How to Come Up With Innovative Business Ideas
Whether you’re thinking of starting up your own business or trying to come up with a new idea for a current project or campaign, this guide will provide you with top tips and advice from successful business owners on how to come up with innovative business ideas.
Think to yourself; what are you passionate about?
Have a think about the things you’re passionate about, and start there. If you invest time, effort and money into an idea you don’t care about, this will be sure to be reflected in the outcome of your venture. So make sure it’s something you think you’ll enjoy working on. This will help keep you motivated when things get tough, and is bound to increase your chances of success.
This can sometimes be a really difficult process, especially if it seems that the topics and fields you’re interested in are already rather saturated. This is a good time to take a step back and explore new avenues you might have never considered to find new, interesting things you enjoy.
“I came up with the idea for my business due to my friends needing help with their relationships and yoga is always used for stress and not necessarily for relationships. I had a lot of great responses from this so thought lets do this. I’m now a relationship coach through yoga.” – Gemma Nice, founder of EasYoga.
Money Saving Central
“I have a passion for helping people, knowledge of saving money due to such a large family and a background in web design. All this coupled together is why Money Saving Central was founded.
I was always helping people out with my extensive knowledge of money saving, and I have always been a keen deal finder, so I decided to create a hub for money savers to cut costs, find deals and voucher codes and even make money online. I get to do something I absolutely love, help people and get paid.” – Claire, founder of Moneysavingcentral.co.uk
“I knew I wanted to run a niche online retail site and I wanted it to be centred around something that there’s demand for, that’s quite niche and that’s also a product I believed in. Then I heard one day about a proposed ban on single use plastic straws and it triggered an idea. We built a shop that sells single use plastic alternatives – it’s early days yet but I’m genuinely passionate about it!” Jane Walkinshaw, founder of Bahari.
Brainstorm (if it works for you)
It’s not for everyone – but brainstorming can be a fantastic way to generate new and innovative ideas. Getting into a creative headspace, particularly with others, can open the doors to a wide range of possibilities you likely wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Combining ideas and getting new perspectives from others can be so beneficial and can really expand your creativity and help you to come up with ideas you could never have got to on your own.
Of course, this approach doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s definitely worth a go. Even if it’s not all standing round a whiteboard and throwing ideas out there. You could create a virtual collaborative mind map everyone can contribute to, or even simply chat to people you know about your idea and ask them what they think.
Last year when founder, Heeral Pattini was desperate to travel, she was planning a trip of her own but became hesitant as she didn’t have the confidence to take the leap alone. After talking to other women who had similar hesitations, the idea for Amica was born.
Ask yourself ‘Will it solve a problem?’
Some of the greatest ideas in history have been solutions to problems. Try to identify potential problems that already exist in your field of interest. This will in turn enable you to spot gaps in the market and become more aware of potential solutions to help fill these gaps. Whether it’s a product, a service or campaign, there has to be a demand.
To do this, try to immerse yourself in the industry you’re interested in. Dig deep into online forums, take a look at what’s already available and what others are doing, and then think about what’s missing. There’s your in.
Here are some examples of successful businesses who’ve used this approach to generating their innovative business ideas:
The Urban Botanist
“I was staying with some family in Vancouver back in 2013 after going through a divorce with my ex-husband. My family members had a stunning terrarium complete with air plants and succulents… I had never seen one before in the UK… we spent the next 5 days researching terrariums and all the low maintenance plant options! That is how The Urban Botanist was born.” – The Urban Botanist founder, Lucy Serafi.
Fan Finders – Your Baby Club
In 2012, having been on the receiving end of incessant phone calls, emails and junk mail after becoming a dad Alec Dobbie realised parents’ data was being misused and set out to change things. That’s when he decided to launch Your Baby Club UK on the FanFinders data platform with one simple objective: permission based marketing to parents through 1st party consent and consumer choice with zero spam.
Since the launch, they’ve gained over 2.5 million members and have over 80% of the UK baby market as members. They’ve also launched Your Baby Club US (covering 33%+ of the market within 12 months).
We Are Fetching
About two years ago there was a snow day at my son’s school, and a note went out instructing parents to collect their children by 12pm. Many parents were stuck at work, those who could get away were hindered by snow-affected transport. One by one, parents who lived or worked within walking distance of the school came forward on the class WhatsApp offering to pick up a few extra children to ensure that all of them were collected.
It was wonderful. The sense of community and desire to help was clear. Why couldn’t we do this every day?That’s when I decided to launch We Are Fetching, the new way to manage your informal childcare.” – Rachel, Wearefetching.com
Will it make money?
It’s all well and good having a fantastic idea in mind that you’ll enjoy carrying out and will provide a unique solution to a problem. But if it’s not financially viable or there’s not enough demand then it may be time to think about other options. What’s more, you need to make sure you’ve taken all the unexpected costs that can be involved in setting up your own business.
This can be a really difficult – yet vital – part of the decision making process, particularly if you’ve become emotionally invested in the idea. As the French poet Victor Hugo once said, “One cannot resist an idea whose time has come”. Taking a step back at this point during the process and resisting the urge to continue with an idea that won’t work is not easy, but your future self will thank you for it.
“Prior to the UK lockdown in April I was working as a mortgage advisor for a large bank. I had been in this role for several years and gained valuable experience and insight into the industry. During the first 2 weeks of lockdown myself and my team were made redundant by the bank. This was a devastating blow for me as I had no income coming in and no job prospects as the UK was in lockdown.
I decided to put my time to use and after following various tutorials I created a website which sells mortgage advisor courses. I created the site and the courses myself and it took me approximately 3 weeks to get everything up and running. I wasn’t expecting much from the site as I started this project just to learn new skills.
In May my story was featured on the BBC and since then my website has been growing from strength to strength. Now I’m in a position where the website is covering my previous salary and I’m working on the website full-time. I think many people will be in a similar position to where I was back in April with the current climate. I was very fortunate that the website has taken off but I believe that anyone can do this. Everyone has a skill or passion that they can teach which can create an income.” – Jay, founder of uAcademy.
Whether you’re struggling to stay motivated, feel like you’re spending too much time procrastinating or struggling to decide what type of business to set up. There are so many useful resources out there for people who are thinking about starting up their own business venture.
It’s important to bear in mind that coming up with new ideas and starting up your own business can be an exhausting process. That’s why it’s so important to look after yourself and make sure you’re getting the support you need during this time to help prevent burnout.
We hope this guide has been useful in helping you to come up with new, exciting, innovative ideas and we wish you the best of luck in any future business venture you decide to pursue.
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