#1 Review Kickstarter to see which ideas are most heavily funded.
Check out the top funded Kickstarter projects. Which projects are getting the most crowd funding? What types of concepts / industries are most popular? This gives you a good idea of where consumer demand is beginning to well up. You can filter by category and by region to dial down into specifics.
#2 Review Reddit forums where people post about things they want to buy.
Reddit is a treasure trove for idea hunters. There are subforums on Reddit dedicated exclusively to people who are asking for new businesses to get started so they can pay money immediately.
Here are some places to go looking for ideas:
/r/SomebodyMakeThis - Cool business ideas shared by Redditors who don’t have the time or skills necessary to pursue the ideas themselves.
/r/ShutUpAndBuildThis – Redditors clamor for cool products that they want built today. Top ideas currently include: glow-in-the-dark USB ports, cameras that you can throw, and Plinko-style Piggy banks.
/r/AskReddit/what_is_the_worst_product – A summary of terrible products that are super popular. Invent something better.
/r/DoesAnybodyElse – Redditors empthasize over common, but non-obvious annoyances, frustrations, and private quirks. Make things to solve their problems.
/r/Austin – Review the subreddit of your local city and see what common questions & complaints arise. Replace “Austin” with the name of your hometown.
#3 Do a Twitter search for the phrase: “does anyone know how to”
I think this phrase is tweeted a million times a day. It’s basically people asking for a ready-made solution to a probelm. Read through a bunch of tweets and you’ll start seeing some key themes surface — you’ll also get a few good laughs.
#4 Check out ideas from visionaries
- Ideas from Paul Graham – Founder of Y Combinator and this
- Ideas from James Altucher – Successful Entrepreneur and Bestselling Author
- Ideation Methodology from Noah Kagan at AppSumo
#5 Look within your own life for problems to solve.
What problems or annoyances do you experience every day? Do you think anyone else has a similar problem? How could you solve the problem?
#6 Solve problems that your friends and family are having.
Pay attention during conversations with friends and be observant. What complaints come up repeatedly?
What struggles are they having in their social life, their family life, and their work life? What do they want to learn or wish they knew how to do?
#7 Ask your friends and family what business idea they think you should pursue.
Maybe your friends notice something that you missed about yourself. Maybe they have a great idea but don’t have the time or know-how to pursue it.
#8 What 2-3 skills are you great at already that you can teach to others?
You might already have a skill that people are dying to pay for. Don’t overlook this. Things that come easy to you might be super difficult for other people.
#9 Customize a popular item like iPhone, Kindle, Toms shoes, etc
Millions of people, for example, have covered, stickered, painted and even bedazzled their iPhones. People love to personalize and protect their possessions. Use that to your advantage and create a business.
#10 Search the Craigslist gigs section and find people who want to spend money to solve a problem.
Look for recurring requests. Example search: Austin Craigslist – Gigs for Pay
#11 Review your friends’ Facebook & Twitter feeds to to find common complaints.
Seth Godin wrote a blog post about how great ideas are everywhere and easier than ever to find now on social media. You just need to see the “idea on a string” and execute. I agree.
Take a look at your Facebook and Twitter feeds and make note of what your friends are complaining about. There’s likely a great business idea in there.
#12 Copy ideas that are already validated
There is no need to guess on business ideas when there are proven winners already out there. Use these resources to help find existing products that have been validated by strong sales:
Get inspiration from Udemy courses that sell well.
Make a product for which people are willing to pre-pay at Things I Want Made.
Search through the top selling information products on Clickbank.
#13 Read 2-Star & 3-Star Reviews on Amazon
If you’re thinking about writing a book or creating / reselling a physical product, do some research on Amazon.
Find the category that’s closest to what you’re doing, then find the most popular products in the category and read their 2-star and 3-star reviews.
- What features are most commonly missing from the most popular products?
- What topics did their favorite book not cover in detail?
- What pain points / fears / obstacles were not addressed?
- Can you create something that solves a problem or fills an unmet need?
This type of info can all be found in those critical 2-star & 3 -star reviews.
Why 2-star and 3-star reviews?
Because that’s typically where people put the most helpful and constructive criticisms. 4 & 5 star reviews are usually just glowing with praise. 1 star reviews are usually just brief slams of the product.
#14 Repackage a popular “how to” blog post as a service
These are all step-by-step articles on how to do things that businesses are willing to pay for. Bookmark articles like these, master the material, and then offer it as a service to any business. Most businesses don’t want to hire a full time employee to do this at a cost of $5,000+/month and most of their existing employees will be too busy, too stubborn, or too lazy to try a new marketing technique.
Ryan Luedecke has a post about how to make your first $1,000 on Reddit Ads.
Bryan Harris has detailed how to get your first 100 email subscribers.
Noah Kagan has explained how to profitably advertise on Facebook.
The WarriorForum has a post that spells out exactly how to write sales copy that converts.
Jakub Linowski has written a great article about how to design websites that convert.
BRYAN HARRIS (VIDEOFRUIT) – Definitely worth a visit as Bryan already has a premade list of 50+ amazing “how to” posts you can use to start your business.
#15 Remove a step from an existing process
Take any process in your day-to-day work or personal life . List out every single step. Figure out a way to remove a step in the process. That’s a business.
- Email removed the steps of putting a letter in an envelope, adding a stamp, and putting it in the mail — to say nothing of the reduced delivery time.
- With Uber you don’t need to reach into your wallet after a cab ride.
- Mott’s has made it possible to eat applesauce without fetching a spoon.
What can you do? Here are some examples:
- Create a shower sensor that tells you exactly when your water is the perfect temperature so you don’t have to keep sticking your hand in there to test it.
- Sell a pre-made cauliflower pizza crust to people on the Paleo diet. They’ll crown you a saint.
- Start a job posting service that posts to every major job posting website at the same time. That way I don’t have to create a separate post to Craigslist, LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, 99Designs, Elance, etc.
- Create a food delivery service that only lets you order from a list of the 10 most popular entree items in my area. Eliminates the steps of having to pick a restaurant, scour the menu, deliberate about what I want, customize the item, etc.
#16 Solve the world’s biggest problems
Use CDC data, for example, to identify the most prevalent diseases & ailments in the US. Are there natural treatment options available that are effective, yet considered non-traditional or poorly marketed? The ketogenic diet, for example, has proven effective at curing some forms of cancer, yet chemotherapy is a far more popular & expensive treatment choice and statistically less effective.
Review the most common social, political, economic, and environmental issues in the world.
Can you create a product or service that helps to address one issue? If a problem seems too massive to solve, focus your efforts locally instead of globally.
If creating a product is too complicated, can you repurpose something that already exists? Soylent, for example, is a meal replacement beverage in the US. It could potentially be repurposed to help fight hunger during natural disasters or other emergencies.
This is an edited version of a post originally posted at http://ryanluedecke.com/, by Ryan Luedecke.You are free to re-edit and repost this in your own blog or other use under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License terms, by giving credit with a link to www.startupcommons.org and the original post.