Where the best startup ideas come from?

Anyone can come with an idea for a company.But not everyone can come up with lucrative yet practical business idea.

Sources of startup ideas can come from anywhere–a problem or frustration from an entrepreneur’s daily life, a gap in a specific market, an emerging trend, or a passion to help others in a new way.

Why do so many founders build things no one wants? Because they begin by trying to think of startup ideas. They don’t pay attention to users and invent a model of the world that doesn’t correspond to reality, and work from that.

These founders don’t notice their model is wrong until they tried to convince users to pay for what we’d built. Even then they took embarrassingly long to catch on.

Related: Why startups fail? Investigating the role of market problems

Enough with this explanation as we do not talk about failure here. Back to the main subject: startup ideas.

A study done by Bjork and Magnusson in 2009 on Swedish entrepreneurs suggest that there is a clear interrelationship between the network connectivity and the quality of the innovation ideas created. There is apparently a need for a certain amount of relations to increase the proportion of high-quality innovation ideas generated. Regarding only ideas provided by single individuals, more connections within the network resulted in a higher proportion of high-quality ideas.

Daniel Gulati, a tech entrepreneur, has studied where the business ideas of successful entrepreneurs mainly come from and he found the following sources:

  1. Experiencing pain in life and decision to solve it
  2. Meeting someone talented and starting a company together
  3. Having a special skill or passion and turning it into a business
  4. Seeing  a customer need after working in an industry for a long time
  5. Researching many ideas and eventually narrowing it down to one

According to Gulati, the most popular method is through pain in life. It makes sense because pain is a powerful source that can move people and bring passion for what they do to solve the issue. This is exactly what entrepreneurship need as they go through many ups and downs with their business and others, customers or investors can immediately relate to it.

Most of the times, there is no “eureka moment” as it can be seen with Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of World Wide Web.

Related: Only time will tell! Understanding legitimacy challenges of start-ups (part 1)

The basic idea for the World Wide Web had percolated in his mind for nearly a decade, largely unconsciously. It was only when Berners-Lee began stumbling across related ideas from others working in the high-tech field that his revolutionary ideas finally crystallized in his own mind.

It is very important to keep in mind that startup ideas go through many cycles of feedback and refinement. It can take a few years until the entrepreneur really finds the niche market that fits his/her product and can serve best. So there is normally no “one perfect shot” in starting up a business and merely many cycles of improvements.

About pourya

I am an entrepreneurship postdoctoral research fellow at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. My vision is to fill the gap between entrepreneurship research and practice with this website. Research and practice are two separate islands when it comes particularly to entrepreneurship. There are hundreds of papers/articles written every month but we hardly see their contribution to real life entrepreneurship.

1 comment on “Where the best startup ideas come from?

  1. Pingback: What are the differences between immigrant and native born entrepreneurs, really? – Idea to Start

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