Startup 101 | How to come up with a great business idea?

Find questions. Don’t think up questions.

Business is about providing a service or a product that solves someone else’s problem. To start a new business, you need to think about what problem are you going to solve.

Some people will think up a problem in their head, and then start building product to solve it. But after spending lots of time and money into the business, the product they build turn out to be something that nobody really needs.

To prevent this situation to happen to us, the first thing we should do is not think up question but to find question. You should talk to people, ask them what problem bothers them, find out more people that have the same problem, and then finally start building a business to solve their problems.

Find a group of people that have the problem. Make a solution and show them.

You asked people what they want. They told you and you got some ideas to build a business. Now you have to find a bigger group of people to validate whether the idea is worth-building. You should search on Quora, Reddit and Twitter to find out if there are other people bothering by the same question. The more people you find, the more potential customers you have.

After finding some people with the same question, you can now start building product to solve it. Build a product that solves the problem, and show them the solution. Sometimes you don’t need to build a product yet. You can make a landing page and describe how you are going to solve the problem. Show it to the people and see their feedbacks and reactions. Evaluate if it worths to become a real business.

Find out your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of an existed problem.

If your business idea is about solving a problem that just appear recently, it’s easier for you to make it successful. Lower competition means higher odds to success.

However, most of the time, we are building a business of an existed problem. There are already lots of competitors in the market. It seems that every problem in the world already has a solution to it. The remaining ones are just too hard to solve.

But don’t worry, if you can find out the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of your business, you can still build a successful business in the field. Competition is not always bad, competition means that you are in a big industry which people are willing to pay for. Find out what’s the problem of the existing solution, and try to build a better version of it. That way you can still have the chance to success. Like Netflix to Blockbuster, Notion to Evernote, and Uber to taxi.

Find a big enough problem that people will actually pay money for.

Business is about earning money by solving people’s problems.

  • The 1st step: Find out the problem that people care about.
  • The 2nd step: Find out if people will actually pay for it to get the problem solved.

Sometimes, people are bothered by a problem but the problem is not big enough for them to pay for it. People will just tolerate the problem and live with it. A business targeting on such a small problem is not going to be successful. You need to find a bigger problem to solve. A problem that actually matters to the world. A problem that is worth spending your precious time and energy into working on it.

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