How to generate business ideas

How to Generate Business Ideas

Sometimes it feels like we have ideas that could be worth millions of dollars, other times our mind is a desert with nothing but sand for miles.

Coming up with good business ideas seems as elusive as catching bubbles with your bare hands. How can someone consistently come up with good ideas when they want to and not whenever the winds of creativity blow in their favor?

New business ideas and even good business ideas are rarely unique or developed in complete isolation. They are born off the backs of existing products and services.

For years in Marking 101 classes, the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) has be sold as the way to become successful at marketing ideas but it’s incredibly hard to find a truly unique aspect of an idea.

Rather than be discouraged by the fact your idea has been done before in some shape or form, it’s a sign of proof that it can be successful.

Here’s how to generate business ideas when you need them.

Our Hardware: The Development Of Our Brain

The typical reader of this article has 86 billion neurons in their brain. For comparison, the Milky Way is estimated to have about 200 to 400 billion stars.

To connect the neurons together are synapses, this allows us to learn, develop, and grow mental processes and relate ideas together.

The number of synapses we have peaks very early in life at around 2 to 3 years of age. “By age 2 or 3, an infant has about 15,000 synapses per neuron

Between the ages of 2 to 10, our brain naturally starts pruning the unused synapses. It’s estimated that 50% of unused synapses are removed during this period.

But don’t worry that you’ve eliminated the connections needed to be creative because our brains are constantly changing and reconnecting throughout our whole lives.

Nuroplatistiy is your friend

Before the 1950’s it was widely believed that once you were an adult your brain was fixed and wouldn’t change. People were stuck with whatever capacity they were born with at the time.

It was first spotted by Jerzy Konorski, a Polish neuroscientist, in 1948 that the brain continues to adapt and evolve well past childhood.

Many of us unconsciously or consciously put ourselves down as not creative or not business person but these are emotional blocks that can be overcome with introspection and emotional exercises.

Most people have the capacity and are born with the ability to come up with new ideas and there’s a type of business for everyone.

Starting with the belief you can be innovative and trusting that one of your business ideas will work in some shape or form is the first step.

Our Software: Habits and Behaviors for Idea Creation

There are always people who seem to have a new business idea every other day but are they born with it or is it something we can train ourselves to do?

It’s pretty comforting to know that almost all children are born with the ability to be creative or what’s called divergent thinking. However, as we get older it is schooled out of us.

A study done by George Land and Beth Jarman tested 1,600 children ages 3-5 and found that 98% of them scored at genius level at divergent thinking. However, these same children were tested five years later and only 32% of them got genius level. At the ages of 13-15, only 10% still were able to get genius level. In another independent test of 280,000 adults over the age of 25, only 2% retained genius level.

While this might be discouraging news, it’s important to remember what might have been educated out of us can be learned back in.

Install Creative Programming into Your Brain

So how do we change our behaviors to be more creative so we can come up with business ideas? One word: Connectivity.

Immerse yourself in different fields of thoughts and experiences to see what possible combinations of existing ideas you can form to make a new one.

Go to places you wouldn’t normally go like factories, workshops, or labs. Listen with a beginner’s mind to people talking about professions you know nothing about.

Once you start training yourself to be open and accepting of new perspectives on the world, ideas will start flowing more easily.

It’s critical that you embrace new ideas with enthusiasm instead of skepticism like so many people do. If we criticize our own thoughts before they’re even out of our heads. Our brains will stop trying.

Our Packaging: Environmental Influence on Idea Generation

In his insightful book Where Good Ideas Come From, author Steve Johnson suggests that environments rich with diverse thoughts stimulate great idea development.

Just imagine yourself surrounded by bright thinkers from various fields. Strolling by various areas devoted to different professions you’re not normally exposed to like chemistry, electrical engineering, or linguistics. Your mind starts forming unique connections between seemingly unrelated pieces of information. You begin seeing patterns others might miss – leading to brilliant insights and game-changing business ideas.

We don’t always recognize these moments immediately because they often happen subconsciously but rest assured: each time you expose yourself to fresh perspectives or unfamiliar scenarios, your adaptable brain gets busy synthesizing those experiences into potentially groundbreaking concepts.

If we relate this phenomenon back to ideation processes within businesses – think of brainstorming sessions held within vibrant co-working spaces teeming with entrepreneurs from different industries all sharing their knowledge freely.

Beyond just being around people though, environment also refers to the various situations and experiences we find ourselves in. So don’t limit yourself. Be open, and explore new territories – you never know where or when your next big idea might strike.

