This approach will help you think of a solid startup idea.
It is broken into 5 steps to facilitate progress through a system that in total should take about 30-40 hours to complete over a week or two, if you do it all.
Add rigor and discipline to your brainstorming and idea evaluation process:
- Build lists of potential customer types and business or pricing models.
- Evaluate the opportunities where these lists overlap.
- Then, exit your ivory tower and evaluate the top ideas with real potential users, customers, or suppliers.
- This will improve your likelihood of success and waste less time down the road, even if you pivot from your original idea.
Preface: There certainly are simpler answers like, “pick an area that is trending,” “look for a large market that hasn’t changed in 10 years,” or “convert your hobby into a business.” Unfortunately those aren’t particularly helpful, and since this question comes up often in discussions, I wanted to get my thoughts down in a more comprehensive way.
Also, while this answer covers the ideation part of the journey, keep in mind that implementing the idea is the hard part.
Three primary paths to a new business idea
1. 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.