How to Come up With a Great Business Idea
You want to start a business but you don't know where to begin. That's only natural. The process of starting a business can be quite daunting. Here are five great ideas on how to start out with a great business idea.
Start With Something You Love
A common thread for new entrepreneurs is starting with something they really love and believe in, as evidenced in the new businesses at the Women's Entrepreneur Festival.
Tanya Menendez is the co-founder of a company called Maker’s Row, which was designed to help American manufacturers source materials and labor from within the States. Though a challenging, fragmented market, she says she didn't worry about a competitor beating her to the punch: "We had confidence in our execution. No one else had lived our lives."
Kara Goldin, chief executive officer and founder of San Francisco based hint Inc., which produces all-natural essence waters, was thankful for the early doubters: "They are like bad coaches," she said. "They are there to get me to show them I can do it."
Start With Something People Need
Can you really start a business with less than a hundred bucks? Yes, if you focus on what people need. For example, consider this summer business idea: There are plenty of public places that don't have snack bars, and even the convenience store's just not convenient enough. Bottled water, sports drinks, visors, cheap sunglasses, and battery-powered fans will sell anywhere there's sun. Try parks, the beach, baseball practice field, or even a busy street corner near popular summer destinations.
Start With a Twist
Rebecca and Daniel Dengrove are the brother-and-sister team that co-founded Brewla, a line of all-natural ice pops that are based on brewed ingredients like tea. They have been named "Startup of the Year" by the Wall Street Journal and were featured in a series of videos on that WSJ.
"We wanted to reengineer a classic, and also make it healthier," explained Daniel of the product, and because his sister and co-founder is a food scientist, their experimentation bore plenty of fruit. And while the business started small (via a cart), the siblings now have their sights set on getting the artisanal ice pop in more retailers nationwide.
More on family food businesses here.
Start With Something You Can Test
The goal of a minimum viable product (MVP) is to test out a business hypothesis through a quickly produced, stripped-down model of a product that can be brought to market quickly and inexpensively. Examples include Zappos, which, early on, took photos of shoes in local stores, posted them online and then bought the shoes from the stores and shipped them out instead of building a large inventory. Groupon also launched with an incredibly simple version of its eventual daily deal email -- it was simply a PDF and a WordPress site to begin with.
Start With Something You Can Do on the Side
Jesse Phillips, a co-founder of the calendar company NeuYear, explains a "muse" business as such: "an automated business that gives you your target monthly income number, so you can do what you want." Phillips was very inspired by Ferriss's book in starting a company to deliver well-designed calendars to help people track and achieve their goals over the course of a year.
"We started NeuYear to help people achieve their dreams," he explained. "One of the best ways to focus your effort toward achieving your dreams is to plan and pursue goals. This doesn't have to be a crazy big or detailed thing, it's as simple as thinking about the steps to achieve something, and making deadlines for each step." In crafting a large, design-focused calendar, he and his cohorts aimed to make that process as simple as possible.