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I often hear people expressing frustration at finding “business ideas”, but you can’t (and shouldn’t) start with “business ideas”. You have to go through a full loop of the OODA process to create a successful business.

Most people are starting with solutions, and not with problems. This sets them up for tons of severe problems like customers not needing their product, difficult sales inertia, customer apathy, hard to scale business, etc.

If your goal is to build a successful business then don’t start with solutions, start by observing problems as fully as possible. This will give you the platform to build solutions on. Far too many people start by asking what they can provide, rather than what the market needs and then providing for something that’s already a pain point.

Just because you have the skills and equipment to provide lawn care, doesn’t mean you should start a lawn care business. It probably means you need to go door to door and ask what the number 1 thing that frustrates them about their current lawn care provider is. Maybe the thing they hate the most isn’t lawn care, but cleaning up after the lawn care leaving clippings around etc which causes them more work than it’s worth. So then you can offer a service to them where you promise to leave everything looking better than when you got there, or it’s free.

That’s a service they might actually purchase, even though your actual service may not have changed at all, the business idea of “perfect or free” was a result of observing the current and past experiences so you could provide something valuable to them. If you had just offered a standard service they likely would have turned you down because they wouldn’t have seen it as valuable.

If you focus on observing things that others express as frustrating, annoying, difficult, or painful, and then figure out the price they would pay to remove that pain, and then figure out if you can provide that utility and still create a profit margin, you have a business idea.

A good way to develop this habit is to write down 3 problems every single day. I recommend making an Evernote account, making a notebook called “Problems”, and a new Note for each problem you observe (at least 3 per day). And then you can sit down DAYS LATER (not immediately) and consider what solutions you could provide (aka Orienting from OODA) and which one might be the most valuable. But you should necessarily remove the solving from the observing.

I find that doing this process usually generates roughly ~100 real business ideas a month (at ~3 problems recorded per day). Which breaks down into:
~10% = 5 figure businesses
~3% = 6 figure businesses
~1% = 7 figure businesses

This is usually because people aren’t actually that willing to pay to fix a lot of problems. So it’s not that you’re wrong regarding the reality of the problem, but it’s simply that people don’t find it valuable enough. Sadly most people start a business and spend their life savings before they realize that simple fact. And as you progress and practice this, your ratios will usually shift into noticing deeper and more valuable problems.

Ultimately this should lead to you never really having a lack of “business ideas”, as you’re always observing enough problems that some of them are bound to be valuable enough just by Law of Averages.

“Ask not what the customer can do for you, ask what you can do for the customer*” 

*(that they’ll find valuable enough to reward you for)