Where do you start?
You need an idea. You need a good idea. You will need an idea that can’t fail.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the place to begin, if you are thinking of trying to start a company, is with a market need–and not a new idea.
Ideas are too easy. My guess is you could come up with 10 new business concepts before lunch, if you had to.
The problem is once you come up with that idea–say you are going to construct real housing out of Lego blocks–you have to go and figure out if it is feasible, and if anyone–other than an eight-year-old–would live it if it were.
If you have identified a market need, then you are assured that you have a market–the people who have the need.
But is starting with the market need the only way to start a business? Obviously not. You can begin with the idea. And while I used the following conceit in another context, it is worth repeating it here to underscore the fact that there are numerous ways of getting underway.
Each of the following ideas are yours for the taking. (All I ask is you make a large contribution to the charity of your choice should they make you rich.)
1. Non-itchy casts. As anyone who has ever broken an arm or leg can tell you, perhaps the worst part of the experience is how itchy it gets inside your cast. Yes, you can fold wire hangers into useable arm or leg scratchers that can fit inside the cast, but wouldn’t it be better if the cast didn’t itch in the first-place?
Why can’t someone come up with a casting material that is itch-proof, at least on the inside? It doesn’t strike me as all that difficult and I would be willing to pay a premium for it if I had to, the next time I broke something.
2. A spam bounty. One of the biggest problems with email–other than the fact that people tend to write mini-novels when they send you a note or they use abbreviations you can’t figure out–is all the spam.
You hit the “this is spam button” on the computer and while the message is deleted, nothing else happens.
You still get messages from that Nigerian prince or ads for various ways of enhancing various body parts, until you block the emailer…and then they just change one letter in their email name, and the messages start arriving all over again.
Why not create an email service that rewards people who report spammers?
Every time a spammer is found, prosecuted and is forced to make restitution, the person (or people) who reported them would share in the bounty.
The Internet service provider who offered this service would differentiate themselves from the pack, and my email in-box would be a whole lot less cluttered.
3. Historical/Fictional celebrity cookware. Here’s the premise. Fictional characters are always cooking, even if they aren’t chiefs.
For example, hard-boiled (sorry about the pun) detective Spencer, the creation of the late Robert B. Parker, was always whipping up something in the kitchen.
Why not create a line of cookware “inspired by” your favorite fictional character? It would be an easy way to breakthrough all the clutter in the cooking space?
You really are more than welcome to steal any of these ideas–but, as I said, do try to play it forward when you do