If you trust the ads in your Facebook feed, you probably think there is a magic formula hidden from normal people that gives special guru’s unlimited success in business just by doing simple things you never thought about. News flash -- that’s a lie.
There is no big secret of startup gurus. There is no silver bullet. There's nothing that will magically turn your app idea into a billion dollar company overnight.
The truth behind building a billion dollar business is actually pretty simple. It starts with an idea that can make money. To start the journey of building your business, you need an idea. I'm not talking about an amazing idea to make millions that just magically pops in your head. Sadly, ideas don’t usually come to people out of the blue. As crazy as it seems, you actually have to work to come up with an idea. And as with all things that take work, remember working smarter is better than working harder.
So, how do you accomplish this as it relates to generating great ideas? The same way you work smart about everything -- use a proven system.
When you follow a proven system, things seem to just happen. That’s because a system is designed specifically to solve one problem by doing as little work as possible and making it easily repeatable. The system for coming up with great business ideas is no different.
To start, make a list of 10 problems you have in your life on a regular basis. Here is a sample list.
- Going to bed too late
- Changing the baby
- Walking the dog
- Not enough energy in the morning
- Skipping the gym too much
- Don’t make enough time to read
- Too much screen time
- Shoveling snow
- Screwing with my thermostat too much
- Getting distracted when I write
That took me a whole three minutes, tops. And what did it get me? Ten potential ideas that I can focus on and test to see if there is anything real there. If not? No big deal. I have three minutes to spare.
The magic here is that everyone’s got problems. Maybe a few other people share the same problems as you? It is time to see if you’re a lone whacko with problems that no one else has or if you're on to something.
Ask your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, a Facebook group and everyone else you can -- real people with a real conversation. Don’t go into any solutions or anything too detailed, just find out if people share your problem and, most importantly, find out just how big of a problem it is.
When you’re done, go all stalker on your problem. Google it. Search Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and everywhere else you can think of. The more you see and hear about your problem, the more likely that you can turn it into a business. This is how 99 percent of all the big apps that you've ever heard of were planned.
Before you turn this into a business, you’ve got to validate two thing -- that you can solve the problem and that people care about the solution. The most common question here is “What the heck is the solution?”
The solution is someway to make the problem less … bad. Find someway to make it easier to deal with. If you can make it go away completely, that's awesome! But it doesn’t have to be gone completely, just easier to deal with. Let’s look at a couple of real world examples:
Problem: I hate food shopping.
Solution: Order my groceries in an app and have someone deliver them to me.
Problem: I wake up too late to go to the gym.
Solution: Use an alarm clock that literally shocks me out of bed if I oversleep.
These are real life businesses that were built on a problem that one person had; both of them proven because multiple people shared that pain. Both of them are businesses that make the problem at least a little less awful.
Will you build a store? Is it software? Is it an app? Or a wearable device? For your chosen problem, find as many solutions you can and talk to people about it. If they like any of your solutions, you might be sitting on a gold mine.