The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself. The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing.
THINGS PEOPLE ASK YOU FOR HELP WITH
It’s hard to start a company when you have no relevant skills. If you are interested in starting a consulting or freelancing job, one of the simplest things you can do to come up with ideas is to think about what your friends and colleagues frequently ask you for help with. Any skill can usually be turned into a consulting business and eventually a product.
THINGS THAT USUALLY ANNOY PEOPLE
Go up to a few of your family, friends, and acquaintances and ask them what annoys them the most about their day-to-day lives. There will be a lot of noise to sift through but you might start to hear things that you can build a business around. Maybe all of your friends want a quicker way to shop online, or a way to find delicious new coffees; whatever it is, you could likely build a business around it, and you’ll already have a few interested customers.
THINGS THAT YOU HAVE A PARTIAL SOLUTION FOR
There is a big chance that there’s something in your life you’ve cobbled together a partial-solution for. Something to save you a bunch of time that a full solution for doesn’t exist. Whatever the solution is, odds are good that other people are doing something similar or have thought about it, and if you can make a product that does it for them it will sell very well.
THINGS THAT PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITIES YOU ARE A MEMBER OF ARE LOOKING FOR
You are probably a member of a number of communities, both online and in real life. These could be forums, clubs, your job, or even sub-communities on internet sites. The benefit of having a community is that you already understand their wants and needs, and you can listen to see what they want to buy. You could go to a MeetUp group and try suggesting a few business ideas to see which one sparks the most interest, or post some ideas in a relevant sub-forum to gauge people’s reactions.
THINGS THAT MAKE PEOPLE MAD
What are the things that make people mad? You can find similar things simply by going to Google/Facebook/Twitter and searching for the things people hate or something similar. People love to complain on the Internet so you’ll be presented with a lot of startup ideas. Take whatever you find and create a solution for it. Create something that will change people’s opinion on a particular hate and they will love you for it.