Have you ever wondered what makes a good business idea great? What’s more, why are some business ideas profitable and most of them are not?
In this article, I’ll show you how to come up with a business idea that that’s right for you and, most importantly, that you can monetize.
Finding the right business idea for you could be a never-ending process that keeps you stuck for months or even years. I was there 8 years ago when I started my first online business and I know the feeling of writing down business ideas and wondering: “Would anybody be interested in paying for this?”
This is a common feeling when you just start the process of finding your business idea. I can even hear inside my mind that voice saying things like: “man, you are not an expert at anything” or “they will find out that you’re an impostor!” “It’s almost like having writer’s block. I stay up thinking of ideas, but nothing ever sticks.”
If you recognize the sentence above, don’t worry. It’s absolutely normal. I was stuck for over two years in my business-idea phase. I tried everything until I realized that I don’t need the Million-Dollar Idea before I start a successful online business. I just need a “good enough idea” to start and get some traction.
A very common misconception is that finding a good startup idea is a matter of luck or even find a problem that no one else has encountered yet. I’ll show you here example after example how can you find great ways to serve the market and start a profitable company.
So yes, you are in good hands. I spent over two years compulsively obsessed with the task of generating the PERFECT business idea.
In addition to that, I spent thousands of dollars on training programs, mentors, and courses during the process. Thanks to that I can tell you what works and what is a waste of time for your business career.
“You don’t need the Million-Dollar Idea to start a successful online business. You just need a “good enough idea” to start and get some traction.” Now, I want to invite you to go through this journey. You will need the commitment to go step by step and trust that you already have an awesome business inside you.
You just need the right instructions to find that business and put it out there to help people from all over the world.
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The right mindset for idea creation
Every person has the ability to offer a valuable service that other people are willing to pay for. The problem, very often, is that many small business owners don’t think they can already do it.
If you pay attention to your skills, knowledge, and expertise whether you believe me or not, you already have a business inside of you. Of course, later on, you will need to structure the plan and strategy on a business plan.
You have skills and knowledge that other people will pay for. Let’s think for a moment about this.
You are paying all the time for other people’s skills and knowledge. Maybe you have an accountant because they have the specific knowledge and skills to handle your books.
Maybe you are learning Spanish or French or Portuguese, and you have a teacher that is helping you to learn the language.
A few months ago, I paid for a therapist specialized in helping people overcome certain blockages through hypnotherapy. I didn’t even know it existed!
What I am trying to tell you is that all these people have specific skills and knowledge that are valuable to others.
You may be thinking, “I am not a certified accountant or a trained therapist. Nobody will pay me for my ‘ordinary’ skills.” You are wrong, and let me tell you why.
Teach your skills to solve other people’s problems
I want to introduce you to Sumit Bansal. He is really good with Microsoft Excel. Do you know that moment when you need to use a complicated formula on MS Excel and don’t have a clue how to do it?
Well, he is the guy at work that everyone will ask for help in that situation because he knows a lot about it.
He could be an ordinary salaryman working 9-5 in the office, using his MS Excel skills to impress his boss and colleagues.
Instead, he created TrumpExcel.com and teaches people from all over the world how to use MS Excel efficiently. Selling online courses and other digital products make him more than $10,000 a month in sales.
His special skill is MS Excel.
So at this point, I want you to understand that you have a business already inside of you. I want you to think out of the box, just for the sake of having fun, and start looking at your skills potential business opportunities.
This phase is all about exercising your “Idea Muscle.” This is a concept that I learned from James Altucher.
Don’t be afraid if you’re coming up with bad ideas. At this point, there are no good or bad ideas, just ideas. You’ll have the opportunity to test the best ones in an upcoming step in this process and decide if they are worth turning into products or services.
Just like Sumit realized that he was good at MS Excel – actually, better than most – you’ll find something that you are naturally good at.
This is the first step. You have a large variety of skills, just like the “Excel guy”, that other people will find very valuable.
This includes any skill you have. Please, don’t get stuck at this point trying to find sophisticated skills. Remember, it can be as simple as being good at Excel.
Here you have some examples for some inspiration:
- I speak Spanish.
- I can generate leads on LinkedIn.
- I finish with zero in my inbox every day.
- I keep my stuff perfectly organized all the time.
- I can almost always find cheap flights.
Don’t overthink at this point. You will have the opportunity to clean up your list later on. At the moment, you don’t need to find a good idea and start developing your products and services.
The starting point to find an original idea is to make sure that you have certain skills that gives you an advantage over someone else. That’s it!
You can use your skills to come up with great ideas like:
- Using your Photoshop skills you can design a logo or a product design to other companies.
- You can use your communication skills to create new connections to other professionals.
- You can teach beginners how to get started with meditation.
- You can write an article for a business about a topic related with their industry.
They will buy your knowledge to save time and money
Another important factor to come up with great business ideas is the knowledge that you already have. Many entrepreneurs ignore this point at the moment to start a business, so make sure that you don’t underestimate your own knowledge base.
Here I want you to think about your knowledge, whether you think it is valuable or not.
Maybe you have deep knowledge of Star Wars, and you think there is no way to build a profitable business around that.
