The number 1 way to find new business ideas

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On Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn, Pretoria, visiting a seafood restaurant that provides wonderful service and food to customers — dare I say far better than similar coastal establishments.

Don’t just come up with an idea that you think is a promising business opportunity; look for a problem that needs solving and set to work solving it

It is easier to look for a solution to a problem for a source of a new business idea than it is to set wracking your brain and forcing artificial ideas. You are likely to be more successful with your start-up if the idea is based in a rock-solid problem that someone or yourself is experiencing.

Let me demonstrate this to you.

Here is a small exercise that you can do this evening or tomorrow morning early to experience the difference:

In a period of five or 10 minutes come up with five ideas for a new business that could provide you with a promising market opportunity. Don’t get up until you have listed five ideas.

If you have done the idea generation exercise, move on to the next tiny exercise. Please don’t skip the first exercise because you will not experience or feel the difference unless you do it yourself.

Now, list five problems, preferably those you are experiencing or have experienced and have personal knowledge of. Don’t worry too much at this stage thinking about whether they are promising business ideas or not. Just list five problems.

Did you experience the difference?

What is the difference? Success in business means knowing a market, having an idea that will solve a real problem for that market, learning from others, putting together a great team, working out the business model and creating the business and products.

Paul Graham, programmer, writer and investor, says: “The way to get start-up ideas is not to try think of start-up ideas. It is to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself.”

The world, your personal world, is full of problems. By starting with a real problem you begin to see opportunities. Coming up with ideas might sound wonderful but if they are not based in a real problem that someone would pay money to solve, you don’t have a business idea. The thing to ask yourself is whether you are solving a compelling problem. The solution to your problem can become your start-up idea if it will be relevant tomorrow and in the next several years.

When you have your five problems what you want to do is to flip them around into the positive and see if you can come up with a solution to solve that problem. Here’s an example: people conscious of the global water crisis want to do something about it. But the products on the market may not help them with this problem. A woman had a problem with a metal water bottle that heated while hiking in the sun so to fix this problem she came up with a double-insulated metal bottle in attractive colours, positioning that in the premium sector and has sold 4 million units.

As Paul Graham says, “Finding start up ideas is a subtle business, and that’s why most people who try fail so miserably. He adds: “When you have an idea for a start-up, ask yourself: who wants this right now? Who wants this so much that they’ll use it even when it’s a crappy version one made by a two-person start-up they’ve never heard of? If you can’t answer that, the idea is probably bad.”

Are you ready to come up with viable ideas to build a product or service people actually want? Then don’t waste any more time, go and get hold of the Breakthrough Ideas manual now.

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