Do you want to start a business but stuck on finding an idea first? Today, we'll discover some of the tested techniques used by thousands of people to generate ideas and start a profitable business which brings in a consistent stream of revenue.
Let me ask you, and please be honest -- Aren't you bored reading the same type of articles again and again and again. You know what type I'm talking about -
"How to start a blog using the best email provider"
"Top 3 ways to do affiliate marketing"
"Buy this hosting at 50% off and use it to boost your rankings"
I don't know about you, but even if once I come across something which lectures me on keyword research or SEO or paid advertising, I take help of this small icon on my browser (X) and close it down.
I failed at 3 businesses. You know why? Because they weren't good ideas. I put all my time on the fancy stuff -- design, logo, etc. only to realize later the idea will NEVER make any money. I spent 18+ months of research trying out different businesses, models, studying others and finally found success with 2 types of businesses :-
1) Starting an online business (with Industrial Inside)
2) Starting a side business doing freelancing (helping clients 1-1 with online marketing)
All while working at my day job -- this is key. The last thing you want is quitting your job, spend 12 months on a futile idea only to discover that it will NEVER pay. Starting something on the side means:
-- You don't need a multi million dollar idea or build the next Google
-- You don't have to hire 20 employees or rent out an office space on your first day or even after 6 months
-- You don't need to spend countless hours on registering a new company, or setting up a facebook page, or any other useless activities
Look, I get it. With everyday news of startups, VCs, funding across all channels, it starts to get overwhelming and you just don't know where to start.
However, focusing on the first few KEY activities like -- find an idea, validate it, get your first customers gives you a good roadmap and a start. Once you get a sufficient hold -- you're making some money and have some customers under your belt, you now know how to scale and also earn the confidence to quit your job.
With Industrial Inside, I've the foundation and systems in place, which lets me earn revenue, customers and sales -- all consistent and automatic.
There are 4 techniques you'll see below to generate business ideas.
The YUS Technique
The 3 Detective Questions Technique
The Flight Technique
The Book Shelf Technique
I recommend going through each to maximize your chances. Don't be super tactical, because a lot of it is just about enjoying the process.
Let's start with our first technique. Like I mentioned above, we all have something inside us that people will pay for and which can turn into a business, just that we don't know what those are.
I call them Your Unbeatable Superpowers (YUS.) With 20+ years of your life, you're guaranteed to have some abilities, experiences and stories which nobody else can have.
So, how do you know what these unique talents are? You answer 3 KEY elements:
1. Knowledge you've acquired (like chemistry, finance and consulting, traveling by spending less)
2. Skills you've developed (like playing a guitar, working on excel, taking better photos, coding in java)
3. Challenges you've overcome (like overcoming back pain, getting the perfect muscular body, writing better)
Sound weird looking at the examples? Don't be, because ALL of those examples are successful businesses. Here I'll show you some -
-- Organic chemistry: masterorganicchemistry.com (Revenue through online courses, ebooks and coaching)
-- Personal finance: jagoinvestor.com (Revenue through ebook, consulting and coaching)
-- Consulting: managementconsulted.com (Revenue through online courses, ebooks, 1-1 training, etc.)
-- Excel: chandoo (.org) (Revenue through online courses, ebooks)
-- Voice Bazaar: voicebazaar (.com) (Revenue through workshops and coaching)
-- Gaining muscle: bonytobeastly (Revenue through online courses, coaching)
-- Coding in Java: howtoprogramwithjava (.com) (Revenue through online courses and ebooks)
When I did consulting for a horticulture company, I once hired an Autocad specialist who'd work for us part time, on weekends or every so often. Not bad for an extra side income.
People are making a living out of them, and it all started with them naturally good at something, sharing it with the world and then turning it into a real business.
So keep those things in mind and jot down EVERYTHING which comes to your mind. Remember, we're just pondering. We will eliminate a lot of these ideas, but that is later. For now, just flesh out your brain and dump it all onto the paper.
Again, the 3 key elements are: knowledge you've acquired, skills you've developed and challenges you've overcome.
Let's move on to our next technique.
Put your detective hat on, and answer these 3 golden questions to come up with a ton of ideas. You ready?
This is a great way to find out what you constantly hear from people all the time. For eg:-
Your friend tells you "I really can't believe how you finish your work so fast and systematic"
Your aunt tells you "You just make any new dish super delicious to eat"
Your school friend says "You've always been great in karate and martial arts"
Your office colleague compliments "Man! You do the best data analysis and make visually appealing presentations!"
I was recently out with some friends, and one of them told me -- "You have an incredible patience level!"
And a week later, I met another friend of mine who was running late. When she finally met me, she goes "Can't believe how are you so patient in this noisy world!"
Now you see some common patterns emerge, start listening and learn about yourself. New York Times best selling author Ramit Sethi calls this the Seagull Theory, where if you constantly keep hearing something, you start paying attention.
In fact, one effective way is to see how you're introduced to people. A school friend of mine always introduces me - "Meet Zubin, he was a star student at maths in our school. Always fast with numbers."
Interesting! In my head, I'm filing it down.
Another friend of mine scored amongst the top 20 in our state for the entrance CET exams 10 years ago. His score: 198 on 200 -- remarkable. Even today he is introduced to anyone "He was the guy who scored 198 in CET!"
By the way, I can see you complaining "But Zubin, my friends tell me I'm supportive and caring. But how do I turn that into a business?"
We will cover all of that. For now, we don't want to think 6 months ahead. Let's trust the process and take it one step at a time. The only focus should be getting our creative juices flowing and collecting it all together.
So, file all those things away which you can think of on your paper.
Ask yourself, what are some things that people around me struggle with often? Or what are some things I'm ALWAYS asked to help with?
Could be -
-- Planning a trip and creating an itinerary
-- Doing graphic designing
-- Arranging a get together party
-- Ironing your clothes
-- Filing for their income taxes or audit
-- Asking for advice on how to buy a new car
Put it all down.
Yes, what would you do if you didn't have 24, but say 27 hours a day? How will you spend those extra three hours? Put it another way, what would you do on a Sunday morning if you were completely free from your otherwise normal routine tasks?
Will you -
-- Read fashion blogs or magazines?
-- Check some online certification courses on Big Data, Hadoop, etc.?
-- Do a relaxed yoga session?
-- Meet your close friends and discuss some new ideas?
-- Search online for any camera equipments or go out to take some photos?
-- Go to a networking event or a workshop?
-- Pen down all of those ideas.
So, we covered two techniques here and I don't want to overwhelm you more. So, I'd recommend coming up with at least 10 ideas by using the above two techniques.
I'll publish the other two techniques -- The Flight technique and the Book Shelf technique soon.