Every Entrepreneur starts by thinking, about the next revolutionary startup idea he or she is going to pursue. If you are lucky you will get that unique idea spontaneously. It will be like a sudden spark in your brain leading to something really unique and innovative. The idea might also come to you through your experience in a certain field, where you observe a need / business idea, which you could capitalize on to build up your startup.
Alternatively you can think hard, brainstorm and find a suitable business idea to focus on. This approach will be comparatively hard to the above, since there needs to be some prior analysis and brainstorming deriving up with the idea. And in all cases once you shortlist on an idea still you will have to carry out research to perfect the particular idea. I would like to focus on the initial brainstorming required to generate your startup idea in this article. If you are a really motivated, keen entrepreneur, who really wants to start his or her own business but still doest have the perfect idea that you are looking for, I hope this would provide some pointers and be some guideline on the way of thinking.
However it should be noted that, thinking should not be constrained or limited into a framework and this effort is solely to summarize important facts in the thinking process. Greatest value can only be generated when you challenge the norm and think out side the box. This will be a good stepping stone for your thought process when you are finding it difficult to find the perfect business idea you are looking for.
As an entrepreneur when you are seeking for an business idea, initially you would have to decide whether you are focussing on working on an existing business idea or a totally new idea resulting in a new market and a fresh Startup. The matrix above is developed based on the creativity / innovation and the technological complexity or the experience required for the particular idea. (arrows head indicates the increasing direction) This matrix does not factor in the market impact of the idea which is also important. Although once the business idea has been finalized the market impact could be analyzed separately which is not a focus of this model.
Deciding on the business idea is the first tough decision that you have been faced with and it will be the most important as well, since everything that you build will be based on this initial decision. Hence the importance of effort in this stage. This model focusses on saving time summarizing important aspects which you need to link with your interests and skills to derive upon the correct decision.
Lets start explaining the matrix through a simple scenario…
Colonization Saturn could be your dream. No one has done it. The idea is great but do you have the skills, resources, credibility to pursue that dream? These are ideas which require massive Technological Breakthroughs’s where significant amounts of funding, resources, expertise and time is required. So if you do not possess the required environment or credibility to pursue your Saturn dream, it would only just be a dream. Hence business ideas with complex technological commitments and innovation require all these factors to work out well for success. There are really high entry barriers, legislation which needs to be considered and also there could be companies working in stealth mode to achieve these goals already. For someone who is interested in research these business ideas could seem remarkably attractive.
Comparatively there are Game Changing ideas where you do not need significant technology but rather a sharp creative mind to develop something unique exploring new markets. These are innovative products which creates new wants. Most of the cool mobile applications based startup ideas could be seen falling in this space, where a bunch of friends can get together and work on a problem and be successful. And if you take real life examples the success could be in Billions or Trillions. However, these are prone to heavy copying thus the importance of developing something unique to face the inevitable competition.
You do not, always need to do something cutting edge to be successful as an entrepreneur. There maybe existing business ideas where you can bring Incremental Improvement’s. In this case you may be facing fierce competition, with really less barriers to entry. If you are successful you maybe able to capture a market share though your process improvements or small tweaks and changes.
Finally the idea of Globalization. If there are business ideas with a monopolistic player and large technological complexities, working on replicating the same in different demographies to focus on profit maybe a viable option and a new business idea.
As an exercise, try to fill in startups in to the quadrants of the matrix to obtain a better understanding. Also try to visualize how the startups move between the quadrant with time once they grow. (Example: Todays innovative ideas will loose its innovativeness with time. A Technological breakthrough company will focus on globalization with time)
Finally, its essential to note that you should have a great understanding of your skills and resources and combine them with your entrepreneurial mindset to achieve success. Again it is important to note that we must not confine ourself to this model or any other, since there are talented gritty entrepreneurs even though with less resources and little experience have gone on to build great products, develop technological breakthroughs. Hence its always essential for an entrepreneur what ever the frameworks say, to follow their gut and instincts as they far out weigh any rational, logical thinking. Good luck with your next big business idea and please let me know of your thoughts on how we can focus on business idea generation.