Many people think starting a business is this mythic or mysterious process.
Just like many other things in life, starting a business takes getting help from other people.
As you can see there are many turns and steps to starting a successful startup:
According to Small Business Trends
Having two founders, rather than one, significantly increases your odds of success you'll:
- Raise 30 percent more money,
- Have almost 3x the user growth, and
- Are 19 percent less likely to scale prematurely
You're likely struggling to come up with a business idea that you're passionate about or more importantly customers will love.
Don't worry, you're not alone.
Technology has made it extremely easy to start a business that startups are popping up everyday.
You may have the feeling that everyone has launched all the good ideas out there.
I'm here to tell you that's not the case.
There are always problems that companies face that an innovative solution can solve.
The key is, you just have to find out what those problems are and develop something that helps them solve those problems.
Easier said than done, I know....
It's likely at this point you're frustrated or even worse ready to give up starting your own business.
Don't give up, this post will give you a few tips to get ideas much easier.
To get you started, here are 3 tips that I use daily to have people eager to bring me ideas to launch a business.
Have you ever wondered what it's like to have people just tell you what they will buy?
Have you ever dreamed having people literally handing you business ideas?
Well it's possible. You just can't expect it to happen overnight, unless you change the way people see you.
"If you really want to beat the odds and become a successful entrepreneur, the last thing you want to do is sit at your computer and try to come up with a startup or small business idea out of the blue."
Most people finding and testing startup ideas harder than it truly is.
You're likely feeling like you're on an island by yourself shuffling through different ideas.
There are tons of ideas out there.
But which one will make you the money you're looking for?
Which one will customers love?
All sounds familiar right?
This is why you need to be transparent and let people know you're looking to start a business.
You may have this illusion that startup founders only look like Mark Zuckerburg or Jeff Bezos or some other vision.
Not true.... they look like you.
And the people around you need to know you're on this journey, because they are willing to help you.
But only if you "be transparent" and let them know.
Get in the habit of telling everyone about the ideas you have
Continuously talking to people about your ideas sets the tone for your goals, who you are and what you're about.
According to Kevin Siskar, Director of Founder Institute in New York
"If you keep your ideas a secret it will be impossible for anyone to actually help you."
How do you transition to this person that everyone looks at as a successful entrepreneur?
How do you get people literally handing you ideas?
Below are 3 ways you can start today to make this transition:
1 - Share Your Current Ideas
This is pretty simple for you to start immediately.
You can give people a call, have dinner, or meet up for coffee.
Don't make it awkward by just coming out with your ideas.
Be genuine and with catching up, small talk, etc.
Eventually transition into what you've been up to lately.
Share your idea or problems you've discovered.
Doesn't matter if they aren't overly excited about it, just important at this stage they know you're on this journey.
2 - Talk About Their Ideas
Don't be afraid to ask them about their ideas or what problems they are facing.
If they don't have anything right on top of their head this is sure to get their wheels turning in their head.
This is a great way for the to share possible ideas or problems for you to follow up on with other people.
Hopefully at this point you're starting to see why it's important to be transparent with the people you know.
3 - Ask Them to Share Their Ideas With You in the Future
It's critical that you ask them to share ideas or problems they come across in the future.
Be sure to make them feel comfortable to share all ideas.
One of the mistakes I made in the beginning is making them feel it had to be this great idea before they share it with me.
The people you know shouldn't be thinking too deep about what is or isn't a good idea.
This is what you specialize in and will test what is or isn't a good idea.
You can ensure they share all ideas, by simply saying;
"Don't worry about how stupid the idea may seem, just send it my way... love to hear about them all!"
Being transparent works really well with the people that already love and know you.
If you've never started a business before, then they know you for what you do today or have known you for years.
Changing this perception of you can be a bit challenging at first but with some consistency and discipline it will happen.
Talk to People Where You Do Business
Developing solid relationships with people you do business with is critical when coming up with startup ideas.
Think about the people you do business with today:
- Dry Cleaners
- General Contractors
Businesses face problems that startup innovative can help them solve.
Just as you're transparent with your friends and family about what you're pursuing....
The people you do business with are just as critical to know about your journey.
Businesses are will generally have more interest in you helping them solve their problems than friends and family.
The problems they face impacts the way they serve their customers.
This includes their cost and time it takes to serve their customers.
If you share that you have interest in their problems and can help them solve them, then they will be more than willing to share their ideas with you.
As you can see, just simply coming in paying your money then walking out is a huge mistake.
Especially if your goal is to get a flurry of problems to solve and launch a successful business.
Here are some questions you can ask people you do business with:
- What are the top 3 challenges you face in your job?
- What are some unmet needs you have?
- What's the hardest part about being a [demographic you're serving]?
- What tasks take up the most tie during your day?
- What product or service do you wish you had that doesn't exist yet?
- What could be done to improve your experience as a [demographic you're serving]?
Asking these questions will get the conversation going.
Be careful how you present yourself as someone that just wants to start a business rather than someone looking to help them.
Once you have developed a relationship, then it's appropriate to share how you can help them.
Stay away from cheesy sales approaches rather it's important to make what you can do all about them and their siutation.
If they are faced with high overhead cost because they are doing things manually with employees....
Or they are certain tasks manually and it takes too long and technology can solve this problem...
They are sure to give you a call or set up a meeting knowing that you can help them.
Surveys are a great way to collect customer satisfaction info but it's also a great way to get startup ideas.
Words of caution......
Surveys alone are not the best option to collect startup ideas.
But when you couple it with setting meetings and having real conversations it has been proven to be very effefctive.
Coming up with ideas in some cases can be pretty easy, but finding potential customers to validate can be time-consuming.
Many times the sample group that you can reach is tool small and biased because they really like you.
Or it could be that you just don't have the time because you work a 9-to-5 full-time job.
This is where surveys can be an effective option.
There are plenty of survey options out there for you to implement:
- Google Forms
- Survey Monkey
How do you use surveys to get or validate startup ideas?
It's important that you work backwards and think about what you're going to do with the feedback.
Are you trying to find ideas in general that people or businesses are faced with?
Or are you trying to validate a specific idea that you already have in mind and wanting to test?
In both cases you need to build your survey questions around pulling out this information from your audience.
Since the goal of using surveys are to reach a wide demographic, social media outlets are a great way to solicit feedback.
Share them on your main timeline, forums, groups, and you can even run a simple ad using Facebook or Google AdWords.
When I first validated my startup ideas, I made a lot of mistakes.
I have a wife and kids, working a full-time job, it was critical for me to put systems in place to get startup ideas.
I thought thinking of and getting startup ideas that customers will love was really complicated. I'm not technical, and no history of owning a business.
I see other entrepreneurs make the same mistake time and time again. They get frustrated and continuously do the wrong things.
The hard truth is you need ideas customers will love or you will not have a business.
That doesn't mean you have to spend countless hours on your own thinking of startup ideas.
It just means you have to start being more transparent and leveraging the ideas from other people around you.
Because it's the foundation for having people bringing startups to you. You want to have more ideas to test and validate, right?
Thinking of startup ideas might not come easy to you. That's okay. It doesn't have to.
Start using these techniques, and you'll start getting startup ideas a lot faster than ever before.
I suggest you start with your friends and family first, then branch out into the places you do business with.
Taking it one step at a time will help you build confidence which is better than not starting at all.
But if you want the best possible results, I recommend taking action starting today.
If you really want to get tons of ideas, combine all three of these strategies together.
What's your favorite strategy to come up with startup ideas?