All it takes is one great business idea to build a successful business. As an entrepreneur, you will invest a significant amount of time finding great ideas, refining them, and developing them to solve customer problems.

This article aims to guide your path with methods, ideation tools, and tactics to find and validate ideas to decide whether it is worthwhile to pursue them or not. I suggest you follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Identify and define your business idea.
  2. Discover the real customer segment for your idea 
  3. Use proven methods to validate ideas 
  4. Analyze the competitive landscape to enhance your value proposition to outdo the competition

How to get Business Ideas

We are now living in the idea economy. Every moment someone somewhere is thinking about making things cheaper, better, and faster.
To be a reckoning force in the idea economy, you need to analyze the market landscape constantly. Your idea must solve the customer problem in a way far better than how your target customer currently solves their problem.

The best ideas happen when entrepreneurs like you know what you are good at and extend your talent, skills, and experiences to build the product that generates customer interest. Chefs, singers, coaches, mentors, doctors, and many other professionals and experts pursue their entrepreneurial dream by leveraging their talents and skills.
The other way to get ideas is to willfully generate them while watching something interesting, observing life experiences, reading a book, scanning through the news, and observing trends.

Listed below are a few other methods you can apply to formulate great business ideas:

1) Be the solution

Perceive challenges as opportunities. You can come up with ideas when you’re facing a situation, and you realize that there isn’t a solution to this problem as yet. For example, King C. Gillette got fed up with sharpening his straight-edge razor every day. That’s when he came up with the reusable razor. It’s the same reason why service providers, Uber and Ola, rose considerably. The founders felt that it was daunting to hire local cabs and autorickshaws instantly, and it was embarrassing to deal with the driver’s refusal to ply to places the customer wanted to go.

When you view the successful products and services that you use regularly, you will find that they all solve customer problems more proficiently, thus offering people a better solution and experience.

Useful tip: Be empathetic. It’ll help if you be in other people’s shoes. That way, you can discover your idea faster than you can imagine.

2) Add Value

The biggest and best reason for success is delivering value to your customers. They inform, inspire, educate, empower and enrich the lives of their customers. Communicate your values effectively so that they feel using your product will help them gain in terms of money, time, authenticity, effort taken, and most importantly, trust — you have a winning product in your hands.

Here are two ways to go at a deeper level to discover the values:

  1. Select 3 companies that you prefer most. Make a list of qualities you like about those products or services. Why do you like them above others? What are the values they add to your life? How do they simplify and make your life and living easier?
  2. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask, ‘What is the thing that’s missing in my life, that if I am provided with, it will add significant value to me now, and in the future?” 

3) Believe in Your Ideas

Trust your instincts. BELIEVE in your idea. Go all out and execute it well. There are numerous cases where entrepreneurs get ridiculed for their business ideas, but they pursue them to make it happen despite all odds. For example, King C. Gilette (reusable razor), Steve Jobs (touchscreen), Google (many other search engines were already out there before Google), and Twitter (engineers thought it was a stupid idea) faced early rejections from people around them.

Useful tip: Persevere. If you truly believe in your business idea, perseverance could be the key to making it a success. Don’t jump from one idea to another. Sometimes, it is not about coming up with new ideas. It is about following your goal until it clicks.

4) Do What You Love, Love What You Do

These times are the best times of innovation that we’ve had until now. Anyone (literally anyone) with extraordinary talent and good execution skills can make it big. Don’t take your hobbies lightly. Think about leveraging your talents, skills, and passion for converting it into a business opportunity. Even if you aren’t the best in that field as yet, to begin with, pick ONE hobby and excel in it. Know EVERYTHING that’s to know about it. Very soon, your expertise will start to pay you rich dividends.

Get inspired by customers’ changing habits, community, social dynamics, and lifestyle trends. See how to fit your talent or skill in the given scenario and blend it in. Build your business idea around it.

Gather Knowledge About Existing Ideas: Study in detail brilliant ideas that interest you most or in areas that you are skilled at. Google it! See why those businesses are such huge hits. Learn more about those entrepreneurs and companies. Scanning these ideas will give you insights that will be helpful in your idea-building activity.

Useful tip: Draw inspiration from history, science fiction, and mythology.

5) Think Out of Box

TThink Out of the Box
Now that you know quite a bit about these businesses, it looks like they are missing something. Did anyone mention to you why they were angry with a particular brand? Did someone tell you those car rental providers aren’t as professional as they often don’t come on time? Was someone not happy with their hotel booking? Is buying houses cumbersome on some of the most successful online property sites? Is there something that you can do to make it better? If you have an answer, there’s your brilliant idea! Or emulate successful business ideas in other markets and territories.

Useful tip: If your area or city does not have such services, maybe you can be the one to start something on similar lines.

6) Plugin the Gap

People around you could probably give you some brilliant business ideas for successful startups. You will find many products that you can improve with new features and benefits rather than coming up with entirely new ideas. Steve Jobs spotted the genius of Steve Wozniak. That was his winning idea! Together they leveraged their design and technology skills to create the most successful company of all time. Many people are good at innovating but don’t know how to take their product forward. If you are a good marketer and love doing that, you could build that business idea by partnering with an innovator.

