With technology moving at an extremely fast pace and the entrepreneurial community growing by the minute, it seems there’s already a solution for every problem. What if founding a company is something you feel from deep within and something you absolutely must do? How can you come up with a successful business idea that won’t only lead you to fulfill a personal need but will add massive value and positive change to the world around you?
I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur by the age of 25. Although I didn’t jump into it right away, I had several business ideas before I launched my first company and then my second, both focused in the career space.
Below are three ways to come up with a new start-up idea that’s solving a problem and adding value to the world.
Your business should start with you
What problem are you currently facing? What is your personal struggle? I didn’t ask myself this question right away. Rather, I came up with several business ideas I thought were interesting, fun and would be my escape from the 9-to-5. I dreamed of everything from running a food truck that makes the best little pies in the world to creating a relaxing store where I’d serve the best wines and provide customers with access to the most enlightening books.
These ideas were fun to envision, and they could have led to great experiences, but it wasn’t until I looked deep within that I felt I had a big idea for a business.
As a young adult, I struggled to find my “passion.” Picking a college major stressed me to the max, and once I hit the workforce, I had a difficult time bringing purpose to my work. It was this problem that inspired me to launch a platform focused on redefining what we call work and create WORK BIGGER, an immersive coaching and strategy program geared to help young professionals find their mission and lead with it in every aspect of the job search.
My work in the career space has stemmed from a personal need to find meaning in my own work life. I always viewed work as a vehicle for growth and creativity rather than the dreadful 9-to-5, where we clock in hours just to collect a paycheck. This belief combined with my personal struggles inspired the idea.
Search for the solution, but don’t let the competition discourage you
After you identify the problem you’re personally facing, search for the solution. Do a lot of research. It’s likely some variation of a solution already exists, but don’t let that dissuade you. Even if the marketplace isn’t yet crowded, it soon will be, so keep searching.
Focus on what you want to do differently, or better than, what’s already out there, and think of ways to bring value to your customers. Let that drive your business idea, as well as the values behind your company.
Build your creativity to spot opportunities
Creativity is not just about drawing, writing, painting or some other form of art. It’s about finding solutions and learning to think differently, which is encouraged through experiences.
If you can’t afford to travel the world and expose yourself to the world’s problems, spend time reading. Find your favorite authors and books. Almost all of my inspiration comes from reading blogs, stories or biographies. If you don’t have time to read, listen. Audiobooks and podcasts are extremely powerful. I fit these in during my commute and can usually fit in six to 10 listening hours a week.
Finally, exposing yourself to new people can also inspire you to think differently and find solutions to existing problems. Overall, be a student for life, and the business ideas will come.
Belma McCaffrey is a business leader and the creator of WORK BIGGER, an immersive coaching and strategy program designed to help young professionals find their mission and lead with it in every aspect of their job search. She is redefining what we call work in BelmaMcCaffrey.com. Don’t miss her SheKnows Pitch!