How to Generate New Business Ideas: The Startup Guide
One of the things that most aspiring entrepreneurs struggle with is that they do not know where to begin. Every business starts with an idea. However, while most articles online say that ideas are everywhere, you might still have a difficult time generating a good one.
Moreover, even if you feel like you already have a good idea in place, you might think of other possibilities and feel confused about which one to stick with and go after.
That’s why in this article, let’s discuss how to generate business ideas strategically. On top of that, let us also identify the things you should remember upon coming up with ideas with the top ten tips at the end of this article.
Why You Shouldn’t Start With Ideas Right Away
Believe it or not, idea generation is simple. Most people have already set their eyes on products and services they wish to sell.
It only becomes complicated once you consider two things:
How can you differentiate yourself from other entities offering the same products and services?
How can you be so sure that your idea is significant enough to work?
These questions lead to the fact that there are other things that entrepreneurs must think about before working on a single idea. With all the possible risks at hand, an idea itself is weak. But with careful study and evaluation, an idea becomes significant, creative, and substantial.
Steps to Come up With New Business Ideas
You shouldn’t be so quick to start working on ideas because your excitement may get the best of you to the point that you might not have fully explored the other side of implementing it.
Some of your ideas may only look good on the outside.
Without further evaluation and furnishing, it might be precarious, unreliable, and unrightfully costly. Although business in itself is a risk, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions in doing it. After all, you might be dedicating quite some time and resources to it.
Here are the steps that you can take to come up with business ideas that are worth working over:
Step 1: Look For Problems to Solve
Although idea generation is simple, the real challenge lies in finding the problem.
Most innovations fail not because of bad ideas. They fail because they weren’t able to solve any existing problems nowadays.
Keep in mind that you need to spot problems that customers would pay for to get solved.
Start by being inquisitive. Be genuinely interested in the things that are going on around you. Increase your awareness about the problems that people face in daily life. Read about what people are struggling with around the world.
You can also look into yourself and your circle. Try recalling negative experiences with entities you conducted business with. Don’t hesitate to ask family and friends too for problems they encountered.
Once you find yourself confused or disinterested at some point, choose to keep going by identifying problems related to your passion. There is always an extra boost of energy that comes from doing the things that you love most.
Above all, choose a problem that you understand well. You cannot effectively solve something you have zero knowledge about.
Step 2: Assess the Problem
Now that you’ve got yourself a problem, it’s time to examine it closely. Research further about the problem, and gather as much information as you can find.
Moreover, to ensure that a problem is valid for business, make sure that:
1. Your prospective customers would be willing to pay you to solve it.
Find existing organizations that are in the same industry. Figure out how much they are charging, and estimate how many customers go to them for help in a day. You can use this information to determine your price point.
You can also interact with their customers and ask them about their experiences. Identify what improvements are necessary and discover what factors they consider in patronizing the brand.
2. You can build and sustain a profitable business around those who would come to you for help in dealing with it.
Find out whether the problem applies to a big population. Is it something experienced by many? Is it a growing problem?
If yes, then good, because this gives you the opportunity to help more people. You can build a pool of customers and have them recommend you to others.
Step 3: Define Your Target Market
To successfully gain and impress customers, you need to fully understand what they want and need.
When you are only starting, it is very tempting to cater to all types of individuals to maximize sales. However, you need to focus on a specific group of people to streamline your products and services.
Generalizing your offerings would only mean having to meet different requirements, leaving you confused and strained because of too many things to execute on top of your limited resources.
Profiling your customers according to a specific set of criteria such as age, location, buying frequency, and others will help you communicate and serve them effectively. Put yourself in their shoes and establish their needs and motivations.
Step 4: Come up With Potential Solutions and Substitutes
Focusing on a single solution may not work in solving the problem. That’s why it would be best for every startup to produce a list of potential solutions and substitutes to penetrate all the angles of the problem and effectively deliver its solutions.
Finding the best solution isn’t a simple process. It starts with studying all options thoroughly and identifying the pros and cons of implementing them. That’s why you should gather as many ideas as possible. Collaborate with other people to gain diverse views on the problem.
Backtracking and audit trailing of the ideation process
Managing the overall ideation process from one place
Engaging with a lot of people to enhance the ideation process
Selecting the best options through a set of criteria, or even by setting numeric scales for evaluation
Moreover, its collaboration features enable team members to:
Add ideas quickly
Analyze and categorize possible solutions and alternatives
Receive valuable insights and feedback
Make concrete strategies based on the solutions and alternatives proposed
Step 5: Develop Your Best Solution
The ideas that you have gathered in creating solutions are meaningless without the intent of executing them.
You are already halfway to establishing a valid and substantial business concept. What’s left is selecting the best solution, subjecting it to a series of tests, and improving it based on the test run’s results.
A lot of entrepreneurs tend to create businesses without ample knowledge of the industry they’ve chosen. Some might have felt inspired by other successful entrepreneurs in the field. Others may want to simply generate another source of income.
Many of them were able to do it successfully, but this doesn’t guarantee that spending your money on something you are clueless about always works in your favor. This fact emphasizes the need to study things before implementing them.
The same goes true for the solutions that had been proposed in the previous step. Once you choose to do something you do not fully understand, your chances of success are slim.
The solution that you have chosen to proceed with must be a solution that delivers value. It must make life easier for your customers, or somehow more convenient for them. Most importantly, this solution must be doable for you.
Step 6: Test Your Solution
Now that you have developed and chosen the best solution, it is time for you to test it on your customers.
This step is designed to recognize whether the solution is effective or not. Test your products and services on people that perfectly fit the profile of your target customers. Doing so allows you to gain real and useful feedback.
Don’t just ask them whether they like your products or not. Ask for concrete and constructive feedback.
As for testing your solution, there are two kinds of prototypes that you can use:
Low-fidelity prototypes that center on assessing the functionality of the solution. These are prototypes that apply low-tech concepts to conduct simple tests and collect feedback in the early stages of the product. As this kind of prototype is less technical, entrepreneurs do not have to worry so much about complex processes.
High-fidelity prototypes on the other hand are close to the final product. These prototypes are highly functional and interactive as it already has the designs and components required to determine usability and issues.
The right fidelity of prototypes largely depends on two things. One, the entrepreneur’s priorities upon testing, and two, the current conditions of the product.
When a product’s design details are not up for discussion yet or are most likely to change, then a low-fidelity prototype would do. But, if the entrepreneur aims to test a product’s design and functionality, a high-fidelity prototype is a must.
Step 7: Improve Your Solution
Take note of all the feedback you’ve collected during the testing period and examine them. Go back to your prototype and improve what the majority of your sample users didn’t like. Apply their feedback to make the product even more useful and likable.
Meanwhile, keep what works and improve on it even further.
It is important to remember that steps six and seven constitute what might be a never-ending cycle. You test out initial products and apply the feedback you’ve obtained after.
Note that every feature you plan to add or update must also be tested and improved. Repeat the same steps all over again until you have reached what you think is the final version of the product for a specific period.
Next steps: Remember that successful business ideas successfully solve real-life problems. They may take quite a while to generate and polish, but the results are always worth it. Make idea generation a hassle-free process with idea management software like Accept Mission.