the resources.
- Tell your friends and peers about the solution and get their feedback.
- Describe in detail the minimal viable solution. How would it look like?
- Determine what you need to build the prototype and proceed to actual work.
Make the first, simplest step without delay. Do it today, right now! Decide what should be your next second step and schedule it for tomorrow, in the morning (if necessary, wake up earlier). You see, you are on your way to make something meaningful.
3) Talk to Professionals
Talk to people who work in the area of your interest or where you see the highest potential. Without any doubt, most of them face lots of challenges in their professional life and know all the details that make sense.
Ask questions, do not interrupt, listen carefully and write down their answers.
Feel free to use the below questions as a starting point:
- What tasks are you responsible for doing in your business day to day? (Listen for response)
- Which of those tasks take the most time and which do you like the least?
- Tell me about how you go about doing (insert task from the response above). Stop and listen for 60 seconds.
- If you could wave a magic wand and do anything related to (insert task from the response above), what would it be?
After a dozen or so discussions, you may spot some repeating answers. It could be what you are looking for. Ideally, 25–30 talks of this kind are needed to gather enough data to start seeing repetitive patterns. If it is a problem most persons are facing, that might just be your bank account changing idea.
Motivation ➡️ Problem ➡️ Several ideas ➡️ Validation ➡️ Implementation.
4) Look for Complaints
Every time someone complains, write it down. It could be about customer service or how expensive bath towels are. Listen for phrases such as ‘I hate’, ‘I wish’, ‘that’s so annoying’. Search on Twitter can be also very insightful. Twitter is often used to post complaints addressed to companies or share thoughts aloud. Here are some more phrases that can take you closer to insights.
“I wish I had”
“is the worst product”
“that’s so frustrating”
“does anyone know how”
You can also read feedback sections at different websites with users ideas and comments. From time to time, you can find something interesting.
5) Platform Thinking for Startup Ideas
Find a problem which is still solved inconveniently or in an old-fashioned way. Then you have to figure out whether this problem can be solved by the people on their own, but with your coordination.
Here is a simple algorithm.
- Select a market where two parties exchange some values (i.e. taxi drivers and passengers, or locksmiths and apartment owners).
- Identify the problems which limit their collaboration.
- Think about how to solve the problems encountered by both parties. Your invention should increase the value of their cooperation.
The best example is, for sure, Uber. So you need to match an undervalued (redundant) resource (the free time of car owners) with a non-satisfied deficit (cheap taxi for every day, as if having an own chauffeur).
6) Product Analysis
Here are some simple exercises to help you getting new ideas.
- Improve Sales. Take any product and try to invent ways to increase their sales. What do you think should be done to achieve this? How can you make it better?
- Apply New Business Model. Pick a product and change its business model completely. If it’s a toy shop what would happen if toys are for rent? And here is a free one from me: people love fashion these days, therefore fashion keeps getting more expensive everyday. What if, instead of buying clothes every time people had a dinner date, they could just rent instead? What if you could rent your Gucci bag out to different people on a platform? Do you think people would be more happy to pay a few dollars to rent a Georgio Amarni watch from someone who already has and return it after a day than spending a couple thousand bucks to acquiring it for themselves?
- Business Decomposition. There is Facebook with a variety of functions, and there is Twitter with the only function of user status broadcasting similar to Facebook.
7) Brainstorm to Spur Creative Thinking
David Skok developed a Brainstorming Model that helps to inspire creative thinking. Here are the basics.
- Identify something which is an Extreme Pain for the potential customers.
- A new disruptive solution should be found to kill this pain.
- Write down, then score and validate your ideas.
Simple enough, right?
8) Develop Yourself
Your ideas reflect your inner world, experience, and views. Thus, training your brain is a great way to invent something new. Here are some tricks to help you validate a great business idea and to become more creative:
- Watch TED Videos on YouTube and listen to Mixergy Interviews, etc.
- Read and learn about new ideas from experts on Clarity.fm, and Quora.
- Review and test out different products and services more frequently.
There is no silver bullet, great startup ideas can come to you anywhere: when you drive, go jogging, or during a brainstorming session. Nobody knows when it will happen but one thing I always tell people, ideas do not announce themselves when coming. Stay focused and keep watching out for problems.
Sometimes you know — it’s so close, so that you aren’t gonna quit. You may get tired, feel disappointed and frustrated. But do not ever give up! It might take years, or even a couple seconds, keep going, and some day you will see that the gold is in your hands.