In that case, let me tell you about Rebel Force Radio, a podcast that centers on Star Wars – and yes, they make money from it.
Now it’s time to come up with as many ideas as you can. We’ll validate the best ones later.
Don’t worry if you come up with random knowledge ideas, like having a deep knowledge of bar games. Yes, bar games.
That wasn’t a random example. I was talking about Patrick Hess, founder of Bar Games 101. He teaches people a wide variety of games to play with friends and family, and he’s making over $4,000 a month.
Sometimes, you can create a product or service just using your knowledge, for example:
- Because you know how a search engine works you can help businesses to be found on Google.
- Maybe you can become an online coach, and help others to succeed in their careers, business, or in life.
- If you are in a certain industry for many years, you can simply introduce others to the right connections
Use your experience to overcome insurmountable obstacles.
Think about any problem or challenge that you have overcome in the past.
Very often, we overcome obstacles and challenges in life that we quickly forget about.
In my case, I moved to the UK from Spain. I spoke no English at the time, but I started my first profitable online business in the UK, which allowed me to be financial —and geographical— independent and learn the language.
That was a huge challenge I wasn’t sure I’d be able to beat. Now, it’s not even a challenge, and I can move virtually anywhere without even seeing that as a problem.
This are a few examples of challenges you might have overcome:
- Moving to a new city and making friends.
- Getting out of debt.
- Losing 60 pounds before your wedding.
- Landing a great mortgage on a low income.
If you’ve overcome problems like these, you can certainly help and guide other people to do the same. And trust me, behind that is the potential for a new business that you can easily turn into a product or service.
As I have shown you in those examples you don’t need to be a top expert featured in CNN every week. You just need to have a deep understanding of a certain topic that gives you the advantage of teaching other people and add enough value to them.
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3 ways to come up with problem-solving business ideas
One of the best ways to come with great ideas for starting a business is by identifying problems that already exist and are not being properly attended to.
Sometimes, you don’t need to invent the wheel again but simply open your eyes and pay attention to your environment. What people is complaining about? What would make their lives easier?
Now let’s take a look at what I mean by a small business that solve real problems.
How to come up with a business idea that solves REAL problems?
This approach is based on defining problems —that you can solve— even before you start working on a business plan.
If you think about it, many startup ideas are based on this simple approach. Uber gives you access to a driver whenever you are from your smartphone.
Entrepreneurs are focus on solving problems all the time, new ones, or detecting old solutions and improving their results building better solutions that solve the problem faster and more effectively.
Now, I want to share with you some problem-solving ideas that will unlock many business opportunities, and who knows, maybe you can use this to start your own company, and finally, become a full-time entrepreneur.
Solve an under-attended problem
Today, thanks to the internet we can easily detect virtually unlimited business opportunities by simply listening to what people are saying.
Places like Quora or Reddit, are amazing places to do some market research before you start thinking in your future business model.
If you want to start your own company, identifying under-attended solutions is a great starting point for a few reasons:
- You won’t start from scratch, there are other businesses in that niche.
- You can get access to real potential customers and learn from their experience.
- You can find an existing producto or service that you can use to create a better one.
- Once you have created your solution, you can easily test it with existing customers.
Scratch your own “itch”
This is a very simple way to find good business ideas, easy and with potential market demand. It’s as simple as solving your own problems.
The process here is to identify one of your problems, something that is annoying you enough to start thinking about a possible solution.
It’s important that you find an “itch” that you really want to scratch and make it disappear. Otherwise, you —like everyone else— won’t bother to solve that problem.
For example, I create a lot of content. And trust me if I tell you that it consumes most of my time, especially in the research and writing the first draft of an article.
I would be very happy to pay to someone to do all that for me. A writer that help me with my content creation so my readers can enjoy more and better conent.
This is actually an existing product. Let me share with you some examples:
- Help businesses to manage their social network.
- Support new business paperwork.
- Edit videos for content creators.
Improve a current solution
Maybe already exists a solution for the problem that you are trying to solve, but is not very efficient. People’s needs and problems change over time so the pain point is changing too.
Is very common to see new businesses creating new and updated software because an old platform is providing a poor user experience.
iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone in the market, but Steve Jobs and his team knew their market very deeply, so thay created the best smartphone of the market.
The same thing with Jeff Bezos, beyond his overwhelming net worth value, is the idea of offering a worldwide e-commerce business that anybody can use.
Those e-commerce platforms already existed, but you needed to visit them one by one, doing your online research, and then hope that the quality was ok and your item will be delivered as expected. Amazon dramatically improved that situation.
You can find many companies that follow this exact approach improving the experience of their customers.
Wrap up and final tips to find your business idea
As you see, you don’t need to become a trendy entrepreneur and move to San Francisco to come up with a good business idea. Like many other companies, you just need to start with a “good enough” idea that solves a specific problem.
- Focus on your skills, knowledge, and expertise to find that “unfair advantage” over the market.
- Find meaningful problems that you can solve and build a “good enough” product or service to offer.
- Research and get “real world” feedback by asking your audience or potential customers on forums like Reddit.
- Observe the competition and detect under-attended needs and pain points that the market is demanding.