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How To Come Up With A Business Idea That Will Change Your Life

The web is plenty of articles and resources on how to start a business and how to make money. However, there is an issue. Those resources give you plenty of advice and give you many options.

But a few help you start a business you’d be for the long term. Indeed, building up a business from scratch isn’t a simple task. Quite the opposite, It is a rollercoaster, which if you’re lucky it will take five to ten years to take off.

Thus it is critical that you not only start a business with great potential. But that you’ll also love what you’ll be working on and the problem you will try to solve. Therefore, finding a successful business idea means three primary things. It starts with solving a problem but then figuring out whether:

  • That is something you like
  • Something that you’re good at
  • And that you can be paid to do

For that matter, the Bud Caddell’s diagram helps us in finding the sweet spot between these three key elements. If you do find yourself within that sweet spot, you can say you’re going after the right business idea and that you’re ready to become an entrepreneur

Start with the problem in mind

As highlighted in the interview I had with Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean and Scaling Lean, and creator for the Lean Startup Canvas:

One of the biases that that many entrepreneurs fall run into is this premature love of the solution. Like the first principles in science, you almost have to deconstruct an idea. We have to start with the basics. In this case, when we look at our business, we have to break it down into customers and problems.

He calls this problem/solution fit.

running-lean-ash-maurya

Create your lean canvas

lean-startup-canvas-vs-business-model-canvas

To help entrepreneurs clarify their minds on one page, you can use Ash Maurya, Lean Startup Canvas.

While this is an incredible tool, it focuses on how to get there.

Before you start using this incredible tool, you need to answer three primary questions.

Is this a problem I want to solve?

For most entrepreneurs, business is not a matter of choice, but rather an opportunity. However, in today’s world, where barriers to entry have become very low (digital businesses can be created relatively quickly and with meager investment), the competition is fierce.

Thus, endurance has become a critical element. And to make it through your business you need to love the problem enough to keep going for at least five to ten years.

Am I good at it?

As competition is fierce, it is critical that the solution you offer bring value to the table. For instance, when Brin and Page launched Google (initially called BackRub), it was argued that it was 10X better than any other search engine out there.

However, the Brin and Page not only fell in love with the problem of indexing and ranking a whole web (which at the time was way smaller than it is today) but they were pretty good at it (Google was born as result of their thesis as P.h.Ds).

Can I be paid for that?

No business model can be called viable if it lacks the monetization strategy or the profit formula. That’s because usually a business model to work in the long run has to be scalable and repeatable.

As we’ve seen to make a digital business take off so that you reach the so-called ramen profitability, it might take a few years. And if you don’t like or love the company you’re after it is very hard that the business itself will be successful. That’s because you’ll hardly have the willingness to put through the hard times.

ramen-profitability
Serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Paul Graham popularized the term “Ramen Profitability.” As he pointed out, “Ramen profitable means, a startup makes just enough to pay the founders’ living expenses.”

Key takeaway

Starting a digital business, today has become fairly quickly. However, starting and growing a successful business is as hard as ever. That’s because, with the advent of the web, the barriers to entry have been lowered and pretty much anyone can test its entrepreneurial skills.

However, this also generates the confusion that you can build a business very quickly. However, to build a successful business from scratch, it might well take five to ten years of struggle. Therefore to understand if you are up to this struggle, you need to answer three basic questions:

  • Is this something I like (love)?
  • Am I good at it?
  • Can I get paid for it?

If you’re able to find the sweet spot, you’re ready to start!

Read next:

Business resources:

Case studies: 

Interviews:

FourWeekMBA Business Toolbox

Tech Business Model Template

business-model-template
A tech business model is made of four main components: value model (value propositions, missionvision), technological model (R&D management), distribution model (sales and marketing organizational structure), and financial model (revenue modeling, cost structure, profitability and cash generation/management). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build a solid tech business model.

Web3 Business Model Template

vbde-framework
A Blockchain Business Model according to the FourWeekMBA framework is made of four main components: Value Model (Core Philosophy, Core Values and Value Propositions for the key stakeholders), Blockchain Model (Protocol Rules, Network Shape and Applications Layer/Ecosystem), Distribution Model (the key channels amplifying the protocol and its communities), and the Economic Model (the dynamics/incentives through which protocol players make money). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build and analyze a solid Blockchain Business Model.

Asymmetric Business Models

asymmetric-business-models
In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly, but it leverages the data users provide coupled with technology, thus have a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data, combined with its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility.

Business Competition

business-competition
In a business world driven by technology and digitalization, competition is much more fluid, as innovation becomes a bottom-up approach that can come from anywhere. Thus, making it much harder to define the boundaries of existing markets. Therefore, a proper business competition analysis looks at customer, technology, distribution, and financial model overlaps. While at the same time looking at future potential intersections among industries that in the short-term seem unrelated.

Technological Modeling

technological-modeling
Technological modeling is a discipline to provide the basis for companies to sustain innovation, thus developing incremental products. While also looking at breakthrough innovative products that can pave the way for long-term success. In a sort of Barbell Strategy, technological modeling suggests having a two-sided approach, on the one hand, to keep sustaining continuous innovation as a core part of the business model. On the other hand, it places bets on future developments that have the potential to break through and take a leap forward.

Transitional Business Models

transitional-business-models
A transitional business model is used by companies to enter a market (usually a niche) to gain initial traction and prove the idea is sound. The transitional business model helps the company secure the needed capital while having a reality check. It helps shape the long-term vision and a scalable business model.

Minimum Viable Audience

minimum-viable-audience
The minimum viable audience (MVA) represents the smallest possible audience that can sustain your business as you get it started from a microniche (the smallest subset of a market). The main aspect of the MVA is to zoom into existing markets to find those people which needs are unmet by existing players.

Business Scaling

business-scaling
Business scaling is the process of transformation of a business as the product is validated by wider and wider market segments. Business scaling is about creating traction for a product that fits a small market segment. As the product is validated it becomes critical to build a viable business model. And as the product is offered at wider and wider market segments, it’s important to align product, business model, and organizational design, to enable wider and wider scale.

Market Expansion Theory

market-expansion
The market expansion consists in providing a product or service to a broader portion of an existing market or perhaps expanding that market. Or yet, market expansions can be about creating a whole new market. At each step, as a result, a company scales together with the market covered.

Speed-Reversibility

decision-making-matrix

Asymmetric Betting

asymmetric-bets

Growth Matrix

growth-strategies
In the FourWeekMBA growth matrix, you can apply growth for existing customers by tackling the same problems (gain mode). Or by tackling existing problems, for new customers (expand mode). Or by tackling new problems for existing customers (extend mode). Or perhaps by tackling whole new problems for new customers (reinvent mode).

Revenue Streams Matrix

revenue-streams-model-matrix
In the FourWeekMBA Revenue Streams Matrix, revenue streams are classified according to the kind of interactions the business has with its key customers. The first dimension is the “Frequency” of interaction with the key customer. As the second dimension, there is the “Ownership” of the interaction with the key customer.

Revenue Modeling

revenue-model-patterns
Revenue model patterns are a way for companies to monetize their business models. A revenue model pattern is a crucial building block of a business model because it informs how the company will generate short-term financial resources to invest back into the business. Thus, the way a company makes money will also influence its overall business model.

Pricing Strategies

pricing-strategies
A pricing strategy or model helps companies find the pricing formula in fit with their business models. Thus aligning the customer needs with the product type while trying to enable profitability for the company. A good pricing strategy aligns the customer with the company’s long term financial sustainability to build a solid business model.

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