What if you could think of an endless amount of startup ideas?
You can with the right focus and mindset.
Lacking ideas has never been the true reason entrepreneurs don't launch new businesses.
We all have ideas both good and bad ones. There nothing wrong with having a long list of terrible ideas to find a good one.
But it's not ideas you should be focusing on. You should be focusing on problems that people are facing which turns into good ideas.
Successful startup ideas tend to have three characteristics:
- problems you face
- you can build it your self (tech or non-tech)
- few people feel your idea is worth a d%@n
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of caring too much about their ideas and not paying enough attention to problems.
Helps you stay connected with our family and friends, connect with colleagues and reach business contacts easier and faster.
According to a study by CB Insights 42% of the businesses they researched failed because there wasn't a market need.
When you focus on problems, you become a painkiller for your customers. They will seek you out and pay for your relief.
This is why you and all entrepreneurs should focus on problems.
Yet, entrepreneurs continue to make the same mistakes of trying to solve problems that don't truly exist.
If someone has a toothache.... they may go a stretch pushing through the pain. But eventually they will be looking for relief.
Let's say you're a dentist, of course you have a way to make it better. They will hand you money to make the pain go away.
This is what building successful businesses is all about and why you MUST focus on problems.
There are tons of opportunities throughout the day to come across problems people face on a daily basis.
Focus On Your Problems
You encounter many problems on a daily basis that could potentially turn into successful startup ideas without even noticing it.
The truth is we all do:
- Need better ways to find and meet the right people to date
- Need a better way to manage my passwords for all my online accounts.
- Need a better way to meet my fitness goals with a busy schedule
- Need a better way to store documents without running out of space
- Need better alternatives other than hotels when I travel
- Need easier and faster way to move furniture
You have likely been faced with a couple or all of these problems at some point in your life.
So how do the successful entrepreneurs turn these problems into million dollars ideas?
By constantly being curious and asking themselves 'why'?
The biggest mistake you're likely making today is you're accepting the challenges as they are and not thinking about how to make them better.
The successful startups we know and love today all started with this mindset:
The founders of these iconic didn't have mystical powers, they continuously asked themselves why to their problems.
Your path to launching a successful business lays between the unfocused mindset and the focused mindset.
You must become really good at analyzing your own problems and how big they are.
When you come across a problem that fits the criteria of one that should be solved.... ask yourself.
"Do I really need this solution right now?"
"Do I need this painkiller so much that I'm willing to pay for it even if it's created by someone I've never heard of before."
It's likely that if you can't answer yes to those questions, chances are the problem isn't big enough.
How do you go about shifting to this mindset?
A great start is looking for things that's missing today that others are overlooking.
Here are the steps you can use to break a problem down:
1 - How often does this problem happen?
Understanding how often your problems happen is a great way to test the severity.
If this is happening to you often, many others are likely facing the same problem as often as you are.
2 - Does this problem waste time and/or money?
When you have a problem that's costing you time and money then this is a hint that you have a 'real' problem.
Wasting time doesn't feel good but spending money is even worse.
Document how much it cost and how much time it takes you....
Add them up and break them down daily, weekly, monthly, or annually.
3 - What are you doing how to resolve this problem? Why this?
Document from beginning to end how you are currently resolving this issue today?
If you feel like there is a better way book book appointments with your barber or hair stylist.
Write down your full process how you do it today. Then analyze how you think it would save you time.
No one knows the problems you face like you do. So take some time to analyze what they are and how to make them better.
Successful entrepreneurs followed the same path to launch their businesses, so you're on the right track.
Focus On Friends & Family Problems
How many times per day do your hear your friends and family complain about something?
How much they hate moving companies...
How much they hate going through the name change process due to a marriage.
How much they hate getting their taxes done...
If you scroll up and down your Facebook timeline you will see these types of complaints every other post.
It's those types of complaints that will help you launch fundable ideas into the universe.
Some of my best ideas comes from listening to my friends and family complain.
