How To Generate Organic High-Quality Startup Ideas

Most startups fail. Yet, building a startup from scratch takes a lot out of you – time, money, emotional investment, etc. Because of this, if you decide to take the plunge and start your own startup project, it’s very important to be sure you’re working on something worthwhile from the very beginning.

Yet, the sole act of coming up with high-quality startup ideas is hard enough. So, here are a couple of rules of thumb that will help you discover high-quality ideas that other people can’t see.

1. Look For Organic Ideas

Successful startup ideas are usually discovered, rather than generated. If you sit down and start brainstorming ideas for your future startup project it’s virtually impossible to generate something good that people haven’t done already. At the same time, it’s very easy to generate ideas that sound good (usually with the X for Y model, е.g. an Uber for a service, etc.) but which are in reality impossible to realize for reasons that you can’t be aware of.

If a startup idea sounds logical to the average person but after doing a Google search you can’t find a close match of a business providing the service, you can be almost certain that unknown factors are preventing such a business to succeed – the obvious ideas have been tried many times.

The valuable startup ideas either aren’t obvious at all (which means you can’t generate them on a whim), or they are obvious but very few people are in the right place to see the problem that needs solving. Successful startup ideas require insights that other people don’t have. And to get those, you need to put yourself in a unique situation.

2. Be At The Cutting Edge Of A New Wave

Airbnb gave birth to an entirely new niche in the hospitality and travel industry. Against all odds, they managed to change the culture and to create something entirely new. However, they are the exception rather than the rule. Very few startups give birth to entirely new technologies, industries, etc. However, many startups become extremely successful by being the first ones to ride a wave. Even Google wasn’t the first search engine – they were simply the first ones to see the potential and to execute the solution best.

Because of this, the easiest way to see opportunities is to be at the forefront of a new trend. This usually means a new technological wave (e.g. crypto, machine learning, genomics, etc.), however, it could also be a new cultural wave – esports, a new genre of music, etc.

Being on the cutting edge of something before it becomes mainstream means that you will see the obvious opportunities before other people.

3. Be At The Intersection Of Two Or More Fields

Another way to gain unique insight is to be at the intersection of two fields. By definition, there will be very few people at your exact location on the Venn diagram. You can use this to your advantage and take successful practices (and businesses) from one field and apply them to another.

4. Do. Don’t wait

Valuable startup ideas are discovered and to discover anything you need to search actively. This means that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to sit in your comfort zone and wait for the perfect idea.

First, try to notice opportunities. Second, once you think something has potential – try to validate that there is demand quickly and at a low cost. Third, once you see positive signals from the market from your validation tests start working on the project.

Accept that the idea in its first iteration will almost certainly fail, but learn relentlessly along the way. This way your unique experience and newly gained insight into the market can help you make the iteration on your idea that hits the bullseye.

Keep in mind that Facebook used to be a “hot or not” app for college students. However, if Mark and co. hadn’t plunged into this not-so-great idea, they would never have had the chance to see the potential of the social network that would become Facebook.

It is doing that helps you see diamonds where other people only see coal.

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