Sometimes it can seem like the next great small business idea can come out of nowhere. But in reality, there are five common sources of small business ideas. If you’re considering entrepreneurship, look to these five places for some potential business ideas.
Business idea source #1: You!
About 60% of new business ideas come from our own experiences, whether it’s life or work. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you thought something could be done more efficiently, more quickly, or in a different way, you may be able to find business inspiration there. Think of past jobs you’ve had – was there one thing that always bugged you about a process, or one way you always wished a service would be delivered differently? And in your personal life, what encounters have you had with other businesses or brands that made you think, “Hmm, what if they did/sold this instead?” Is there a hobby you’ve always thought you could sustain as a long-term, money-making endeavour?
Business idea source #2: Others
As we showed in the previous business idea source, existing customers often have new product ideas or ideas for improvement. Get feedback from customers who are active in industries that interest you. Their experiences and ideas may really help your business.
Don’t overlook people you work with, either! McDonald’s products like the Filet-o-Fish, the Big Mac, Egg McMuffin and Hot Apple Pie were each created in light of ideas from company operators.
Business idea source #3: Organizations
Business ideas can be found 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 on your idea, too.
Business idea source #4: Literature
No, we don’t mean Moby Dick. We mean literature as in books, textbooks, research journals, trade magazines, patent registries, databases and the internet. Reading business blogs, websites, and magazines might stimulate your creative thinking, too.
Business idea source #5: Serendipity
Anyone can happen across a new product or service idea seemingly at random. Being in the right place at the right time was the turning point in the careers of many entrepreneurs. We’re not saying you should try forcing this serendipity – rather, stay open-minded and curious, and willing to consider ideas wherever they may come from.