How to Recognize Biz Opportunities

If you’re a child of the 80’s-90’s, you might recognize part of my Twitter profile. It says “I got more biz ideas than Picasso got paintings. And THAT’S why I’m learning Full Stack #webdev“.

I borrowed the beginning from a Beastie Boys song, “The New Style”, that says “I got more juice than Picasso got paint.”

Maybe I don’t have “more biz ideas than Picasso got paintings” but I can come up with a new business idea just about every single day, some days I come up with multiple. How do I come up with so many business ideas? I’m glad you asked. Because I’d love to share this with you.

I listen to others.

How many times a day do you hear someone say “I wish someone would…”? That person could follow it up with something unhelpful like “get out of my way” or whatnot, but there’s a great chance that they’ll say something like “I wish someone would create a banana that doesn’t get squished in a lunchbag.” And instead of changing bananas, someone created the Banana Protector.

Phrases to listen for:

  • This sucks…
  • I wish…
  • I need…
  • Someone should…
  • I’d pay money for…

Those are someone telling you what they want. After that, it’s your job to figure out how to monetize it.

I listen to myself.

Often times you’ll say something like “I wish someone would…” but then you’ll dismiss is immediately. Stop dismissing it and realize when you say it that you are someone and you can do it. There’s no reason that YOU can’t be the someone to create what YOU want. When you see the need, take a note of it for later.

  • Write it down.
  • Take a note on your phone.
  • Somehow just make sure you are able to retain it for later.

I look for holes.

Are there products or services yo use that are missing features? Is there an easier way to do things but that way hasn’t actually been created yet? Why not create it yourself?

The other day I was thinking about an aspect of coding and programming education and realized there’s a huge hole in the space. I thought to myself, this thing (No, I’m not giving you my idea. ;-) ) has a lot of potential but it’s inconvenient and can only be done in person. That’s stupid. After I realized it was currently being done in a stupid way, I started asking myself how it could be done in a more convenient way. I asked questions like:

  • What would make it more convenient?
  • What features are needed?
  • Would people pay for it?

And after I realized what features would be required for a basic, MVP version, I considered many other factors and decided that I was going to do it for the Front End Capstone project in my coding education at Bloc. This isn’t a normal business because it’ll start out as a school project. Profitability isn’t my primary concern. I still have a year of school left after I finish the project.

I admit that I’m not going the preferred route of trial by perspective clients because I want to do this as a project. If no one buys into it, that’s fine. I want to do this project because I see the need and I want the experience of building it. If this wasn’t going to be a school project, I’d DEFINITELY be doing my due diligence to be sure it’s a solid business idea.

I ask questions.

People who say “I wish” can often give you a lot of insight into what they want. If you hear someone say “I wish”, that’s your opportunity to ask questions like:

  • How would you use that?
  • What features would it need?
  • Who else would use it?
  • How often do you have the problem that makes you want this item?

But if the idea was yours and there’s no obvious person to ask, ask people that could be potential clients/customers what they think. If you have an idea for an iPhone app, look for people who might be your target demographic then ask them moderately specific questions. Ask things like:

  • Would you find X feature of your app useful?
  • Would you be willing to pay for it?
  • How much would you be willing to pay for it?
  • How often would you use it?

When they tell you what they want, take notes. See what lines up with what other people say. The more people agree, the easier it’ll be to solidify your Minimum Viable Product. And that’s what you’re looking for, a solid MVP with a user base that’s willing to pay for your service. Once you have that, it’s time to start looking at how to build this business.

If you get answers that it’s not something people are interested in, that may be a sign that it’s not the right business to get into. Maybe the timing just isn’t right or maybe people don’t know they need it yet. Only you can decide what the case it there. Always remember, you’re not married to the idea. If the idea isn’t profitable or popular, you have to be ready to walk away from it. Either walk away or think about how you can make it into something that people are willing to pay for.

I’m not afraid to walk away.

Like I said, I have just about one new business idea every day. Not all of the are good ideas. I think about them and discard 80-90% of them and focus on the better ones.

I refuse to be married to a bad idea.

  • If it’s not profitable, I walk away.
  • If it’s not popular, I walk away.
  • If it’s too expensive to start, I walk away.
  • If it’s not something I’m proud of, I walk away.
  • If it’s not something I’m willing to work on, I walk away.

Be prepared to walk away from your ideas. Be prepared to discover that someone else has already done it. Be prepared to put in long hours. Be prepared for people to not believe in you.

Make it happen.

Me? I’m going to school again because most of my ideas are for web or smartphone apps. I could be looking for investors but then I’d have to hire a development team and I’d personally prefer to start out as lean as possible. So I’m going to code it myself.

I’m taking steps to build my next business. What about you?

Do you have ideas?

Do you want to own a business?

What will it take for you to make your dreams a reality?

It’s time to make a decision. Are you going to make it happen or are you goint to sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to come up with your idea?

Here’s a bit of Motivation for you.

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