Remember, success in entrepreneurship isn’t just about one great idea. It’s about being consistently creative over time. So, make sure you’re fostering an environment that encourages this.

Key Takeaway:

Unlock the power of your brain to spark innovative business ideas. With its 86 billion neurons and plasticity, your mind can forge new connections from experiences and changes in behavior. By immersing yourself in diverse environments full of fresh perspectives, you encourage this mental agility. You’re not just waiting for one big idea – but nurturing a fertile ground for continuous creativity.

Problem-Solving as a Source of Business Ideas

The art of problem-solving has long been recognized as a fountainhead for business ideas. From personal issues to challenges faced by others, solving problems often opens the door to new and innovative businesses.

Anticipating Future Problems

In a constantly shifting environment, transformation is an unavoidable part of life. But with change comes potential difficulties that require solutions – creating opportunities for fresh business concepts. Businesses like Fresh Step cat litter or noise-canceling headphones were born out of identifying such prospective dilemmas and offering viable resolutions.

In this vein, anticipating future predicaments is akin to having a crystal ball in the entrepreneurial world. It gives you an edge over the competition by allowing you not only to react but also proactively address forthcoming issues before they turn into significant hurdles.

This approach can lead us down some fascinating paths when it comes to idea generation for startups. For instance, GoPro was developed because its founder anticipated people’s desire to capture their extreme sports adventures – something traditional cameras couldn’t do effectively at that time.

  • Fresh Step capitalized on pet owners’ need for better odor control in cat litter.
  • Noise-canceling headphones became popular because they offered peace amid noisy environments – addressing urban dwellers’ yearning for quiet spaces without compromising mobility.
  • GoPro thrived based on people’s love for sharing high-definition videos of their adventurous pursuits, meeting both current and foreseeable demand from thrill-seekers worldwide.

These examples illustrate how anticipating future problems can serve as a robust platform for generating business ideas. Yet, it’s not just about recognizing potential issues; one must also be creative and offer solutions that are both useful and imaginative.

In this regard, developing an eye for spotting potential hurdles in our ever-changing world is akin to honing your entrepreneurial sixth sense. It’s a potent tool that enables you to stay ahead of the curve and identify unique opportunities ripe for exploration.

Finding Solutions Before Problems Become Overwhelming

Sometimes, though, you don’t need to look far into the future. The present-day holds enough challenges waiting for creative solutions.

Key Takeaway:

Problem-solving is a wellspring of business ideas. By anticipating future issues and finding creative solutions, you can carve out innovative businesses like GoPro or Fresh Step cat litter. So keep an eye on today’s challenges too – they’re ripe for fresh concepts.

Adapting to Evolving Needs for Business Innovation

In the world of business, adaptation is not just survival—it’s a key to success. We’re living in an era where customer needs and market trends are constantly evolving. Businesses must keep up with these changes and develop products or services that cater to contemporary needs.

A perfect example of this adaptive approach can be seen in the rise of remote work tools during the global pandemic. With millions suddenly working from home, companies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams adapted swiftly, enhancing their platforms’ capabilities, and making them more user-friendly than ever before.

Saving People Money and Making Lives Easier

The secret sauce behind most successful innovations? They either save people money or make lives easier—often both. Consider budgeting apps such as Mint. By offering easy-to-use financial tracking tools at no cost, they help users save money by providing insights into spending habits while simplifying personal finance management.

Ride-sharing giants like Uber are another testament to this principle—they made transport cheaper and booking rides simpler. The value proposition was irresistible: Why own a car when you can get one on demand?

  • Ease: Streamlined processes cut through red tape (Uber).
  • Cheapness: Innovative solutions often provide affordability without compromising quality (Mint).

Remember, successful business ideas are not just about inventing something new. They’re also about revamping and reshaping current items or administrations to make them more available, economical, and easy to understand.

The Magic of Innovation: Adaptation in Action

Remember, innovation isn’t just about starting fresh. It’s often about polishing what already exists—just like Netflix did.

Turning Passions into Profitable Businesses

You’ve heard the saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” But have you ever considered turning your hobby or passion into a business? Many entrepreneurs have found success by doing just that. Turning a hobby or passion into a business can lead to unique and fulfilling ideas.

Your Passion is Your Advantage

When it comes to starting up, passion gives an edge. It’s not only about financial gain but also about creating something of significance – whether it be art, technology, services or products. The advantage of turning passions into businesses lies in having deep knowledge and understanding of the subject matter because you are already immersed in it as part of your daily life.