It wasn't always that way for me, but that changed when I started focusing on problems like you will now on a daily basis.
Tips to help you make the most of those complaints:
1 - Don't make it awkward
It's not good practice for you to come out and state "you want to hear about their problems."
People will find that weird and likely shut you down immediately.
2 - Don't pull out a notebook
If you're meeting a friend out for lunch or drinks don't immediately whip out a notebook.
This is not your interview, and definitely not the right time to start with interview questions.
Focus on their problems, take mental notes and store it away for later.
3 - Don't keep the conversation around their problem
Listen to their problems, and integrate your questions in to understand what it is and why it matters to them.
If they say, "I have to move a couch, and I hate going having furniture moved."
Your reply: "How do you normally move furniture
Their reply: "I normally go to U-Haul"
Your reply: "I've never used them (even if not true), what's that process like for you"
Their reply: "I have to go in, leave my car, pick up the truck. Sometimes they don't have the size that I need either."
Your reply: "Yeah sounds painful. How much do they normally cost?"
Their reply: "They advertise it's only $19.95,... but you actually pay for gas, miles, insurance which will actually put you close to or above $100."
Your reply: "Wow! Yeah definitely sounds like their could be a better way out there."
At this point you have more than enough information that will allow to know this is a pain.
This is the point you will want to transition the conversation back to your normal discussion and enjoy the rest of your dinner.
The next day after dinner you should reach back out to your friend and set some time to discuss their problem as you're doing some research.
Focus on Business Problems
Do you have a preference which type of business to launch.... Business-t0-Business (B2B) vs Business-to-Consumer (B2C)?
There isn't a wrong answer as it all depends on the type of customer you prefer to serve.
But here is something to consider......
B2C companies grow faster than B2B companies:
But if you prefer to launch a business serving businesses or corporations that's not a bad option as well.
No one can tell you which is a better option for you (B2B vs B2B) you must determine this for yourself.
Not sure how to determine the best ideas or identify to high priority problems with companies?
Pretty simple.... start with the companies where you already do business.
Your attorney, accountant, dry cleaners, fitness clubs, local corner stores, and restaurants all face daily problems.
Problems that either causes this additional overhead expenses or waste time because there aren't better options for them.
This is where you come in....
Here are a few tips to ensure you have the most effective conversations:
1 - Build Solid Relationships First
The biggest mistake you can make is making this process all about you and coming up with your idea
Instead build a solid relationship with the business owner, the employees, learn who they are, etc
This shows that you care about them and have more interest outside of just launching a business.
2 - Stay Focused On What They Do
This is critical to observe their process and procedures.
Understand how they service you from beginning to end. Take note of things that they struggle with.
Learn what they struggle with and what they do well.
This will be good information to use when you approach them with some questions.
3 - Use what you've learned
Ok so you've established a solid relationship and observed what their strengths and weaknesses.
Now it's time to put that to use and truly learn what they struggle most with.
Let's say you go to the cleaners weekly and you observe that they have a hard time finding you in the system when you pick up your clothes.
A good question to ask, "what system are you using to look up customer information?"
"How difficult is it for you to find your customers?"
This is a great approach to get them talking about how to look up customers, payment processing, etc
Starting this dialogue is where you identify the problems business owners and employees face the most
There isn't a magical formula when it comes to finding successful startup ideas.
You just need to change your mindset to focusing on the right thing.
And that's focusing on problems.
Identifying high totem pole problems that you personally deal with, friends & family, and business owners is where you find great entrepreneurs.
There are three components to this shift:
- Be aware and focused
- Build relationships
- Ask the right questions
Don't make the mistakes that many entrepreneurs make by building a vitamin business.
A business that people 'could see themselves' using.
Instead focus on real problems and build a painkiller business.
A business that people (even you) desperately need your solution to cure their pain.
Use this as a guide to develop your next business idea and launch the business of your dreams.
What strategy works best for you to come up with business ideas?