It seems as if nowadays everyone either wants to establish a startup or be hired by one. I get it, startups are exciting, innovative, and tend to be financially rewarding. Well, at least the successful ones. I recently heard of BeeWise, a startup that helps beekeepers monitor high-tech beehives from afar. You may have heard that bees are under serious threat of extinction. That’s a major problem because bees are essential for the production of crops. What a great idea for a startup! How did the entrepreneur come up with it?
I am Ofir Bar, an investor with over two decades of experience, and a special interest in startups and innovation. Therefore, when I became aware of BeeWise, all I could say was, “Wow, what a brilliant idea”. How did they think of it? Asking myself this question led me to ponder about all those who strive to establish a startup but lack its most basic aspect: A solid idea. In this post, I will give you some tips to help you generate new and exciting ideas for your future startup.
Find what kindles you
When working as a hireling, a sense of interest and attraction towards what you do on a daily basis is a blessing, but it’s not essential. However, if you wish to establish a startup, feeling this appeal is a must. If you are not interested in your product or the service you wish to provide, don’t invest your capital in it.
Finding an idea you are interested in is simpler than you may think. It all begins with brainstorming. Remove all distractions around you, and grab a pen and a paper. Write down all the things that interest you, occupy your mind, or concern you: Is it the awful traffic in your hometown? The overpricing of hotels? Maybe the privacy issues we confront nowadays, in the era of Google and Facebook? The options are endless.
Simultaneously, start feeding yourself daily with news and updates about these topics, but don’t fixate on them. Your bright idea may come from a place you never thought possible. Open your mind also to other fields of knowledge. Register to newsletters. Read some mind-opening books. Search online for interviews with entrepreneurs. Train yourself to be more attentive to conversations and what happens around you, and look for things that can (and ought to be) improved.
Public opinion is a great indicator
Having your raw ideas in mind, go out there and perform some active market research. Check whether the things that you want to see improved are mutual with some of your family and friends. Be open to absorbing what they say even if you’re not so interested in the things that bother them. Have a coffee with acquaintances who are involved in startups. If you don’t know any, your friends may know some. Try establishing a relationship with others from the entrepreneurial world.
Let it happen
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This quote is often attributed to Henry Ford and it is very relevant to all entrepreneurs. Thinking outside the box is something you can train yourself to do. It’ll definitely take your entrepreneurial efforts to the next level. Try to predict future problems which nowadays may start showing their early signs. Being the first to notice them may give you a great advantage.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with your idea to be innovative. Some startups managed to make a difference by offering a service or product that either merges two existing concepts into one or implements an existing idea into a different platform.
The most essential tip I can give you is this: If you are too eager to find an entrepreneurial idea, it’s not likely you’ll come up with it. In other words, don’t force it. You have to have some faith and let things happen at their own time. Creativity has its own set of rules, which we know almost nothing about.