If you want to set up a start-up in this day and age, you will have a lot of work ahead of you. The start-up scene is extremely competitive and every company fights hard for its customers.
In this article, we would like to show you 4 ways to develop a start up idea that is worth pursuing.
Solve a problem
People buy products to solve problems. This is one of the first rules in the start-up scene that you have to learn. Your product must solve a problem for your customers otherwise, there is no reason for a customer to buy your product. However, the problem you want to solve has also to be relevant to your target customer.
A good and simple example is digital accounting software such as Lexware that helps companies to digitize their accounting processes making them more quickly and effectively. In this case, companies were sick of dealing with paper receipts and the chaos and overhead it creates and Lexware provided a better way to solve this problem.
How do I find a problem to solve?
It is not so easy to find a problem that is not yet solved by products today. We recommend you to pay attention to your everyday life if something is bothering you. You should write down your problems and review them at the end of the day.
Another way is to think about how you could solve some of your personal problems that you encounter. Chances are that many other people have similar problems to yours. This is especially practical because this way you can find a problem that you have experienced yourself and thus put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
A third option is to listen to your passion. Something you deeply care about and want to solve. The positive side effect with this approach is, that you will endure longer on the road to realizing your start up dream, as it will be a hard fight to bring your product successfully to market. But since you started from a point of passion, you already have a lot of fighting spirit and passion for the product.
Improve existing products
An idea does not always have to solve a new problem. A good way to find ideas for start-ups is to look at existing products and find out how to improve them. The improvement must be drastic, otherwise, existing customers would not see any benefit in switching to your product.
For this reason, this approach works very well for older products that have been on the market for a very long time but have hardly been developed further or have grown comfortable due to regulation.
A prominente example is the company Uber, which turned the taxi driving industry upside down. Taxi driving is not a new concept, but with their app, it is much more convenient and cheaper for guests to order a taxi.
Generate a USP
If your new product should solve the same problem as another product, then you need to find a way to be unique.
In marketing, this is called a USP (unique selling proposition).
With a USP you can differentiate yourself from your competitors because your customers see a higher benefit in your product in comparison to the competition. Examples can be price (Cheap vs Luxury), quality, eco friendly, convenience., etc… you can create the USP for your product alongside many dimensions without actually creating a completely new product from scratch.
How do I find out what makes a product better?
There are several ways you can find out what improvement customers want. The easiest way is to visit forums or websites where customers talk about products. You can often find people complaining about problems with the product on such sites. If you solve these problems and add your USP, you may have found an idea for your start-up.
Another starting point to develop a good idea for your start-up is to pay attention to current trends. For example, climate change is getting stronger and stronger and people are trying to be climate-friendly.
When you detect a trend before anyone else, you can develop products and services around that. For example, the company “Beyond Meat” was one of the first companies to offer vegans high-quality meat substitutes. Following the trend towards a more healthy and environmentally conscious lifestyle, the company “Beyond Meat” has established itself as one of the first suppliers of vegan meat substitutes.
How do I recognize trends?
Identifying trends is not easy and following your hunch takes a lot of courage and endurance. Technically, you can identify trends through news, but this may be too late. A way to discover trends is by using modern analytics tools.
A good example of a useful tool is Google Trends. At Google Trends you can see which keywords have been searched for the most. You can also enter keywords yourself and see how your searches have developed. This way you can identify trends very early and be the first to match your new product to the new trend.
This was just a small sample of strategies on researching new start up ideas. In the end, no matter which way you decide to look for new ideas, keep in mind: this is just the beginning.
Ideas are a dime a dozen, the important part is executing them. It is often better to start with something just to get the ball rolling than fantasizing about world domination forever.
Once you have piled up a few ideas we recommend to read our article about business model testing. It tells you what steps you should take next if you want to develop your idea into an actual business.
Philipp Noack –
Co-Founder Venture Leap
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