By Nate McCallister
Not all business ideas result from serendipity or blind luck. There are ways to actively find high potential business ideas, and this article is going to show you ways to do just that.
Even if you have a good thing going, there is no harm in finding more opportunities! Everyone can benefit from adopting a “business building, problem-solving mindset.”
So, here you have my 6 tips to help you identify problems and know if they are viable business opportunities.
1. Start with the Familiar
I recommend finding the problems that people face in a community you are already a part of. This could be a Circle.so community, a Facebook community or anything in between.
For me, this started with the Amazon selling community. I knew what tasks were difficult, time-consuming and unappealing.
Once I did something, I would ask “is there a better way to do this next time?” If the answer was yes, I would then consider “is this something people would pay for?”
You are solving problems anyway! Why not consider monetizing the solutions if possible?
If there is a better way, people will often pay.
Ask yourself two more things after you identify if people will pay for your solution.
- Can I scale it enough to make a profit worth my time and investment?
- Is this “better” enough than the existing solutions to make them want to choose me over what they’re already doing?
Some things simply don’t catch on because the “better” option just isn’t enticing enough for people to leave a product or service they have been using. Humans don’t like change without good reason.
When you are already a member of a community, you can identify what people need based on your own needs. The worst thing you can do is sell people what you think they need when you are not a member who needs this as well
2. Scratch Your Own Itch
If you have a problem, odds are, others have the same one. Create a solution to it and analyze its worth.
Since you are in the community (see step 1) you will identify if it is worthwhile to others.
The beauty of this: if it doesn’t work as a business, you at least created something you can use yourself.
3. Work Backwards
Think of problems or general hold-ups that you have already overcome.
Are there things that you do well that others may struggle with?
If so, you could have an opportunity there. You have solved thousands of problems in your life. Try to recall those and help others.
4. Adopt a Problem-Solving Mindset
The first problem you find may lead to a sustainable business or it may not. Never stop looking for solutions to problems. Do this regularly and business ideas will appear everywhere.
Grow your problem-solving value to others and the profits will grow as well. Be in tune with the world around you.
Watch social media forums, listen to your current clients (or colleagues), create Typeform surveys. Learn to be mindful of the surrounding community.
5. Be Negative (Sort of)
Great business ideas solve problems and negative people find a lot of problems!
Question things with a “half empty” glass approach when searching for a problem.
This is easier for some more than others.
- “What is it about this that needs to change?”
- “Why does this annoy me?”
Of course, immediately drop this mentality for anything else in your typical day-to-day affairs. Consistently negative entrepreneurs don’t make it far.
6. Focus on Saving People Time
Depending on your niche, saving people time can be just as good, if not better than, making them money.
Ask, “is this the best use of anyone’s time?”
For example, in the Amazon community, a seller “makes money” when sourcing products to sell, making deals with wholesalers or using a tool like Helium 10 to research private label products. There is a slew of other important but time-consuming and unskilled tasks that need to be handled as well. If you have a service that can take time-consuming tasks off people’s hands, you may have an opportunity.
Also, could you outsource the unskilled labor required and still make enough profit to justify the venture?