How to generate a business idea

I’m sure you’ll agree that a business starts with an idea. The creator of Microsoft, Bill Gates, wanted every family to have a personal computer. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, dreamed of bringing people together to communicate in a single virtual space, and the creator of Apple, Steve Jobs, set out to change the world.

None of us would mind repeating the successful path of famous people in business. The only thing is - how do you create a business idea that will blow up the world and bring in not only money but recognition too?

Let’s get started right away and talk about the business idea generation.

Useful tools


From my own experience, I will say that you will have many thoughts and ideas. Most likely, you will reach for a piece of paper and a pen, but I propose that you take advantage of the benefits of our advancing civilization.

There are a variety of convenient services and tools that can arrange and organize any of your thoughts online, on any device that is convenient for you. Well established apps that you can use include Evernote and SomNote.

My advice is to take a look at Google Keep. This is one of the most popular free online notebooks. It combines simplicity with advanced settings. You can create a regular list or a checklist, attach files, or even practice drawing (there is a simple graphics editor).

Using this app could allow you to go forward to creating a business idea!

Sources of inspiration


  • Your hobbies
    I think the best basis for a business is your favorite hobbies. What could be better than doing what you love while making money?
    There is no need to think that your hobby is not good enough to start a business. Imagine how what you love can be useful to others. It is a ready-made business idea!

    For example:
    Love to cook and feed others? Open a cafe.
    Enjoy riding a bike and meeting like-minded people? Open a club for lovers of cycling.
    Are you a fan of photography and you love sharing your work online? Try to become the second Jon Oringer and repeat Shutterstock’s success.
    You get the point.
    As for me, this is an ideal option, and I, at one time, took this very path. A huge plus is that you won't get tired of doing what you love. You are always interested in developing your passion, learning something new, and putting it into practice.

  • Personal and other people’s needs
    A great business idea may come to your mind if you think about what you are missing (or maybe something that is bothering you).
    Back in 1963, engineer Douglas Engelbart realized that controlling a computer exclusively with text commands entered into the command line through the keyboard is extremely difficult and time-consuming. It was then that he began developing a manipulator to indicate objects on the screen. We all know this device today as a computer mouse, something that most of us use daily.

    People are people. What is needed and useful to you personally is most likely just as necessary for others, and they will be happy to pay money to get it.
    You may know about the needs of other people - your friends, relatives, or colleagues. Every day you hear their complaints about something. Think about how you can help. This could be the start of your business.
    In any case, needs are a fertile ground in which excellent business ideas can grow.

  • Your resources
    Analyze your resources. Think about it. Maybe you have vacant real estate (country houses or apartments in neighboring cities), idle cars in the garage, or several skateboards. Perhaps you have an inventory of tools, gadgets, or literature. Do a full audit of your assets. Think about what you can do to utilize them and how to earn money from them.
    Speaking about resources, be sure to think about your skills.

    Make two lists (do not forget about using an online notebook). Make one list of your skills, and a second one of what you like to do.
    The main thing is to write everything that comes to your mind. In the first list, write down everything, even what you consider the non-essential skills. Include those that you don’t use very often.

    To fill out the second list, imagine something that relaxes and inspires you, which improves your mood, which is pleasant and comfortable for you to do.
    Now take one item from the first list and connect it with something from the second list. Imagine what might come of this union. Write down all the ideas that come to your mind, point by point. Somewhere here, a super business idea might be hiding.
  • Improving on other people’s ideas
    This is not about plagiarism, but about a source for drawing ideas. Look at someone else’s business. Ask yourself these questions:

    What is the secret to the success of this business?
    What is missing?
    What would I improve/do differently?

    Perhaps you’ll have a brilliant business idea that completely differs from the one you analyzed. You can transform it beyond recognition, detailing, and enriching it with your specifics. In any case, this option is also worth consideration.

Idea Generation Methods


I must say, right away, that there are more than a dozen methods for generating business ideas. And all of them at one time or another can be quite effective.

Let’s take a look at a few of those that have repeatedly helped me out in different life situations. Frankly, fresh thoughts are needed, not only to create a business idea but also to keep an existing business afloat.

Here they are.

  • Brainstorming
    For this technique, we should all be grateful to the famous American advertising figure, Alex Faickney Osborn.
    To implement this methodology, be sure to attract like-minded people. The more people that participate, the more interesting the result will be. The main idea is that the participants in the brainstorming session discuss the question posed.

    You ask a question, and then each person offers a solution. The main thing is to say everything that comes to mind. If the solution seems fantastic, write it down; if the solution seems far-fetched, write it down. In the course of collective thinking, truly brilliant ideas are often born.

  • “Six hats”
    Edward de Bono, a British psychologist, and writer, an expert in the field of creative thinking, proposed a very innovative approach to generating ideas.
    Six symbolic hats of different colors represent six different points of view on the same issue. You try on different hats and enter the role that these hats dictate.

    #1 The white hat
    represents the pure mind and sober thinking. It operates only with the available facts and figures. In this hat, you analyze the available resources and try to find them a direct application.
    #2 Red hat is emotions and sudden insights. You share your feelings and conjectures at the level of intuition.
    #3 Black hat is the critic and pessimist on the team. It discusses the risks and pitfalls of the enterprise. The main objective of this role is to prevent rash actions.
    #4 Yellow hat expresses the most optimistic view of the future. It focuses on the benefits and positive effects of the idea.
    #5 The green hat gives out provocative and non-standard approaches. This is a flight of fantasy and a fountain of the most daring and crazy creative ideas.
    #6 The blue hat is the leader. The role of the blue hat is to summarize options and take stock.

    I’ll tell you from my own experience that such “transformations” liberate, remove complexities, and generate a lot of exciting ideas.

  • A trap for ideas
    I call this method the constant update method. You write down all the thoughts that you have (on completely different topics). You can even record them. You can come back to them from time to time, supplement them, or take them as a basis for developing further ideas.

Instead of a conclusion


I am convinced that new thoughts are the engine of our life’s progress. Cool startups, useful innovations, and trend developments are the result of the generation of ideas by a person, the flight of his imagination and creativity.

It is not essential how exactly you will create a business idea.

The main thing is to combine it with determination, professionalism, and the right management technologies. This will be the guarantee of your success.

Got a business idea? Read our article How to build a PoC for business idea, and find out how to test it in practice!


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