Ideation: How to come up with a promising startup idea?


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In the entrepreneur’s life that first step is the idea. The world is full of great ideas, but only few of them eventually become successful businesses. And since you can’t predict when inspiration will strike, there might be some things that you can do to generate good ideas.

1. Look for your passion
What is the thing you are most excited about? Best case, your company should be a reflection of your passion. If you start with an idea that has emerged from that passion, you will automatically be more motivated and dedicated to the project. Even venture capitalists state passion in founders as one of the key criteria by which they judge a startup’s potential. Or in the words of Confucius – Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

2. Travel to new places
New ideas require creativity, which thrives on novelty and diversity. Explore the world around you. This is the most fun way to come up with ideas. A surprising number of well-known companies have been inspired by the founders traveling and bringing good ideas home. If you want to find new business ideas that are worth pursuing, you should change your perspective on things: let hidden features emerge and you might find something that others don’t see.

3. Find out what’s bugging you
The greatest business ideas are born out of solving problems. Not just any problem, but a personal one. Find the problem that you actively want to solve, that you are best suited to solve and that has significant market opportunity. Focus on building a “must have” rather than a “nice to have” product. If you have been able to identify a crucial problem that you can effectively execute and deliver to market, you will be able to create a real business that matters.

4. Widen your perspective
Awareness has come with globalization and nowadays the amount of information available to us has the potential to change many things. It has never been easier to reach information in any format. So here are some activities which will give you the right state of mind to grow entrepreneurial ideas: reading articles and books out of your area of expertise, writing a journal, watching TED talks, playing games or talking with people from different backgrounds.

5. Be in the right environment
New ideas are the product of many factors that influence our state of mind. One of the main determinants is the environment, both the physical and social space that surrounds us. From expert advice to capital to talent, there are known startup hubs around the world where the chances of success are simply bigger. So, surround yourself with others who are doing the same.

6. Share your ideas
The more you talk about your ideas, the closer to reality those ideas get. Sharing your thoughts can be extremely valuable because the contributions of others allow you to see opportunities that you may not have thought about, or provide constructive criticism. It helps you see the idea more clearly and understand it more deeply. So, if you plan on pitching your idea to potential investors, why not practice beforehand?

7. Observe the world
The environment around us is filled with ideas. Observe the world around you and identify everyday problems, issues or societal trends. This will provide your brain with raw material for building unique ideas. Then ask yourself if something can be done better, faster or cheaper? The best ideas are the ones that makes life more comfortable or convenient, and they will always be a market demand for them.

8. Stay informed
By exposing yourself to the business ideas of others you might recognize elements in others’ ideas that are usable in solving problems that you have identified. Attend conferences, join the community, know your industry. Moreover, the Internet is the best learning environment nowadays. Industry websites, blogs, ebooks, competitors’ websites, groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, all just one click away.


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