I'm starting a company this year, but I need a business idea. Preferably in the enterprise software space.

Up until now I have thought about ideas in the following ways: -what pain points do I experience? What are the potential solutions? -what software is horrible to use? How can I improve it? -what is an old industry that needs disrupting or a market that most people aren't thinking about? -what would be a 'cool' idea or product? Something I would love to use? -what am I most passionate about in life? ...the list goes on and on. Bottom line, I keep searching and searching, but I can't find the right idea that I would feel excited about working on for the next 5 years. A lot of people say "it's not the idea, it's the execution". I agree 100%, however I'm afraid if I pick the wrong idea my efforts will yield a much smaller result. Whereas, if I focused on a good idea the whole process of driving success would be easier. Sometimes I wish God would just slap me in the face with a good idea to work on. I know once I get started on an idea that I am passionate about I'll make sure wholeheartedly that the business is successful. However, getting off the ground just seems like an eternity. Any suggestions on how I should be thinking about the idea generation process? Or better yet, do you have any ideas that you would like to work on, but don't have time and you think I should work on? Your help / advice is greatly appreciated.


I wrote an answer to a similar question today which you can find here:

The one flaw to your current process is this premise: "Whereas, if I focused on a good idea the whole process of driving success would be easier." This - from my experience - is simply not the case. I'm working on what I believe to be the best idea I've ever had and it has been absolutely the most challenging time I've ever had in a career full of product challenges. So a "good idea" does not make the process any easier.

As I privately advised the person who asked the other similar question: I'd encourage you to define all your own pain points in your life and filter by most pain and also least addressed by existing solutions. Building what you know and what you're excited about building is the best that any of us can hope for. There's no path to greatness that isn't full of challenges ahead.

Happy to do a call to discuss further.

Answered 10 years ago

You are not ready to start yet. Execution is scary. Sometimes people stall and make excuses like-not right idea or partners or no money etc. truth is when the passion strikes nothing will stop you. You need that drive to succeed. Be honest with yourself. Also be open and patient and when the time is right you will do it. You seem very passionate and motivated so I think you will know when you know. Until then enjoy whatever job until you are ready for the leap. Start with a small problem you personally want to solve for yourself. See if that solution has a market while you work on the cheapest and leanest prototype. Good Luck.

Answered 10 years ago

Having been in a similar situation about 6 months ago I am sorry to tell you that; the magical idea will never show up one day.

Have you ever worked in the enterprise? If so, what would YOU love to see changed?

If you come up with any idea you can run it against this checklist:

1) Does it replace something that people use today? If Yes, you need to look at every integration point of this service and provide a seamless transition (Not easy)
2) Try to cater to fixing a single problem that is cross-cutting across departments (if only sales or HR can use it, you are in the vertical domain knowledge business. That is hard to establish yourself in. Instead stick with a wide problem -- Look at WuFoo for example)
3) Make sure whatever you provide has immediate, measurable value proposition. E.g; Create forms without relying on your IT team, track time 4x faster than using Excel etc.

If you want to bounce your ideas off of me, I would be happy to help.

Answered 10 years ago


My name is Mijael Feldman, im Co founder of BOMBAcamp, a lean startup accelerator for early stage startups.

First of all, to get the right idea you should experiment a lot with your ideas until you get a signal from the market (yes the market and not god).

Think about what problem for what little customer segment (segment by behaviour and common pain) and start talking with them to see if your assumption about what is their real problem. Do it fast! If you ser that there is no problem worth to be solved, see why and change problem to be solved or customer segment.

You are going to waste your time if you choose an idea and start building based on assumptions. If you start talking with your potential customers there is less probabilities you are going to waste your time.

If you want to talk deeper about how and where to start, lets get a call!

Stay awesome!

Answered 10 years ago

Start with asking yourself why you want to get into business. Are you wanting to create a job? Meaning, are you wanting to be self-employed working more than full time to take home a paycheck of less than what you might be used to earning? That would be the typical plight of what Michael Gerber coined the Technician entrepreneur.

Or, are you looking to build a self-sustaining, lifestyle empowering enterprise that builds equity and can survive beyon your presence? I gather this might be the case for you.

Next, determine in which areas you have expertise. This might be the most natural path to building an empire. Passion has more to do with the technician developing a business where they will be the owner operator.

I once purchased a struggling hair and nail salon with 5 chairs, 3 nail stations, a massage room and tanning bed. I was not the least bit passionate about it. In this I was also not an expert and had no experience in the industry. One year later I more than doubled my investment when I sold it. Which leads to the next question, do you want to start from ground up? Maybe you should consider buying a business or a franchise?

These are foundational questions that should be asked even before your insightful questions above. When you answer the why and the what of getting into business, sometimes the path becomes more clear.

Finally, your offer to invest the time in someone else's dream? As I always say to my surrounding team, we're never at a shortage for great ideas. If you would like to brainstorm ideas, give me a call - the first one is free with the link below.

Best regards,

Kevin McCarthy

P.s. If in fact all roads still lead you to the enterprise software space, I have developed and sold one saas business. I've developed two others and still hold shares in one of them.

