How to Come up With an Incredible Business Idea.
Business Idea – Okay.. You are an aspiring entrepreneur with a burning desire to change the world and make tons of money while doing so. You know that you have that business mindset to be successful. But just one problem – you need a business idea. And it really needs to be a good one.
A great idea is the bed rock of any successful business. No matter the nature or type of the business you wish to start, there must be an idea to build around. Google, Facebook, McDonalds, Microsoft, Jumia and other human inventions are all products of someone’s idea.
Unfortunately, many people believe that coming up with ideas is tough – that it must be very hard and so they don’t even try. They think it’s a task only reserved for the ‘business gurus’, ‘geniuses’ and ‘visionaries’. Others think that you must come up with an idea that no one has ever done before. Some others assume that ideas are like miracles: they either pop into your head or they don’t.
Have you had such thoughts? I used to think like that too.
But the truth is that great ideas are everywhere; there is a limitless supply of concepts waiting to be commercialized, launched and marketed. And they are in plain sight. Yeah you heard me! Great ideas are in plain sight! You just have to programme your brain to see them. In this chapter, am going to teach you how to find countless quality business ideas that are relevant in today’s Nigerian market to meet consumers’ needs.
While we are at it, let’s do a quick exercise. Look at the list of figures below and try to find as many figure “9” as you can in the next 10 seconds. Ready! Set! Go!
8 4 6 3 9 2 4 6 3 9 2 4
2 9 4 8 7 3 0 2 5 8 9 4
9 7 4 5 2 0 4 6 3 9 5 2
0 2 5 9 3 7 4 2 9 4 5 8
So how many figure “2” did you see? Ahh.. You see, your brain only sees what you programme it to look for. Since you were looking for “9”, your brain automatically ignore all other numbers because you weren’t looking for them. The same thing happens with the idea brain. Unless you know what you are looking for, business ideas become invisible to you. But that’s about to change. By the time this chapter ends, you will be seeing ideas everywhere you go – At home, on the street, in the mall, in the office, in the gents, restaurant, on your bed, everywhere!
Let’s go there!
HOW TO GET A GOOD BUSINESS IDEA
Formula 1: Think Problems!
If you pay close attention you will notice that most if not all businesses have one thing in common. They all solve a problem, a need, a frustration or make an existing product or service better. In other to find great ideas, you have to train your mind to see opportunities in problems, frustrations, needs that are not being met. The secret is to pay attention to your surroundings and notice opportunities. Start with your personal life – Have you ever felt irritated and unsatisfied about something? Do you ever wish there was a better way to get a task done? Chances are you are not the only one feeling this way. Your job as an entrepreneur is to find problems and then create solutions. Look for people saying things like: “I need help with…”, “I hate doing…”, “how do I do…%C “how do I do…”,” I don’t know how to…”, “I don’t like this…”, “I don’t have a lot of free time to …”, “I can’t find a way to…”, “I wish there was a way…”“Wouldn’t it be nice if…”
If you can find solutions to these complains, you may have got yourself a viable business idea. Here is exactly how you need to go about it:
Step 1 – Get a notepad and a pen and make note of things that bug you every single day. Force your brain to look at your surroundings and find problems and needs. Write down these problems, at least ten of them every single day. It doesn’t matter how dumb or simple the problems might sound – just write them down! Don’t worry about whether or not you think you can solve the problems – JUST WRITE THEM DOWN!
Step 2 – After making a long list of problems, the next step is to start going through and coming up with the solutions to these problems. If you have one or more people whose opinion you respect, then it will be good you bring them in on this step. Teamwork often helps the brainstorming process. If you hit a wall with any particular problem, don’t worry; don’t let it slow you down, just move on to the next. Don’t forget that there are no bad ideas so just throw out everything you think of and filter out the good ones later. Don’t be surprised that in the middle of your brainstorming sessions an idea bulb will ignite and you are on your way to success. Trust me.
Formula 2: Improve on an already existing product or service.
This is called “building a better mousetrap” strategy. You can improve something. This can be done in the following ways:
- You can find an area in an already existing product or service where there are slacks and improve on it. Maybe you went to a restaurant and the service and food were unsatisfactory – say you had to wait a century to get served and the food was cold by the time it got to your table yet the restaurant was full of customers! Imagine what you can do if you started a nearby restaurant with incredible food and awesome service. The keyword here is adding more value
- You can find a fault in a product or service and remove it. This is the case where a business entity comes in and removes inadequacies and inefficiencies in an industry. A classic example would be when Google first entered the search engine industry. During that period, other search engines would come up with a lot of unrelated search results as well as results that were what the user was looking for. Google worked out a way to fix that fault in search and now Google is king on the internet!
- You can also find an area where there is something missing in a product or service and supply it.
Formula 3: Find a perceived gap in the market
This could be as simple as starting a business in a geographical area where there are no competitors. It could also be creating a new product or service to fill a perceived need. An example is the story of two men who travelled to a remote village in India. This village was so poverty stricken that nobody had shoes on their feet. The villagers went about their everyday affairs bare feet. One of the men saw an environment where no viable business could thrive and sadly went back to his country but the other saw a business opportunity! He went back to his county, went to a foot ware manufacturer, produced very low cost foot wares and exported them to this village. He made tons of money selling this cheap affordable foot wares to the villagers. And he didn’t have any competitor for almost a decade. I guess he is still making money.
The trick with this approach is making sure that there is indeed a “need” for your product or service before you spend too much time or money on it.
In Nigeria alone there are six geo-political zones, this gives you a vast opportunity to travel from one zone to another to observe and learn something new. New business ideas can be imported from one place to another. Be explorative!
Formula 4 – Find an area where the current way of doing things imposes a high cost on consumers.
You can find a product or service that imposes a high cost to its clients; the idea here is to offer the same quality of service at a reduced cost. The internet has offered a platform for thousands of businesses to take advantage of this kind of opportunity. Educational websites like udemy.com and learnable.com are common examples of websites who have greatly reduced the price of training and professional development by delivering courses on the internet.
Formula 5: Look at your passions and interests
Everyone is passionate about something. We are born with it. There are always going to be things we love to do. Things we dream about doing. Those passions and interests if harnessed and marketed properly can be turned into successful businesses. However passion alone is not enough to start a business. In the next chapter, we will find out if starting your business based on your passion and natural talents is really a good idea.
Formula 6: Listen to your hunches.
There is nothing more satisfying than going with your gut and getting it right. You may have a peculiar feeling that a particular idea will payoff big time. The more you practice coming up with and validating business ideas, the more you will have hunches that will transit to cash. Be sure to research and validate your hunch so you don’t invest resources only to hit a dead end.
Formula 7: Take Action
If you are really serious about coming up with some good business ideas, get down to work, stop finding a million and one excuses why you can’t do it, stop second guessing yourself. Stop being afraid! You can do it! Try creating one idea using any of the formulas stated above and see if you can come up with some good business ideas that may also be an opportunity. You can do it! Go for it!
Points to remember:
In summary, your business idea must fulfill most or all of these features to be accepted in the market.
- It should solve a problem or need of the customer.
- There must be a targeted market for your idea
- Your idea should get advantage over competitors by providing consumers higher value.
- Your business idea should be better than substitute products and services. It should be unique, exceptional and typical.
- Your business idea should be able to generate profit at least in the long run if not in the short run.
- Your business idea should be credible.
Photo Credit: https://nevadasmallbusiness.com/