Most people are of the belief that coming up with an idea is hard. “If only I could think of an idea, I’d be able to create a business”, they say.
They also try and think too big. They hold out for that “killer app” or world changing concept. The next Facebook.
But business ideas don’t have to be that ambitious. And they certainly don’t have to be that difficult to come up with. All you need is this simple formula.
Idea = Niche + Need
Find a niche, find a need. It really is that simple. But let’s dig into it some more.
Find a Niche
A niche is a small area of interest. A specific area of the market for people with a specific interest.
Finding a niche is a balance between finding a market small enough to be focused but large enough to be worthwhile.
Finding the right niche can be difficult in itself, but it can be made easier by following what interests you. This is actually incredibly important. Focusing on an area that you’re passionate about will both inspire you and keep you involved when things get difficult.
Getting to know a niche will allow you to develop mastery, and this alone can open up many business opportunities. However, your skills don’t necessarily have to correspond to your niche. In fact, bringing fresh skills into a niche can open up plenty of opportunities on its own. For example, you could be an app developer interested in gardening, or a designer who enjoys surfing.
Find a Need
Once you have a niche, spend some time in it. Ideally you’ll already be doing this and will have been for some time. It’s a hobby, better yet a passion. You might even be working towards becoming an expert in some aspect of your niche.
The better you know your niche, the better you’ll be at seeing needs within it. It won’t be difficult, in fact you’ll probably become aware of so many needs that your problem will be choosing one.
You’ll have to weigh up what kind of resources are required, what is going to be easy to rapid-prototype, what could be profitable, and what area you have sufficient knowledge in. This is probably the topic for another article but for now, you should have no shortage of “ideas”. Remember, the idea doesn’t need to change the world. It just needs to fulfill a need.
So again, coming up with an idea is not “the hard part”. If you focus on a niche that interests you, spending some time getting to know it, learning its ins and outs, and perhaps becoming an expert in it, you should be able to identify plenty of needs.
Then it’s up to you to choose one that you’re in a position to fulfill.