Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, coming up with a winning business concept isn’t always easy. You may already have some ideas for a new business brewing, but how do you know if it will be successful or if it’s something you’ll enjoy? Where do you even find inspiration in the first place?
Fortunately, coming up with an idea for a business doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are millions of entrepreneurs who have started out in the exact same place, and below, eight leaders from Young Entrepreneur Council share how they got the ideas for their businesses and what you should do or think about to find the inspiration for your next business venture.
1. Solve Structural Inefficiencies
Take a step back from the day-to-day work and find the friction and structural inefficiencies that exist in your industry of expertise. Approach them with purpose and understand how a company operating in the 21st century (with all the global challenges going on, such as the pandemic, sustainability issues, economic issues and more) would solve that friction. If you find a purpose-driven approach to solve said problem, you’ll attract the right talent to join you on that mission and build a culture that is hard to beat. – Fabi Hubschmid, Markaaz
2. Consider The Pain Points In Your Life
The past three businesses I started were all a result of solving pain points in my life. The first was an Indian music streaming service, the second was an AI-powered assistant and the third and current business is a finance management service created specifically for startups. We arrived at the idea for this business after years of frustrating experiences managing our former startup’s finances. None of the existing solutions on the market were able to truly alleviate the pain points we faced as founders. If a problem is painful enough in your own life, chances are there are others who are also seeking a solution to that problem. Having a personal conviction for creating a solution to a problem in your life goes a long way when weathering the ups and downs of startup life. – Swapnil Shinde, Zeni Inc.
3. Focus On Always Providing Value
Flooring is nothing new, but when the opportunity came about to acquire some assets of a store going out of business, the biggest deciding factor was that the industry was absolutely awful at marketing itself. Most flooring companies had reviews that were three to four stars with an average of only 20 reviews, and those stores have been around for decades. Regardless of what your business does, it has to help people. The question you should always be looking to answer is, “How can I provide the most value to the most people?” We live in an amazing era in which the common man is catered to at a greater level than the kings and queens of old. You want ice cream right now? Uber Eats can deliver it within 15 minutes. Need a product? It can be at your door in 24 hours. Want to have your dog poop picked up? For just $15 per week, someone will do it for you! What does this show? Your business should serve people! – Shane Levinson, Carpets of Arizona
4. Find Something You’re Passionate About
When looking for a business idea, find something you’re passionate about or have a unique niche angle on and then start doing it. As a creative, my idea to start my business came out of a side hustle and quickly became my No. 1 focus. Proof of concept can quickly be established once you have clients who believe in what you do. Creating and running a business takes tremendous drive. If you’re funneling that energy into a field you are really interested in, a lot of the work won’t feel as challenging and you’ll feel energized through the difficult times. – Rachel Lipson, Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People
5. Offer A Solution People Are Willing To Pay For
When I started my company, I had identified a critical area within employee benefits that needed attention, but most firms would not have the staff and resources to invest in it. I decided to take on that risk for them. I built a firm that provided the technology, people and resources needed to just plug in and solve one of their clients’ and prospects’ biggest problems. The advice I would give to any aspiring entrepreneur is that your idea does not need to be unique. Everyone is trying to come up with the next Uber, Facebook or Amazon. Most will never achieve this or they will go broke trying. Instead, identify a problem you can solve that people are willing to pay for. It sounds simple because it is. It’s exactly how I built a national HR technology firm, and I am no unicorn. – Frank B. Mengert, ebm
6. Look For Gaps Between Expectations And Delivery
More and more customers asked for what we now provide, and instead of customizing it every time, we decided to build a platform that would be flexible and easy enough so that the customers could use it to meet their needs. Look for gaps between expectations and delivery, such as services or products you need or want and haven’t been able to find. However, make sure it’s not only you who wants the product or service; do your market research. If a service or product is not being delivered the way customers want and you find the way to do so, customers will follow. The same works for products or services people want and can’t find. If you fill the gap between offer and demand (and make sure to market it properly), customers will follow. – Riccardo Conte, Virtus Flow
7. Seek To Identify And Mitigate Risk
I was a college cheerleader studying computer science and the music industry. After leaving a music licensing class, I headed to cheer practice where I concluded there was no way our team’s music was licensed properly. I soon discovered nearly every school with a cheerleading or dance team was using music in a way that required licensing, but it went unnoticed because the duty fell on the coach who was unaware of these obligations. Enter CheerSounds. Combining software and music production, we automated and simplified the process of obtaining musical assets in a way that made sense to coaches while protecting the school from legal liability. No entity wants to assume undue liabilities, and these opportunities are all around you. Pay attention and look for risk, then mitigate it. – Carmine Silano, CheerSounds Music
8. Look For Opportunities To Create Change
I always wondered why mattresses had to be so expensive and confusing to purchase. When I started to dig into the “why,” I realized that this was by design. Big mattress manufacturers preyed on a lack of customer education and required so many middlemen to sell products that they just ended up charging customers an extraordinary premium. It was clear how unfair this was for buyers, so I decided to do something about it by starting Amerisleep. Other entrepreneurs can also start looking around at why things are a certain way. In some cases, they’ll realize that there isn’t much they can do about the things that might frustrate them or the average consumer. But as they dig into various industries, they’ll easily find that there are plenty of opportunities to create change. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep Mattress