How to come up with a startup idea
Column by Kashyap Pandya, Founder & Director of Syncoro Ventures Pvt. Ltd.
Everything begins with an idea. Whether you are in the field of art, films, politics or business, an idea is where it all starts. Ideas change the world. The power of a new idea is the driving force that transforms the way we live and think. Well then, if it all begins with an idea, where in the world do ideas come from?
Inspiration for ideas can be found anywhere. Some ideas seem so obvious you wonder why you did not think of them before. Others are so ground-breaking you wonder how anybody could have thought of them at all. So, how did everybody else get inspiration to strike?
Here are a few triggers to come up with a startup idea:
- Solve a problem – We face different challenges or problems on a daily basis. And if you dig deeper, you may find many ways to come up with the right solution. There is your business idea right there. For example, Elderly people often find it difficult to step out of their homes for healthcare. But now they have geriatric home healthcare service providers like Portea.
- Find a niche – While big players are fighting for the big pie of a big market, there are many opportunities that are lucrative enough but simply ignored by the giants. Just take a look at what some of the big players in an industry are missing and explore if you can fill the gaps. For example, while Flipkart and Amazon have captured the online e-commerce market, becoming the giants of that industry, portals like Bluestone and Caratlane created a niche for themselves by emerging as online jewellery stores.
- Cheaper is better – There are always cheaper solutions to existing problems. Many companies use this penetration strategy effectively to enter the market and position themselves as a low-cost player to capture the market share. For example, Balaji Wafers offers a pack of potato wafers at just INR 5, much less compared to the category leader, Lays. In a price-sensitive country like India, the low-cost product can be a winning entry strategy.
- What customers want – You have to keep track of changing customer needs by gathering customers’ insights on a regular basis. Just find out what their needs are and what motivates them to buy a particular product or service. If you are exploring launching fitness products, then hang out at gyms, parks and other places where you can talk to fitness-conscious customers and ask them what they wish they could find in the marketplace.
- Mix and match– What if two products could be brought together for the first time to create a new one? You can simply combine or merge two products or just a few features of different products to come up with a completely new product or service with a unique value proposition. Many breakthroughs in the history of mankind are based on combining information from different and unrelated domains. You may explore many “what if” scenarios to come up with the idea that can solve the problem you are trying to solve.
- Ask yourself, “What’s next?”– Innovative ideas are often ahead of their time. You may study the latest trends and upcoming technologies to find out how you can leverage that to come up with a truly revolutionary idea and launch it at the right time. You should be curious enough to know more & more and should be bold enough to ask, “what’s next?”
You must remember that the best way to have a great idea is to have lots of ideas. And do not overlook the tried and tested ideas. You can take any idea and customise it to the times and your marketplace to come up with a much-better version of an existing idea. In fact, customising a concept is not a choice; it is a necessity if you want your business to be successful. As Victor Hugo said, “There is nothing in the world as powerful as an idea whose time has come.” So, what’s your idea, sirji?