The starting point of every successful startup is the IDEA.
When you come up with the right ideas and execute aggressively, your potential of building multi-billion dollar unicorn startups like Uber, Google or Facebook is almost guaranteed. But, do you have to create an original idea?
There is a myth that your startup idea must be brand new. I don’t think it matters if the idea already exists. In fact, I think that every startup ideas already exists somewhere else in one form or the other. What really matters is if your unique implementation of the idea will be useful to anyone.
For example, Google was not the first search engine and Facebook came after MySpace and Hi5 but overtook them to become the biggest social networking site with over 1.5 billion users today. So, how do you get inspiration for the next ideas you want to launch? Let me answer that by sharing 7 places you can get startup ideas.
7 Incredible Goldmines Of Startup Ideas
Today there are several startups directory sites where people list their startups with the goal to get exposure for their brand and for link building. Crunchbase is currently one of the best directory to find ideas. Another one is StartupLister that you can read through.
You can also check some directories focused on VCs like AngeList, which has over 75,000 business names on it, and VC4Africa, which is an African focused funders and founders’ directory.
Internet forums offer invaluable information about startup ideas. One of them is Quora, which is a question-and-answer website. By simply checking Quora profiles of most of the experts you will see what startups they are involved with. Some of the threads that discussed startups ideas include this and this. Another forum is REDDIT, also known as the newspaper of the internet. You can spot several ideas or inspirations for your next project by reading the discussions. You can also check this curated list.
Technology blogs that are focused on startups like TechCrunch, Mashable (US and the West), YourStory, INC42 (India) are good places to read reviews and press coverage of established and upcoming startups.
For example, TechPoint.NG’s Founders’ Table series is focused on Startup founders and one of such founders has raised money with the exposure received on the site.
Crowdfunding sites are actually goldmine of ideas. You can see active listings of hot ideas that are getting funded. Go, take a look at projects that get funded on those platforms.
YouTube and Ted Talks are some of the largest repositories of videos you can check. On Ted Talks, there is a category for startups where you can learn a lot from founders about their business and the problems they are trying to solve. While YouTube does not essentially aggregate startup ideas, you can use YouTube to search for product demos and interview of funders and founders.
Curated Idea Sources
If interested in more, you can always ask Google anything.
5 things to do after you figured out your idea
If you followed the steps above, you are expected to have gotten enough ideas or inspirations for your next startup. However, it is important to know that ideas alone are not enough to build successful startups; it is just half of the equation.
So, if you hate your 9 to 5 job because it is boring or exerting, the hard truth is that founding a startup is not easy either. The hard truth is that 75% of all startups fail due to one reason or another including funding. Imagine, all of the once-promising startups mentioned here are all dead.
The odds are clearly against you, so winning is not going to be easy. Hence, one of the hardest decisions for founders is to figure out how to beat the odds.
Let me share 5 helpful steps to help you beat the odds and win.
- You need to constantly achieve product/market fit and iterate the product with market. Here is a case study of a startup that has survived 4 years in the trenches.
- Find out the market advantages of your competitors and leverage that information to outcompete them. You can also literally steal your competitions’ customers legally.
- Have a Plan to launch – Most ideas have failed, thanks to poor launch strategy. You want to avoid that by using this guideline so that you don’t launch to crickets.
- Design metrics that show you are making progress; not vanity metrics. This can mean revenue numbers, customer acquisition and retention figures etc. This is what you show to investors in your pitchdeck. You can follow Tomi Davies's recommendation in his POEM framework to create pitchdeck that satisfy investors.
- Growth hacking is the new VP of marketing. Learn tactics to leapfrog growth by doing MBA in growth hacking or simply following this post on growth hacking.
An original version of this post is published as “How and where to get the next billion dollar startup idea” on SpokenTwice.com