Let us look at 4 questions to ask when looking for a new business idea to start a business.
1. What vision or instruction has God given me?
2. In what are do I have domain expertise or unique insight?
3. What problems do I want to solve?
4. What passion burns inside me so much that I have to make a business out of it
Let’s start by explaining each one.
Some people will get a vision or instruction from God as to what they are supposed to do. An example of this is someone is Moses from the book of Exodus.
2. Domain expertise or Unique insight
There are areas where you have a very deep or unique insight that others do not see. You can start a business with this idea. I particularly ask every entrepreneur who either comes for advice or funding this question since domain expertise couple with unique insight is a good sign that the business is starting off well. There are many businesses which will fail by the end of writing this post because the founders just saw an opportunity and started a business without getting any deep insight or domain expertise. A common example is people who start restaurants just because a family member said they were a good cook. They start only to realize good food doesn’t automatically bring people. There is marketing, sales, pricing and many other things that should go along with the food.
The good news is that domain expertise can be achieved via getting internships, working as a freelancer, studying books or taking courses. Unique insight usually comes from working or being close to someone in that specific field. If you want to run an airline, it’s better to start with a cleaning job at the airport than to work as an investment banker. If you are a designer, then spend time around artists and other creative people. There are many unique insights hidden in plain view but only those who see it can access it.
3. Problem solving
You may have noticed a problem that you have solutions for. This is another good place to start. Find out who else is attempting to solve the problem and what they are either doing wrong or right. Make a list of your top 10 competitors and find out how they started, how many people work there, what their expenses are, how they make money and anything else that will make it easier for you to start this business. Read every relevant book and blog post you can find. Ignorance of an industry is one of the major causes of business failure. Startups founded by entrepreneurs who think they know enough usually never last for more than a few years.
There may be an opportunity or business idea that is burning so much on your insides that it affects your sleep. Maybe every time you see homeless people or a particular news story, you feel like it’s your calling to do something about it. You may even feel anger or heightened emotion. This may be a sign that it is something you should at least start nurturing by researching solutions for.
The most important thing in all the ways to get business ideas is to study enough to get some domain expertise before starting. I personally will not invest in a founder who does not have some form of domain expertise since backing ignorance is very costly.
How did you find your business idea?