A common problem we hear among entrepreneurs is that they can’t find business ideas. To that we say you aren’t listening hard enough rather than not looking hard enough. As entrepreneurs, we are constantly looking for opportunities and there’s no better place to look for opportunities than in your surroundings. Since entrepreneurs are always on the lookout, they have fine tuned their hearing to notice specific keywords or phrases that reveal opportunities for new business ideas. Now what happens if you used the same concept and listened in on internet social buzz…
Terms of Improvement
A typical entrepreneur does not always have to reinvent the wheel. You will notice many products and services out there already exist but what sets them apart is that they make your life easier!
For every opportunity, there requires a platform for that particular unfulfilled problem. One person may be looking for an iPhone application while another person could be looking for a special service.
- app / application
Problem and Wishful Phrases
The heart of all potential business idea phrases is usually a request for something. Sometimes it exists and sometimes it doesn’t exist. If it exists, create something better. If it doesn’t exist, dominate the niche.
- i wish there was
- why isn’t there
- is there a(n) _________ way (improvement term)
- is there an _________ (platform)
- solve this problem
- why hasn’t anybody
- does something like this exist?
- solve this problem
- pain in the ass
- i need a
Combining all three elements will lead you to unlimited amounts of potential business ideas. This list of terms and phrases is far from complete so add more to it as you see fit. Let’s take a moment and see what kind of phrases we can come up with by mixing and matching the 3 elements above.
- i wish there was a service to…
- why hasn’t anybody created a website that…
- is there an easier way to…
- does something like this exist already?
- …solve this problem…
- is there an app that…
- does anyone know a more convenient way to…
You can see how we try to mimic actual conversation pieces. The skies the limit here folks.
Where To Look
The best place to look for business ideas would be on social websites where conversation occurs. With the internet being very public, you can eavesdrop on conversations and gather more business ideas than you can imagine.
Forums – Forums are a great place for business ideas because conversation is necessary for them to survive. In addition to that, the majority of forums are niche based meaning you can tailor your business ideas and solutions for that specific demographic.
- Too many to list but easy to google
Q&A – Question and Answer (Q&A) websites are great because these users are all specifically asking questions looking for help. Sometimes questions are resolved and often times you will see that they are not. When questions are not resolved then that could indicate a potential business idea.
Social Media – We had to include social media since the big two giants, Facebook and Twitter, are home to nearly 3/4 of a billion users. The great thing about social media is that people like to speak their mind. When this occurs you can indirectly find business ideas.
Please note that you may need to be members of these websites. Keep in mind this list is not comprehensive. There are obviously many various platforms out there for you to search for business ideas but this selection will be more than enough.
How To Search
We will use Twitter, Yahoo Answers, and Google/Forums to demonstrate how to use all three to find business ideas. With these websites we will be utilizing search functions to gather business ideas on the phrase “i wish there was an app/application.”
- You must first go to the advanced search section of Twitter at: http://search.twitter.com/advanced
- Is this example we are looking to see what kind of applications people want. We want to search for the exact phrase “i wish there was.” App and application are often interchanged so we will search for both of those. I do not want to include RT as those are “retweets” and display redundant tweets.
- After you perform a search you will find a lot dumb tweets but there are some golden ones hidden in there. Now we have no idea if these application ideas exist are not but here are some we compiled of the latest tweets with reasonable app ideas.
- Rather than searching specific forums that require registrations. Let’s use Google to search ALL forums for business ideas. Start by going to Google.com
- Search for “i wish there was an app” + inurl:forum. Sorting by date is optional and sometimes you get better results not sorting by date.
- Once again you will have to filter through the results to find some decent business ideas. A few good ideas came up like app for sharing textbooks and app for timed geotagging location. Of course click the links for more info.
- Since Yahoo Answers is the worlds largest Q&A website, we will do some research there. Start by going to the advanced search at: http://answers.yahoo.com/search/search_advance
- The search format is similar to Twitter’s. Note that instead of “i wish there was an” we are using “is there an” since people on Q&A sites are asking questions. Set the keyword match to questions only, open questions, and last 90 days for the most recent questions.
- Sort it by newest if you want the latest questions. There’s always a good number of ideas out of these questions such as the restaurant ordering idea or the step counting idea.
Entrepreneurs don’t have time to be monitoring these websites for business ideas. This is why we recommend to automate the process having business ideas coming to your email inbox daily!
- Google Alerts – Good for real time email alerts. Recommended for forums but can be used for any website.
- Feed My Inbox – Takes a RSS feed and emails you daily updates. Good for Yahoo Answers since they give you RSS for every search.
- Twilert – The best Twitter alert tool we’ve used. Get daily email alerts on tweets.
Remember behind every problem lies an opportunity.