Three primary paths to a new business idea1. The spontaneous idea:
It hits you when you’re in the shower, driving in your car, talking with friends, or doodling during a meeting. The dots suddenly connect in a new way and you have an epiphany…your sudden insight is surprising and exciting, and the value of this new idea seems obvious. You can’t believe nobody else has thought of it before!
So you go online and poke around…and…most of the time it turns out that someone has thought of it before. But, you still might be able to do it better…so you keep thinking about it and a day passes, and you start to realize some problems. You share it with a few trusted friends and get feedback about a lot of things you hadn’t thought of yet (e.g., nobody pays for it, it’s a tiny market, etc.). It could turn out to be a great idea, but you don’t know, you have a good job, and it is uncharted territory…so you let the dream slowly die away. Cheer up, that was probably the right decision.
2. The insider idea:
Maybe you’ve spent the last 7 years building enterprise software for airlines and you’ve noticed some voids in the product stack or issues with how your company brings it to market. You point these deficiencies out to your bosses, but there are other company priorities and nothing changes. Or, say your company pays vendors a lot of money to do some work, but nobody ever seems happy with the results….and you see a way to do it better for less. Or, maybe you witnessed your company kill an amazing new product or feature not because testing didn’t show user interest, but for political or organizational reasons.
You see an opportunity to do it on your own, so you start moonlighting on a solution. You gather more specific information, talk to trusted co-workers and industry contacts, and determine the viability of solving the problem. The good thing is, you’re already knowledgeable and well positioned/networked in the business space…so good luck to you!
3. The deliberate idea: