This is post is the first in a series on ideas and finding them. I have a lot of ideas for businesses, from automation stuff to coffee shops. This does have a habit of leading into distracted afternoons but that's where the fun is.
In the end we are all different. We are all taking different journeys and paths so we have different outlooks or ways of looking at things. You need to find your own way and you will spot the opportunities.
I have a small notebook, and in that I keep the idea. It helps me by writing it down and taking it out of my head. It helps to work through the idea, I'll never do most of them but I've found it becomes an exercise for my mental health. Thinking through different ideas and thoughts.
It's not just writing a line or a description. I think about things like what is the niche I would go after, who would pay for something like this. How would I position this product.
I'm a big believer in solving your own problems or problems in the industry you are in. Having that understanding allows you to really build solutions that can help. The contacts in the industry can help get you your first customers.
But asking the right questions is important.
- Are you spending hours doing something manually that you could build a solution around?
- Have you taken 5 or 6 services using no code and put them together to make something, could you turn that into a product instead and do it with less clicks?
- Can you build something that can be easier for others with less technical skills to use?
- Are people in your industry missing out on some automation and can you improve their businesses?
- Can you provide value with it?
- Can you save people time and let them focus on other parts of their business?
I do think that if you can save a business an hour of some ones time then they will likely pay and if one business will you can bet a lot of others will to.
Or it could be as simple as I want a web site so I can do X. If it's something you want for yourself there is a chance others do too. The question will they pay for it and will you enjoy working on it and really only you can answer that one.
Can you make into a Business?
For some this isn't an important question and if your in that group go for it. But for most of us the whole mission behind building things is to make money so we can put food on the table and have a roof.
There is a school of thought out there that if you build a landing page first with a signup you will be able to build a mailing list of potential users but the dirty truth with that is. It's only true for those with a cult following. Those that could create an empty piece of paper and get more signups in 24 hours than we will likely get in 24 months.
The other side of that coin is building it in secret which I don't think works well either.
The balance is important, I wrote a post last week about prototyping ideas and building MVP's you can read that here in Building Web Applications, a tale of Idea to Prototype to MVP
Having a prototype or MVP makes it really easy to talk to people and work out if you have an idea that could work that's why prototypes are so important. Your not just someone with an idea, you can show what you have got. And if it's something you need or want then even better because your able to show the benefits right away.
I think my advice around this is pretty simple, find ideas that you need or can see a benefit to your industry or someone around you and build out a prototype.
From that start talking and be open and honest about what you are doing.
Once you have a prototype it's time to start hunting for a market. Start looking for niches. The benefit of solving your own problems gives you an edge here plus with the prototype you can show it in action. So having a landing page with a signup gives you an opportunity to make a good first impression.