Coming up with the next big business idea can be a challenge in today’s saturated markets. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, there’s a good chance you’ve already spent countless hours brainstorming. Sometimes, sitting, thinking, and hoping for a flash of lighting idea just isn’t practical. Here are some tips to help you generate unique ideas with business potential.
Identify a Problem
Some of the most successful companies were born out of necessity. Make it a point to keep your ears and eyes open for an opportunity to improve your own life. There’s a good chance that if you desire a product, other people are interested too. For example, whoever invented the salad spinner was probably tired of soggy salads. When you notice something in your life that needs improvement, that’s the perfect time to start brainstorming a practical solution.
Choose a Niche
You don’t need to create the next major invention to be a successful entrepreneur. The internet has made it possible for you to reach a global market, so there is likely to be an audience even for the most obscure products. For instance, if you wanted to develop a real estate app, you are unlikely to have much luck making one that lets you browse homes for sale, as there are already plenty of similar options out there. If you created an app specifically for finding affordable apartments in Toronto, you might have more success. Take a broad idea, and put it under a microscope.
Do Market Research
After deciding on a niche, spend some time getting to know the typical consumer and their needs and desires. For example, if you decide you want to create a new kitchen appliance, visit online culinary forums, and ask what people wish they had in the kitchen. Sometimes the best approach is letting the consumer come up with the idea for you. Once you understand the community behind your niche, you can come up with better ideas. Ideally, you should already be passionate, or at least genuinely interested, in whatever field you decide to pursue.
Take a Step Back
For many entrepreneurs, that eureka moment happens out of nowhere. If you’re spending a significant amount of time pondering your next move, you may be doing more harm than good. Set aside time for brainstorming sessions, but don’t forget to take a break. Your subconscious mind is a powerful thing, and you may be surprised when the perfect idea emerges seemingly out of thin air. You never know when the light bulb over your head is going to start shining, so try not to get stressed out if you’re struggling to come up with ideas.
Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
If you’re not having success generating a business idea, you may want to branch out your life. The best way to think outside the box is to remove yourself from it entirely. Push yourself to embrace new experiences and find inspiration in unusual settings. Talk to interesting people. Visit new places. Watch obscure movies, and listen to a new style of music. Forcing your brain to absorb unfamiliar things is a great way to change your standard thinking patterns and gain new insight into the world around you. Broadening your horizons makes you a more well-rounded person, which helps you better understand the needs of your target demographic.
Consider the Execution Potential
Once you’ve come up with one or more ideas, decide if they’re actually feasible as a business plans. Yes, flying cars would be a successful invention for entrepreneurs, but obviously that’s not a practical option at this point in time. You may come up with some fantastic ideas, but if they are not realistic, you’re only wasting your time. That said, don’t be afraid to go big. If you’re passionate about an idea, pursue every possible channel to make it a reality. Just make sure you’re honest with yourself, so you don’t waste valuable time, money and resources going down a hopeless path.
Try to Identify the Potential Market Reception
If you have an idea, and you know that you are able to bring it to fruition, you’re not quite in the clear yet. You need to make sure people are definitely receptive to your idea. Of course, sometimes you just know when you have a winning idea, but it’s not always that cut and dried. Before you start talking to people about your product idea, consider applying for a patent. In Canada, a patent prevents other people from imitating, using, or profiting from your idea for up to 20 years from the day the patent is granted. This is a worthwhile step if you’re serious about your endeavor and you want to prevent others from stealing your hard work and great ideas.
If you don’t have a patent yet, confide in people you trust, Talk about your idea with family members and close friends, and get their opinions. Once you have a patent to protect your idea, branch out further, visiting online communities to gauge interest. If the response is positive, you may even be able to obtain startup financing through a crowdfunding campaign. It may take time for your idea to come to life, but if you’re genuinely passionate about it, there’s a strong chance that other people are interested too. Follow your dreams, but be realistic. Sometimes it takes many tries before you find that perfect idea that sticks.