The most successful startups in the world start with an amazing business idea. Even though the initial value of even the grandest idea is zero, it is the very moment that sets everything in motion and possibly changes the world – again.
I’m asked weekly the same questions in may different ways of course: “I want to start my own business, what would be a good business idea.” Years ago I had a rather gruffy answer: “Why do you want to start a business if you don’t know what to do – just because its trendy?” Over time I learned that there is a global urge for doing something more meaningful, more creative, more important and become the center of that meaning yourselves. And if that is the purpose – than people asking that question deserve a great answer. Yet the question is essentially the same:
What can I do to be more meaningful in live.
Interestingly enough, that question leads to a very different answer. It isn’t to look for a business that is in demand right now, or a business based on the persons education or expertise, or a business that may provide best and fastest return of investment. It isn’t a business category or type answer at all.
The better answer is to look where people have problems and finding solutions. Looking for people that are at risk and find ways to make their job less risky. Or people that do jobs they are not built for and helping find ways to match them. And the whole slew of problems from purified water, to better hygiene, to reducing energy consumption, energy storage, and the approximately millions of other ideas.
So you cannot start a new business with no business idea, it would not be a business. What you can do however is trying to solve a real problem, no matter how big and complex it may be.
AirBnB solved the problem that millions of traveler had, staying in a cozy with a full size refrigerator, a living room to meet with friend, where you can have breakfast whenever you like and a room to work that is more than is bigger than closet without booking a suite.
Uber solved the problem people had when using a taxi that you were never sure that it comes in time and it takes you the best way to your destination.
Space-X solved the problem that government driven space agencies have to build efficient rockets for commercial or private use.
Systec solved the problem of stranded shopping carts at large shopping centers by simply connecting all cars with a chain and releasing the cart by putting in a dollar or Euro or whatever currency and getting it back once the cart is returned.
Whether its a simply chain lock or a reusable space ship – and everything in between, solving real problems in a real simple way creates super successful businesses.
On aggregate there are millions of hours wasted every month my millions of people looking for an idea somebody else already had to copy. Instead of looking for problems nobody had solved yet. People my think they are not capable to solve problems, too weak to start something new, too inexperienced to come up with a radical shift, too “little” to do something valuable, have too less money to do something big. All of those fears are usually coming to mind when you are educated to be of no value, too stupid, to “little” too poore…. Than think about the other way like we put the question upside down: Are you too “little” to be helpful? And if that is hopefully a NO – than go solve whatever problem you identify to solve. Find co-founders to complement your skillset and collaborate for a purpose – nut for just running a business.
And if you are still not sure, study the most influential inventors of the past 10 years, past 50 years or past 200 years. You will notice that most of them started with nothing, a lot of respect for the problem they are trying to solve and a ton of energy to never give up.
You may want to join our upcoming Idea Seeker webinar.
It’s on May 4th and part of the Knowledge Transfer series for young entrepreneurs.
All it takes: nothing but respect and energy :)
The super boys and girls never win – the humble, respectful and never quitting, always will. Go for it!