Idea Generation

Ideas come from various sources: passion areas, workarounds, pain points, and many others. Ultimately, what problem are you trying to solve, and what customer need are you filling?

Entrepreneurs Begin by Finding Inspiration

Key Insights

Identifying a Big Idea
Kevin Ryan, Founder and CEO o AlleyCorp, provides his tips on determining his next venture pursuit.

You–the entrepreneur–need to be truly interested and invested in solving a problem, disrupting that industry, or expanding that market. The companies you know now have been built over years not months. Any successful entrepreneur can say they were first driven by interest and passion, and second, by personal or professional experience to find their startup idea. At the intersection of interest, passion, and experience is what many call Founder-Market Fit. The more closely aligned your and your team’s passion and experience are to the problem being solved, the more likely you are to succeed and be funded. If you are reading this and wondering about just how to even begin with creating a startup, read How to Start a Startup by Paul Graham, Co-Founder of Y-Combinator.

What is it that motivates you?

Entrepreneurs start businesses for many different reasons.  In some cases, it is personal, and in other cases, they have insight that would help others. 

An entrepreneur may:

  • Experience a personal pain point and have the desire to solve that problem (e.g., an inability to find child care, frustration with lack of treatments for a disease, unhappy with transportation options, etc.)
  • Observe and identify inefficiencies in processes and industries that new approaches or technology could disrupt current processes (e.g., alternative investing tools for stocks, paper-laden processes,  etc.)
  • Have a passion for a particular trend, hobby, special  interest, or cause (e.g., cookies, coffee, shoes, homelessness, etc.) 
  • Discovered or have access to scientific research and breakthroughs (please note this path has a very unique set of approaches to commercializing the discovery and will be addressed separately.

You need to be willing to work on that problem for the next 6-10 years of your life in order to be truly successful.

James Reinhart, Founder, thredUP

In learning to evaluate an idea, there are many approaches.  If you are considering starting a new venture, start with the following:

Finding an Idea

Evaluating an Idea

The process of finding an idea comes down to exploring your sense of self, areas to which you’re committed, and a customer base for who you are inspired to solve problems. Talk to people and learn about their problems to hopefully find your inspiration for an idea that you want to investigate further. And if you have an idea, then maybe it’s time to figure out your customer-problem fit.

— END —