How to Come up With Amazing Startup Ideas

You may have been taught that all great startups begin with an amazing idea for a product or service. This is simply not the case. Millions of brilliant ideas are formulated in classrooms, laboratories, board rooms, offices, and even around kitchen tables. The great majority of these wonderful ideas never come to any sort of fruition. This is because an idea looking for an audience or a problem to solve is pretty much useless.

A successful enterprise begins with a desire to solve a problem. The only way to solve a problem is to research and come to an intensive level of knowledge when it comes to that problem. This is not something that is achieved through ‘build a better mouse trap’ thinking, although this model of building a business makes for entertaining movies and television shows.

Fortunately, there are a fairly reliable set of steps that you can take that will help guide you to a startup idea that is a real money maker. 

Define Your Target Market: Your ideal target will involve a larger industry. This will give you the growth potential and profitability potential that makes your time and effort worthwhile. Remember that it does not take any more effort to launch a start up that has big growth potential than it does to launch a startup that will remain a small to medium size business. If you are willing to work in a niche that isn’t hip or trendy, you will face less competition, and improve the likelihood that you will become successful.

The question to ask yourself when you begin this process is, what population can I target that isn’t having their needs met. Let’s say that you define this demographic as middle-aged women interested in wood and metal crafts. You choose this demographic because you have a background in metal and woodworking, you know that there is an increasing interest in these skills from middle-aged women, and you know that this group is largely being ignored by companies in the wood and metal working industries.

Determine Your Entry Point: At this point, you may be tempted to jump in with both feet and launch a startup that designs, manufactures, and sells wood and metal working tools just for women. Don’t do that. First, you have no idea if anybody has already tried that and failed. Instead, spend months maybe years, researching the industry and what has been done to reach female consumers.

For example, you could find where women metal and wood workers talk to one another online. What are their desire, and what are their complaints? Are they…

  • Frustrated that they cannot use standard tools?
  • Struggling to be taken seriously when they take woodworking classes?
  • Ostracized by members of online forums that are dedicated to wood and metal smithing?
  • Not finding kits or project ideas that appeal to them?
  • Irritated that the efforts to cater to them are patronizing and cutesy?

The more you research and study, the close you will come to a serviceable startup idea. Better yet, you may come up with an idea that has an easy entry point. In other words, you will find the problem that you are able to solve.

Clearly Identify Your Solution: Now you are ready to sit around the kitchen table to define your big idea. Just remember that this isn’t a one shot deal. You will come up with thousands of ideas that you will soon realize are not practical, or that simply will not make any money. For example, you may decide to publish a series of wood and metal working guides aimed at your target audiences. These guides will contain instruction and project ideas geared towards women. Then, you find out that this idea is completely impractical because the price of publishing and printing is too expensive. You also realize that wood and metal workers in general don’t tend to buy books or manuals in print form. You look into online publishing, but you find that this way more complex than you imagined it would be. So, you go back to square one to work out another idea.

Perhaps, in our example, you realize that your best bet is to produce a series of online videos instead of producing magazines. You post a few sample videos on YouTube as a teaser, and then offer the rest of your videos through an online subscription service.

This is a long and involved process, but it is what people do who truly want to launch a startup that grows into a profitable enterprise. There is simply no magic to this process. It is a series of calculated steps, that involve research, making predictions, and vetting out ideas until one of those ideas sticks.