Business ideas

How to Find Business Startup Ideas in the Digital Age

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Every ambitious entrepreneur has the same major goal – for their startup business idea to become the next big thing. It may be hard to imagine, but Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg were once in the same position as most business owners.

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Coming up with an idea for your start-up business should be approached with the same dedication as any other job-related task. The idea probably won’t occur to you in the middle of the night or even standing in line at the supermarket. While it’s a nice feeling, idea generation takes organization, research, and planning. Here’s how to start.

Related: How 3 Entrepreneurs Came to Their Business Ideas

Where the best startup business ideas come from.

One of the strengths of technology in the digital age is focused on simplifying your life. The internet takes center stage in helping customers meet their needs, big or small. It can also be our greatest source of inspiration. Start by reading about successful business startup ideas. Many entrepreneurs share their stories, offering tactical advice that startups can take into their own idea generation. Take note of what worked and what didn’t.

Related: Need a Business Idea? Here is 55.

The best ideas come from identifying the problems: For Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the problem was an expensive computer. They recognized this gap and built Apple I, then II and so on. For today’s entrepreneurs, brainstorming is a focused exercise that requires as much creativity as it does concept.

Focus on trends in areas that interest you: As a potential start-up business owner, you’ve likely developed a niche based on past experience, future potential, or both. Take the time to learn the ins and outs of this particular niche as you develop your passion.

Enrich your network: Think about the last time you attended a lead-generating collaborative meeting. If everyone came to the table prepared with ideas, you would likely walk away with at least one viable opportunity. Attend as many business networking events as possible. The more like-minded entrepreneurs you talk to, the more likely you are to hear about their pain points. It is also very likely that you will find a potential partner to embark on the adventure of the startup business idea.

How to ask the right questions.

Sometimes launching a startup idea involves taking a risk. But there are questions you can ask to prepare and see if your idea has what it takes to get some traction.

What is your skill set? Are you good at sales and marketing? Do you have strong writing skills? If so, you might consider starting a side hustle by consulting other startups on their marketing efforts. Consider pairing up with other compatible contractors. Also consider starting a blog or developing a website to market your skills.

What’s missing there? Whether in your personal or professional life, this is one of the most important considerations for a new idea. Although you may think an idea has great potential, does anyone need it? Think about the gaps you see in your life. If you have experience in certain areas, what tool or service would have made your life easier?

What service can a small business offer compared to a large competing business? Small business owners are very successful in building relationships with their customers. That personal touch can make a big difference, especially when working in your local community. If you plan to work for events, for example, this face-to-face contact is crucial.

Think about the questions investors might ask you if your startup business idea reaches this level. What sets your idea apart? Do you have a growth plan? What kind of help are you looking for? Thinking about this early on can help you determine if your idea has potential.

Related: 75 business ideas you can start for free or at low cost

The best business start-up ideas are simple.

Whether you’re looking for an idea to be your full-time passion project or just a side gig, it’s best to start small. Think of some areas of your life where you could fill a void.

Although it may seem like a challenge, coming up with a startup business idea is only the first part of a very long equation. Trying to turn this idea into reality is where many entrepreneurs run into major obstacles. Think of the number of seemingly successful startups that fail to find funding on popular shows like Shark Tank. In the vast majority of cases, these companies are well beyond the idea stage.

The harsh reality is that nine out of 10 startups will fail. However, taking the time to develop lots of strong ideas can help you start filtering through what has the potential to become a real business and what is best left on the cutting room floor.

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