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Where do great small business ideas come from?

By Samantha Garner | April 11, 2015

small-business-ideasSo you’re ready to strike out on your own and start your entrepreneurship journey. But you may be wondering: where is your great business, product or service idea going to come from? Here are five areas from which new small business ideas most often arise:

From you
Approximately 60% of new business ideas come from our own work experience. We’ve all had a job where we thought something could be done better: an organizational system, an unnecessary step in a reporting process or a way to save time. These ideas and experiences are what help us create better products or services.

From others
Your customers often have new product or product improvement ideas. Seek feedback from customers who are active in industries that interest you. They might have the ideas you’re looking for.

Don’t overlook people you work with, either! Products like the McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish, the Big Mac, Egg McMuffin and Hot Apple Pie were each invented by ideas evolving from company operators.

From organizations
There are loads of business ideas within all levels of government, non-profit laboratories and associations. Your public library can help you find the government departments relevant to your business ideas. Organizations can help out in building upon your idea, too.

From literature
No, we don’t mean Moby Dick. Books, textbooks, research journals, trade magazines, patent registries, databases and the internet are all great sources of business ideas. Reading business publications such as Inc., Entrepreneur or Fortune magazine might stimulate your creative thinking too.

From serendipity
Anyone can stumble across a new product or service idea. It could be the person you sit next to on a flight, or the person in front of you in line. Being in the right place at the right time was the turning point in the careers of many entrepreneurs, including Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey.

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