How to brainstorm for good business ideas

If you have decided to start a venture and be an entrepreneur, you'll need good business ideas.

I would like to suggest 4 ways to brainstorm to spot good opportunities:

  • Building on your skills, hobbies or interests
  • Copying or improving on an existing successful business
  • Combining two existing business ideas
  • Spotting a gap in the market

Use this tool to do brainstorming.

Building on your skills, hobbies or interests
I like this way of finding an opportunity the most. Build upon your passion and do what you really like. After all, your are embarking your own journey.

Take 5 minutes and make a list of all your interests, skills or experience. For each, think of one or more business idea to match it. Here is a list you might make:

Interest/Skills/Experience Business idea
Cooking A restaurant for fusion food
Recipe Blog
Cooking school
Meeting people Taxi proprietor
Freelance Insurance
Retail business
Volleyball Volleyball Blog
Volleyball coach proprietor
Sports shop
Cancer patient Found a social enterprise
Blog that provides resources for fellow cancer patients
Match patients to doctors service

Copying or improving on existing successful idea
You need not have a radical innovation to take the market by storm. Look at iPod, Apple had to pay Creative off for intellectual property infringement, (nice words for copying).

Prior to this, Microsoft had copied the Graphic User Interface concept from Apple. In both cases, it was the copycat that won the business war.

Consider the area you want to go into. How can you improve the existing product or service or solution? Can you alter any business processes?

In June 2008, Facebook paid $65m to Mark Zuckerberg’s ex-classmates in Harvard to settle the ConnectU controversy. ConnectU claimed that Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, had copied their ideas.

Make a list of businesses in your interest area that are successful. Alter, amend or add-on to the idea to come up with your own.

Combining two or more existing business ideas
If you are interested in more than one business area, how about combining two or more existing business ideas and make it into an interesting one?

For example, if you like cooking and you love picnics, how about a business that delivers picnic food to the picnic site on weekends? That’s just a random idea from me. I am sure you can think up better ones.

But see how I combined 3 ideas? Cooking, Picnic and Food Delivery.

If you can spot a gap by combining existing ideas, your business proposition will be even more compelling. Read on…

Spotting a gap in the market
Identify a need of the market that is not currently being served by existing businesses.

Spotting a gap is not easy! First, try to identify a current national or international trend. To do this, you’ve got to read newspapers, magazines and periodicals to get updated.

Once that’s done, then translate each of these into possible business ideas. Here is a quick list I put together:

Trend Need Possible business idea
Financial institutions failing and needing bail outs An alternative or more transparent financial institution Alternative banking or payment systems
High unemployment rates and people now have time! Live on shoe-strong budget
Spend their time productively
Cheaper essential products
Gym, self-improvement courses
Import cheap and essential goods from Asia
Increase in divorce and single-parent families Help to look after children Baby-sitting service
After school care service
Home delivery of nutritious food for children

Download my Brainstorming tool here.