Answered 10 years ago

I have a painful problem that is possibly the most widespread problem that many of us face on a daily basis and is ripe for a killer solution. I have an idea that I would like to be put through the lean methodology. Im looking for a cofounder to do this and I could provide some seed funding. Send me some background on yourself if your interested to know more. That goes for any budding developer who is looking to startup. PS I am busy on another successful startup so my time input would limited.

Answered 10 years ago

I have the opposite problem -- a thousand and one ideas I'd love to get my hands on ... but only 2 hands. However, what I'm personally passionate about and/or qualified to work on won't necessarily be what you'd succeed at and enjoy.

What shortcuts have you already invented for yourself? I mean things that you already do instinctively to shorten a process but which nobody else knows about.

What communities, business fields, or hobby groups are you already a part of? Are they unified by destination sites, dominant brands, common subscriptions, and tools that they all use? Or are they scattered? Do they go to a particular source of information already, or do they ask to each other for recommendations? If the latter, then there may be an opportunity to unify information and services under a single umbrella.

Perhaps this sounds more like social media than software dev. But before building new enterprise software, the user base should be clearly identifiable -- even familiar.

2 cents for what that's worth. Good luck!

Answered 10 years ago

Create a AutoCAD plugin that will allow users to verbally control the software and have it draw what they are saying. Make it work cross platform for SolidWorks, ProE and more major brands. The rest is up to you.

Answered 9 years ago

Your question is quite common and this is something first-time entrepreneurs often struggle with. I would suggest you divide your question into two parts:
- First focus on something you are passionate enough about so that you can really commit and dedicate enough time on the idea. I find that execution is often related to well the idea you are working on is aligned with your passions
- Secondly, try to be systematic about the ideation process. You have already listed a few things in your question, but you need to enrich it with more insights, not only on the pain points but also on trends and evolving consumer behaviors. There are then various tools you can use to take you through ideation.
To sum up, set a strategic focus, and align it with your passions, get as much insights you can on the focus area, generate ideas, refine and develop paper concepts. Go into validation and iterate from there. I hope this helps.