7) Read Customer Feedback Online

People ignore customer feedback on existing products or services. Feedbacks and complaints are a goldmine of what products offer and how it makes customers feel dissatisfied. Here’s where your untapped potential lies. Take up today’s most popular products, go through the feedback, and pick up what people are missing in the product. Create the inventory of missing features to analyze if you can innovate and provide those missing features. The missing link is the most significant opportunity you have up for the grab. You can consider Google Docs as an example of how the company filled the missing features and simplicity people wanted in Microsoft Office.

Useful tip: Begin with the end in mind.

8) Predict the future

Today, almost everything is rapidly changing. For example, e-commerce has gone through the roof with smartphones making internet access easier. Soon with bandwidth not being a problem, net users will probably prefer to watch more videos instead of reading since this saves time. Explore the possibilities of this trend further. Envision what could be useful two or five years from now.

Useful tip: Remain curious.

9) Keep up with Technology

Today, many offline businesses are now setting up websites and e-commerce sites to reach a wider audience worldwide. Setting up these websites and e-commerce sites itself could be a booming business. There may be many websites and e-commerce platform providers, but is there something you could do differently? If you can provide a key differentiator to what is currently available in the market, you’ve got it right.

Learn From Your and Others’ Mistakes: We all make mistakes, but people who learn from those blunders succeed in life. Those who learn from others’ mistakes move ahead faster. You can probably get your business idea from such mistakes! Figure out how to correct these mistakes and come up with your own plan to do things better.

10) Learn From the Experts

Many experts hold seminars and conferences to develop brilliant, winning business ideas or plans. Attend these seminars, conferences, expert talks, industry briefings, and learn what they are talking about their life and business aspects. It can probably cut down years of your research.

Where to Get Interesting Business Ideas

Many experts hold seminars and conferences to develop brilliant, winning business ideas or plans. Attend these seminars, conferences, expert talks, industry briefings, and learn what they are talking about their life and business aspects. It can probably cut down years of your research.

Many experts hold seminars and conferences to develop brilliant, winning business ideas or plans. Attend these seminars, conferences, expert talks, industry briefings, and learn what they are talking about their life and business aspects. It can probably cut down years of your research.

  1. Engaging in provocative questioning is a very effective way to generate good ideas. It is beneficial in two ways – one, you get an inkling of what others think (about the idea), whether they resonate with it or not. Two, you gather varied information on that subject. You can use online forums, social networks, and connections to ask incisive questions about your idea.
  2. Brainstorming is an excellent exercise to indulge in. Participate in competitions hackathons, take up online challenges, and solve those problems at work. In finding the right solution, you get stuck at some point, and to get out of it, you take aid from your colleagues or friends. Discuss it. Enjoy the process like you do when you’re playing online games. Don’t let the complexities bog you down. Instead, seize these opportunities as they gradually enable you to become a thinking entrepreneur.

Where to Get Interesting Business Ideas

Many experts hold seminars and conferences to develop brilliant, winning business ideas or plans. Attend these seminars, conferences, expert talks, industry briefings, and learn what they are talking about their life and business aspects. It can probably cut down years of your research.

Many experts hold seminars and conferences to develop brilliant, winning business ideas or plans. Attend these seminars, conferences, expert talks, industry briefings, and learn what they are talking about their life and business aspects. It can probably cut down years of your research.

  1. Engaging in provocative questioning is a very effective way to generate good ideas. It is beneficial in two ways – one, you get an inkling of what others think (about the idea), whether they resonate with it or not. Two, you gather varied information on that subject. You can use online forums, social networks, and connections to ask incisive questions about your idea.
  2. Brainstorming is an excellent exercise to indulge in. Participate in competitions hackathons, take up online challenges, and solve those problems at work. In finding the right solution, you get stuck at some point, and to get out of it, you take aid from your colleagues or friends. Discuss it. Enjoy the process like you do when you’re playing online games. Don’t let the complexities bog you down. Instead, seize these opportunities as they gradually enable you to become a thinking entrepreneur.

Whatever method or process helps you get your idea, use the techniques of perception building, ideation, and brainstorming to solidify it. Define your idea in a manner that depicts your focus, passion, inclination, dedication, and soul in it. When you share your idea with an investor, employee, advisor, mentor, or customer, they should get curious about it. Use the below format to define your idea:

Idea development template

Useful Tip:Defining your idea in the format above is to step out from your subconscious into your conscious mind to describe in a way that if you had to tell the world about your idea right now, how would you describe it?

I hope now you have an adequate understanding of what it takes to build a great idea. Follow along to learn how to filter out the noises and discover your strengths to build your dream business.

Appetals Solutions, under the leadership of its founder Ishwar Jha, an award-winning technologist, former CEO of Digital Business at Zee Entertainment, and CIO of Sony Music India, offers product development consulting to the company of all sizes. Learn more by clicking the button below.