The Startup Tribe – Lay The Foundations

Theme #3 – Idea Generation

How can I generate good business ideas?

Theme Objectives

In this phase of your Startup Journey you will:


  • Learn new techniques for generating viable ideas.

  • Explore ways of building on top of or combining existing business ideas.

  • Build on your past experiences and future ingredients to generate ideas that are viable for you.

  • Experiment with creating multiple iterations of the same idea.

Don’t put too much emphasis on the idea. The idea matters, but the execution matters much more. Identify a problem you genuinely care about and you’ll find you can develop multiple ideas for how you could solve it. What’s more, the execution of your original idea will likely change dozens of times as you build.


Ask a question about Idea Generation in the Tribe Forum
Return to The Startup Tribe curriculum overview

Key Principles

<h1>What matters to you?</h1> <h1>What matters to you?</h1>
Effort and success are correlated. So are effort and values. The more you care about something, the more likely you are to work your cotton socks off to make it a success. Getting clear on what matters to you will greatly influence the decisions you make about your entrepreneurial journey… Effort and success are correlated. So are effort and values. The more you care about something, the more likely you are to work your cotton socks off to make it a success. Getting clear on what matters to you will greatly influence the decisions you make about your entrepreneurial journey…
<ul> <ul>
<li>What are your values?</li> <li>What are your values?</li>
<li>What frustrates you about the world?</li> <li>What frustrates you about the world?</li>
<li>What are your priorities in life?</li>

The best way to have good ideas is to have lots of bad ones

Text #1

Focus on making something people want

Great businesses solve problems. Reduce pain, increase joy, that kind of thing.

Make sure you are solving a problem that people really have, rather than a problem that you wish they have.

For example: double-sided chocolate marketplace. People love chocolate… do they need you to help them get it?

Start your business in a sector with a rising tide

What areas of life are booming? Go with trends, not against them. Example of PC Mag in the 80s.

Avoid me-too ideas

Just because the Tinder interface works for dating, doesn’t mean it is going to work for jobs, personal trainers, restaurants, etc, etc. Just because Airbnb works for accommodation, doesn’t mean it is going to work for dogs, boats, motorbikes, cars, etc. Just because food delivery subscription boxes work for some of the big guns, doesn’t mean you’re the right person to build the next competitor.

Keep it simple

If you can’t explain it in a sentence, the chances are you’re not going to be able to build something that people will “get” and repeatedly use either. If your model requires on different parties undertaking different behaviour in order for it to work, beware. Double-sided marketplaces are hard.

Go tried-and-tested

What works?

B2B software businesses work – Especially where the software solves a specific pain-point that you know enough organisations share and where it can either remove steps in a process, replace an entire process or slot into an existing workflow to provide efficiencies.

Community, events and education businesses work – People will always want to gather, they’ll always want to belong and they’ll always want to learn. The questions for you are: Can you build something compelling enough for enough people to want to be a part of? Can you stick at it long enough to create enough momentum to engage people? Can you produce experiences or content that is good enough for people to pay for and spread the word about?

Subscription businesses work – Can you produce a physical product or an information product that is compelling, desirable and useful enough for people to want to pay for it regularly?

Consulting businesses work – Businesses have always paid other businesses for specific areas of expertise. As work continues to move away from traditional forms of employment, more and more firms will engage a mobile workforce of parter organisations and individual contractors to perform specific bits of work for them.

The sooner you can find someone to pay you for something, the better.

Your idea will evolve as you build

You might start with a consulting business, which develops into a information business, which develops into an events business, which develops into a franchise business, which develops into a software business. The central idea might still be the same at the end of this process – i.e. the thing you are trying to change or improve in the world – but you will have gone through many different iterations and implementations as you serve your customers, learn from them, and develop the capacity and resources to improve your offering.

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