How to come up with an idea for a startup business?

Sometimes, I get asked, “How do you come up with an idea?” People are really keen to understand what it’s like to work for themselves, they want to be their own boss but they are not sure about how they should get started. Here are a few things that I have suggested to them.

When I was thinking about what I wanted to do, I consider myself very fortunate because I really love what I do and that is working in marketing and advertising, seeing the intersection of technology with that and also exploring how we can use that to improve the lives of our customers. That is something I am deeply passionate about and I thought about doing a whole range of other businesses but eventually, it came back to that. Now, the process that I went through to get to this point took me approximately eight to ten years. During that time, I kept a notebook on me at all times and I was always writing down different ideas about things that I saw as I was living and working in different countries. For instance, if I was travelling to Japan and I saw something really interesting there like a business or product concept that I had not seen in another market in Asia, Australia or New Zealand, I would think about how I could apply that in another market. That was one way, I just wrote down a bunch of different ideas that could then potentially be used as business ideas later.

What I found was that over a period of time as you are writing down your ideas, you will find that the ones that resonate with you are the ones that keep coming back to you. Having everything written down in these notebooks is super helpful because even when you forget about it, you can still read through your notes and recall all of the different ideas that you’ve developed or been exposed to over time.

As you continue to do that you will start figuring out what you actually care about, what are you passionate about and what really interests you. You can start looking back and think “I saw this interesting product, but it’s not really in a field that I can see myself working in full time”, that is the other thing that I always say to people as they are beginning to think about starting their own business – make sure you do something that you really do care about, because there will definitely be ups and downs on the entrepreneurial journey and sometimes you will have dark days, things will get really tough and there will be a lot of pressure on you. You want to ensure that you have the passion and commitment to be able to come into the office and inspire the team because as the business leader that will be your responsibility.

As you are starting to think about what it is you should be doing, start keeping some notebooks, write down ideas, read through magazines, see things on TV and as you’re talking to people, write all of this down and keep it, and you will continue to refine what your interest is.