we analyzed a lot of startups and we find out that there are several concrete ways to come up with great startup ideas, so we put together 7 practices that you can use to find your profitable startup idea. this is not an exhaustive list so you might very well. finding ideas using different approaches so let’s start.
1. Develop an expertise
with the first one for many famous companies out there, great ideas came by when founders were good. at something very often there were simple side projects that were started to solve personal niche problems or even just for fun.
Gmail started as a search engine for emails that worked better than the others, so being an expert in a certain field and feeling that there is something to be improved. there can lead to great discoveries.
another good example is Hotmail the developer’s Jack Smith and Fabio Basia were working at Apple. they wanted to communicate with each other about their business ideas but they didn’t want to do it for their work emails, so their bosses couldn’t read them. they also couldn’t access their private emails because the company’s firewalls blocked access to it. so that’s when they started to code a web-based email service that can be accessed from anywhere in the world and that is not linked to any Internet service provider and so Hotmail was born.
2. observing your surroundings
what if you feel you’re not a nerd or anything like this that’s not a problem there are other ways to spot great ideas like observing your surroundings when was the last time you were in a business meeting it likely looked something like this overwhelmed employees rushing through their messages on their various devices and not paying attention slack came in with a simple proposal be less busy.
let’s take a look at more For example a good one is tinder its founders Sean rad and Justin Mateen knew each other since they were teenagers and studied entrepreneurship together right observed how difficult it was to approach a girl when you don’t know her and especially when you’re shy wouldn’t it feel much more comfortable approaching her if you know that she wants to be approached is there some way to break the ice tinder was born in 2012 based on this mutual opt-in system so that all the stress of meeting a stranger could be taken away.
3. Monitor future trends
monitoring future trends is another great way to find opportunities don’t start anything in a dying industry instead get yourself up to speed on growing industries and the most important global trends these trends can be as diverse as the increasing urbanization of our planet its growing population increasing longevity and global warming reduction fossil fuels and their impact on increasing co2 levels and global warming is indeed one of the biggest trends and challenges of our time.
Tesla for example is serving on this trend its founder Elon Musk set out to create powerful sports cars which are not at all powered by fossil fuels but by electric batteries these electric cars are eco-friendly and aim to change the automobile market to one where fossil fuels will not be needed anymore in the future for some inspiration you can check out.
Gartner’s hype cycle for emerging technologies which shows each year which technologies are at which stage of maturity for example drones, Automation, robotics, 3d printing, IOT &Telematics and virtual reality are important emerging technologies today all these are growing business areas with lots of opportunities.
4. spot inefficiencies
if you set out to look at them ever get mad about being stuck in traffic think twice this recent picture shows a 50 lane traffic jam in China makes you feel better about your rather small scale traffic jam right and it’s also a great inspiration for finding new ideas try to spot inefficiencies like this outdated business practices and terrible customer service.
that’s often how it is in well-established industries where there’s too little competition to stimulate innovation, for example, cable companies in the US like Comcast or Time Warner Cable used to compete for a city instead of competing for customers that were something established by law when a the city was awarded a cable operator people had no choice but to use it so of course there was no need to improve customer service because it was impossible to switch to another provider.
instead, the cable companies were more focusing on their business processes first and customers came second when streaming options like Netflix came by people started to cut the cord of their cable TVs and these companies started to witness massive losses in viewership.
5. middlemen aggregator
another way to spot ideas is to observe industries that have a lot of middlemen don’t get me wrong it’s not about making others lose their jobs but sometimes industries just become overwhelmed with middlemen and get more inefficient in the process the customer ends up paying the bill very often technology can solve the problem by creating a unique go-to place for specific types of products or services.
in the travel industry for example got disrupted quite a lot with technology over the past years online providers have taken many physical travel agencies out of business instead of going to a travel agent people can book hotels flights cars cruises restaurant tables and so many other travel services online today the online travel agency OYO which was born with a simple aggregator idea has become the largest online hotel chain in India and it’s growing fast thanks to many acquisitions which makes OYO the market leader in the India.
6. Copy & improve
now what about copycats in business copying and improving successful business models are the norm nothing to be ashamed of disruptive ideas are rare and it’s very likely to get inspired by an idea and to execute it better there is an art to that too rocket internet is based on this practice and proves that successfully copying business models is a business model of its rocket has copied.
many famous startups including eBay, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Groupon, or Birchbox when Groupon was launched in the US rocket created its clone city deal in Germany it started growing tremendously in Europe and Grupo had to buy it out to keep its pole position one of the three founders.
Oliver somewhere is a firm believer of what Thomas Edison once said success is just 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration it’s not about who had the innovative idea first but who executed on it better and became market leader faster.
7. you are passionate about
you’re passionate about living after the mode to love what you do and do what you love is not just random words on the entrepreneurial roller coaster you will have many setbacks moments when you have to get back up and you will need a lot of motivation for that a great example is Pinterest its father Ben Silbermann was a passionate collector in his childhood he collected everything and anything stamps insects books for him collecting said a lot about who you are so he decided to mix his passion for collecting with the possibilities of Technology he joined forces with his childhood friend Evan sharp who was also an avid collector together they created Pinterest to bring the collecting experience online and help connect people who have common interests.
so let’s recap spotting problems leads to uncovering great opportunities, leaked to coming up with innovative ideas on how to solve these problems so you have to stop avoiding problems and start embracing them we went through seven different ways to spot problems in this practice some or all of them in your everyday life and write down all the ideas you come up with to build upon them.