Take Drew Barrymore for example, who turned his graphic designing skills coupled with his love for cool old stuff into WorthPoint Corporation which became a seven-figure earning enterprise within years.

The Roadmap from Passion to Business

  • Finding Market Need: Start by identifying if there’s market need for what you’re passionate about – research online forums and social media channels where people talk about their problems related to your field of interest.
  • Crafting Unique Value Proposition: Differentiate yourself by offering something uniquely valuable based on expertise derived from personal experience.
  • Selling Experience Not Just Products: Customers buy experiences rather than just goods; weave stories around products/services giving them a human touch and thus driving engagement & sales.

Sara Blakely’s story is inspiring here. She turned her frustration into Spanx, a billion-dollar company by creating body-shaping undergarments for women which no one else was providing.

Remember, every successful business started with an idea that was once just someone’s passion or problem needing to be solved. So why not let your passion guide you on the path of entrepreneurship?

Key Takeaway:

Make money from what you love by kickstarting a business that’s grounded in your passion. Take Drew Barrymore’s WorthPoint Corporation as an example – she leveraged her profound knowledge to get ahead. Your first steps? Spot a market gap, forge a unique selling point, and focus on peddling experiences instead of just products. Look up to success stories like Sara Blakely’s Spanx for inspiration – remember, every thriving enterprise once started somewhere.


Expanding your perspective is a powerful tool for generating innovative business ideas. Stepping away from the familiar and viewing things in a different way can lead to fresh possibilities.

The Power of Diverse Perspectives

Different viewpoints can often shed light on aspects that might be overlooked from a singular perspective. For instance, an engineer may see solutions in terms of technological advancements while an artist could envision creative applications or design improvements. This fusion creates innovative outcomes.

A great example is the collaboration between tech companies and fashion designers to create smart clothing – two fields seemingly disparate but their amalgamation leads to groundbreaking products.

Seeking Inspiration from Various Industries

Exploring diverse industries also broadens one’s horizon. An idea successful in one industry might inspire you with its adaptation into another field entirely. Just think about how Uber revolutionized transport by borrowing principles from online food delivery systems.

An easy way to start? Read widely across multiple sectors – healthcare, technology, education, retail – each holds unique insights ready for you to discover and leverage.

Cross-Cultural Learnings

Gaining cross-cultural perspectives further enhances this process as it provides access to fresh ideas born out of varied socio-economic conditions and cultural norms. A prime example would be how Western brands have been learning from Asian countries about skincare routines, leading to new product lines and increased sales.

Traveling, learning new languages or even interacting with diverse groups on social platforms can all help you gain these valuable perspectives. But remember, the aim is not just to ‘borrow’ ideas but to adapt them in ways that add value for your potential customers.

Expanding Your Skillset

Broadening isn’t just about looking outwards; it’s also about expanding our personal skill sets. Learning something outside of your primary field often stimulates creativity and gives birth to fresh business concepts.

Just make sure your work matches the target language every step of the way.

Key Takeaway:

Diversify your perspective to unlock a treasure trove of business ideas. Embrace different viewpoints, seek inspiration across industries, and soak up cross-cultural learning. And don’t forget – it’s not just about borrowing but adapting ideas to create value for your customers. Finally, boost creativity by learning beyond your primary field.

FAQs in Relation to How to Generate Business Ideas

What are the 4 methods for generating business ideas?

The four strategies to cook up business ideas include problem-solving, adapting to evolving needs, turning passions into businesses, and meeting human needs.

How will you generate ideas to start your business?

To spawn a fresh idea for my startup, I’d look at solving existing problems or predicting future ones. Plus tuning in on my hobbies can be fruitful too.

What are the 7 strategies for generating ideas?

Besides the four ways mentioned earlier, add brainstorming sessions, seeking advice from mentors, and networking with other entrepreneurs to that list.

What are the 10 sources of business ideas?

Apart from personal experiences and hobbies, current events can inspire us. Industry trends or changes along with scientific breakthroughs could also help light that bulb over our heads.


So, you’ve journeyed through the power of the brain in generating business ideas. Incredible, isn’t it?

You’ve discovered how your environment can fuel idea generation and how problem-solving could be a goldmine for innovative thinking.

We’ve looked at adapting to evolving needs and making lives easier – both potent sources for new ventures.

You now know that turning passions into businesses is not just a dream but an achievable reality!

Above all else, remember this: meeting human needs and providing experiences will always be key. That’s where true innovation lies.

Now that you’ve got the know-how to drum up business ideas, it’s time to hit the ground running and bring them to life!

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