The very first step to starting a profitable business is to find an idea worth turning into a product or service.
Most people struggle with this as the brainstorming process takes time and they haven’t really let their creative juices flow.
But an idea is the foundation of what could be your biggest and most profitable project and a business that will change people’s lives in more than one way. So it’s worth taking the time to actually come up with a good one and then dedicate all your attention to it.
Here are some ways to find new business ideas:
1. Go back to your childhood.
Children are much more creative than adults for a number of reasons.
First of all, they don’t consider failure an option and thus don’t fear it. While with adults, that’s one of the barriers that limits their creative thinking.
Second, they are willing to test new things all the time. They have fun while doing that, don’t listen to the naysayers and don’t have any doubts when working on a new project.
If you can’t remember what this creative freedom looked like, why not spend some time with children and see how they think? Ask them questions and carefully listen to their ideas. You’ll notice that they are combining things in seemingly impossible ways that don’t make sense. But if you look closer, you’ll notice that some ideas are actually brilliant and can be implemented to the way you do business.
2. Get out of your comfort zone.
You won’t come up with a new idea for your business if you’re stuck in your market and do the same old things you’ve always been doing. So let’s go after the new and unknown.
Begin by studying other markets. See how different businesses operate, how entrepreneurs in other fields take decisions and think about how you can use that to your advantage.
Attend seminars, learn new skills, test new theories, talk to people outside your industry and read about different aspects of business.
All this will engage your brain in a new way and will boost creativity.
Another way to leave your comfort zone and welcome new thoughts and ideas in your mind, is to go to new places. Visit another country, with a culture completely different from yours. Communicate with the locals, learn some words in their language, try the food, listen to their stories, learn about their traditions.
That will open your eyes for the world outside of your comfort zone.
3. Find what your competitors aren’t doing well.
Study your competition and look carefully for the things they aren’t that good at.
How can you create a product similar to theirs but which offers a faster solution to people? What can you add to it as a bonus so that people are more willing to buy? How can you market it in a different, unique way? Can you make it simpler and thus easier to use?
Basically, you’ll be filling in the gaps in this case.
4. Talk to your potential customers.
Whatever it is you’re going to build, it’s going to be for other people. So the best way to get it right is to simply ask them.
Reach out to your target audience and ask them what they struggle with. Try to read between the lines. Write down anything they say and look for similarities, but also see what they aren’t saying directly.
The biggest waste in business is creating a product no one needs, so make sure people have a specific problem that you can solve. Another way to get feedback, but not directly from talking to people, is to check out forums and the social media platforms on which your potential customers spend time.
See what’s bothering them. There will be recurring themes and these are the answers to your next big business idea.
On social media people are opening themselves, talking to friends, expressing feelings and sharing issues. Do your research. You’ll be surprised at how much valuable information for your audience is already out there, without the need for expensive marketing research.
5. Write it out.
Writing is a great way to get things out of your head and start generating ideas. You don’t need to be good at it, you just need to let go of anything else and simply put pen to paper.
Start by sharing what your biggest problem in life is. Then, try to come up with practical solutions for it. Write down anything that pops up in your mind, no matter how ridiculous it is.
After a day or two, come back to what you wrote and look at it from another point of view. You’ll get at least a dozen ideas out of it.
What about you? What other ways to find new ideas to you know of?