Answered 7 years ago

WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan has said "a healthy young person might have to wait for coronavirus vaccine until 2022." "Most people agree, it's starting with health care workers, and front-line workers and then the elderly, and so on," Swaminathan added. "You need to vaccinate at least 70% of people to really break transmission," she further stated.
So, the year is 2022, and maybe not 2021 as most of us hoped and many predicted. Keeping this fact in mind, here are few business ideas for a pandemic-stricken world.
1. EMPLOYEE SHARING: With hotels, restaurants, airlines, and other mostly non-essential businesses around the world on lockdown due to the pandemic, unemployment has skyrocketed quickly. In the US alone, there is an all-time high of over 3.28 million people enrolled for unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, delivery companies, hospitals, grocers, and eCommerce are struggling to meet the increased demand with the human resources available to them. The travel ban is taking its toll too, as businesses in stronger European economies like Germany and France traditionally draw on the seasonal workforce from neighbouring countries. It is only natural that the market is responding with what Wall Street Journal’s Ruth Bender and Matthew Dalton call “the fastest reallocation of labour since World War II.” The staff from the non-essential sector is moving to the businesses that remain in operation, strained by the lockdowns. In Germany, McDonald’s is lending its employees to two major grocery chains in need of a bigger workforce, Aldi Nord, and Aldi Süd. The lockdown is turning the employee-sharing model into a business trend. If it proves cost-efficient, it will become standard management practice. Some large corporations might already have implemented a worker loan system supported by software. But there are numerous small and midsize businesses that don’t have this privilege.
2. BARTER TOOLS: The ancient practice of bartering might make a major comeback in 2020. Lucky are the brick-and-mortar businesses that have switched to the delivery-based online commerce model in response to the lockdown. But there are also less lucky businesses whose goods are stocked in the stores and warehouses while regular expenses keep accumulating. Meanwhile, all businesses are experiencing hampered cash flow as consumption drops due to rising unemployment. Heavy Restaurant Group based in Seattle had to close 10 of its restaurants, with some of the locations operating as pick-up-and-delivery to survive. The company recently purchased 56 cases of Malbec for barter credits worth $15,000. The same applies to consumers: we have all seen the shortages created by people who hoarded toilet paper and non-perishable foods. Here is one example of what this has led to:
1. Richard Crone, CEO of payments expert Crone Consulting LLC, said in an interview to Bloomberg that barter of household goods and food, worth $4 million in 2019, could reach $10 million in the US by the end of this year.
2. The real proof is in the numbers. The International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA) reported an increase in new memberships across their 100 barter exchanges by 20–35% in March. President and CEO of IRTA, Ron Whitney, believes that these challenging times represent an opportunity for their sector.
3. Roger J. Hamilton, an expert in entrepreneurship, adds more fuel to the fire by predicting a move into an era of microeconomies, where communities will trade among themselves using micro currencies and barter.
4. Some human rights groups have also expressed a readiness to embrace this old-new model. Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, wants to help organize barter trade among neighbours to weather what she described as an “econo-virus.”
3. INDOOR CLEANING MONITOR: The shock and fear in society will remain long after the pandemic ends. This could suggest business ideas for post-pandemic commercial activities. The award-winning chef and talk show host Robert Irvine said in an interview with Fox News that the biggest problem restaurants are going to face will be customer confidence. The South Florida Sun Sentinel spoke with local hospitality experts, whose words echoed Irvine’s. The respondents expect the importance of personal hygiene and sanitation to skyrocket, which will require catering business models to evolve. Of course, people are already sick of self-isolation and desperate to flood their favourite locales once the pandemic is over, but restaurant owners take it with a grain of salt. If that is not enough, governments can legitimately impose stricter measures on businesses that operate on substantial foot traffic. What might help is introducing a system of cleaning tracking apps that would connect managers, cleaners, and clients in a meaningful, transparent way.
4. OUTBREAK ZONE DETECTOR: Seasonal flu has been a nuisance long before COVID-19. According to WHO, seasonal influenza can spread to up to 20% of the population. The organization refers to a recent study that shows that respiratory diseases caused by such infections kill up to 650,000 people across the world annually. This 2018 study estimates the average annual burden to the US economy imposed by influenza as $11.2 billion (from $6.3 to $25.3 billion), where direct medical costs range from $1.5 to $11.7 billion and indirect costs vary from $4.8 to $13.8 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye-opener on the devastation that infectious diseases can cause, and this is likely to nudge authorities to assign a higher priority to fighting infectious diseases. One efficient way to reduce the consequences of flu outbreaks is by nipping the spread of infections in the bud through localization. An outbreak always begins in one zone, and if we could identify these on time across the world, a state, or even a city, we could inform the citizens and encourage them to self-isolate and stop the spread. Based on information from people’s social media posts, local hospital traffic data and drugstore purchase stats, you could create an app that shows outbreak hot zones on the map. Users will be warned that these places are not safe to go to. As a result, fewer people will get ill and die, which will reduce the negative impact on the economy. Municipal authorities love to be proud of their public health figures and economic numbers, so you can expect them to be willing to collaborate at least to some degree.
5. GIFT VOUCHERS: Gift vouchers have been around for a while. Now their use is likely to skyrocket, as hospitality and offline entertainment are on hold. Restaurants, hotels, and similar businesses are now encouraging their loyal clientele to buy gift vouchers that can be cashed in when the industry is back on its feet. This helps them maintain cash flow today and ensure that they will have guests tomorrow. In 2018, a survey on gift cards showed that 59% of people typically spent more than the card’s value, which is good news for the companies hoping that vouchers will help them recover once the lockdown is over. And people are buying gift cards now specifically to support their favourite local businesses. Some entrepreneurs are already harnessing this trend: look at initiatives like Seattle-based Intentionalist and Pay Forward Project and Save My Local in the UK. You can also see media giants keeping up with the trend as Instagram and USA Today enable gift card purchasing on their platforms. If you are unsure whether your idea of an innovative digital platform for gift vouchers is viable, it is time to give it a try. With Rubyroid Labs, you can quickly build an MVP and test the waters on the market.
6. AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY: Self-isolation can give the long-awaited boost to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), as people are increasingly seeking experiences that take them away from the space limited by their four walls. Consumer readiness to spend money on VR and AR entertainment may be the driving force that will take the technology to a whole new level.

ABI Research, a global tech market advisory company, expects that the demand for telepresence and immersive content will result in 16 million shipments of AR and VR head-mounted displays (HMD) in 2021, “maintaining the trajectory of 3.5 million consumer AR shipments in 2024.” Content provider PYMNTS predicts that VR will generate $1.8 billion via retail and marketing through 2022. Furthermore, 72% of Millennials and Gen Z consumers have stated that they are willing to give visual search options a shot. The more people get used to VR and AR entertainment through self-isolation, the higher are the chances for it to become one of the most prominent post-lockdown start-up trends. If you have a business idea drawing on this technology, you should start working on it now, so you are ready when every household has an HMD integrated into its daily routine.
7. CONSUMER SERVICES ON WHEELS: In some places, people can move a certain distance during the lockdown. Various businesses are now willing to come to your home to provide their service; if you still want to get your hair cut by a professional, there are now mobile hairdresser vans servicing some neighbourhoods. Mobile beauty salons and hairdressers are not necessarily a new idea, but before COVID-19, people preferred going to the premises: they went because they enjoyed the social aspect, the chat and the complimentary cup of coffee, in addition to the service. Today, haircuts are more of a no-BS consumer service — and a way for businesses to stay afloat. Rony Yagudaev, the owner of Uptown Barbershop in Phoenix, plans to switch to a house-call operation, whereby his team will come to a client and set up in their backyard. Meanwhile in the UK, Stephen Richardson went mobile over two months ago after leaving his job at a traditional local barbershop due to the dramatic business slowdown. Brick-and-mortar salons and shops will not become busy again until the social distancing order is lifted, and when this will happen, nobody knows for sure. This means that consumer services on wheels are here to stay, which propels the need for apps that can help businesses and clients connect, schedule appointments, keep in touch and more. It is interesting to note that the idea of “Uber for haircuts” has circulated for years now. The time has come to accelerate the implementation of such app ideas.

Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

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