You Don’t Need An ‘Idea’ To Start Up
- By Rahul Varshneya
- October 31st, 2012
You’ve decided you want to start up and you yearn for ideas that can launch you into successful entrepreneurship. Isn’t this just something you identify with when you’re aspiring to become an entrepreneur?
Well, the bad news is that you’re yearning for the wrong things to help you start up. The good news is what you REALLY need are problems, and they’re everywhere! Chase problems and not ideas.
Successful entrepreneurs solve problems and in a way that we could not have imagined. When you look around yourself, you realize that the products and services you use were all created to solve a problem. You wanted to get from one place to another faster, you got a car. You wanted to get from one country to another faster, you got planes.
Should you then look for problems that solve the intrinsic problems (solution: horse carriage, ships) or the ones that were enhancements (solution: cars, planes)? My answer is look for the latter. In pursuit, you may stumble up on the former, but the important thing is that you should get started. So below are a few ways that can get you started looking for problems to solve.
Better An Existing Problem
Many startups were not the first in their domains. Take Google for instance. Many popular search engines existed – Altavista, Yahoo, etc – and we never thought we would move away from all of them at once. Google simplified search for people, when all the other search engines got lost in integrating news, weather, sports, features, and everything else under the sun on their home page. So, look at existing businesses in the areas that interest you and see how you can solve the problem for their customers better than them. One more example before I move on to the other point is Fab.com. Check this one out for yourself.
Adapt Existing Solutions To Problems In Your Country
Many ventures exist which essentially do the same thing, but with localization. For example, SnapDeal is a Groupon clone in India with localized content and features. Google’s clone Baidu is hugely successful in China. And Singapore has its very own Pinterest clone called Singterest. Identify some of the successful startups in other countries, see how they are solving problems in their countries and adapt that to your country based on the local culture and problems that locals face. Germany’s Samwer Brothers built a fortune doing this.
Apply Existing Solutions To Your Industry
Think Linkedin. Social networking concept adapted to the business industry. Think Airbnb. A popular Hotel search and booking concept adapted to the Bed and Breakfast industry. There are many businesses that can be adapted to a niche area, a space that you understand best and one that interests you. Look for popular concepts that can be adapted to your industry.
Seek And Address Existing Pain Points
Every business vertical has issues that will range from areas in marketing, customer acquisition, customer service, sales, operations and others. Chalk out the industries that you identify best with and would be passionate about working within. Then, speak to a wide range of professionals from that industry to understand what problems they are facing in their jobs. Write all the information down in an excel sheet and then begin to narrow down into the most common problems faced by people and choose the area that excites you enough (marketing, sales, operations, etc). There you go. You now have a list of problems that require a solution.
So, you’ve identified a problem that you would love to work with. Is that enough to launch you into successful business? The answer is No. Simply creating a solution for a problem will not make your venture successful. A recent example is MySpace vs Facebook. Both were competing for the same social networking space where Facebook’s execution won it a billion customers and a $100 billion valuation! How you solve a problem is a far more important factor in your startup’s success.
Did you find a problem that you now have a solution to? Share it here for examples that other readers can gain inspiration from.