How do I get a good idea for my business?


Is this the word that comes to mind when you think of coming up with new ideas? Are you spending inordinate amounts of time in your bathtub waiting for inspiration to strike?

Skin all wrinkly yet?

According to Paul Graham of Y Combinator, the American Seed Fund network:

“the way to get start-up ideas is not to try to think of start-up 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.”

Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Google, and Facebook all began this way.


Another approach proposed by Bill Aulet, author of Disciplined Entrepreneurship, is that you may have some passion, technological breakthrough or some idea that may become the basis of your start-up. For the more visually orient amongst you here is a nice cartoon from the same book that shows three ways to start a new venture.

Hold on though, isn’t that exactly what Paul Graham argues NOT to do?

Welcome to the world of Entrepreneurship! Often you may find that two entrepreneurship experts offer completely contradictory advice and often both are right! This happens because different people have different circumstances which lead to many different paths. One single approach cannot cover all possible scenarios. These multiple perspectives lead to many different possibilities!


Peter Drucker (the great management theorist) famously observed that “Entrepreneurship is risky mainly because so few of the so-called entrepreneurs know what they are doing. They lack the methodology.”

Yet for the uninitiated, the ‘methodology’ seems a murky mystery, full of ambiguity and loneliness. Successful entrepreneurs appear (in retrospect anyway) as alchemists, conjuring great ideas out of thin air and turning them into gold.

Every entrepreneurial journey starts with the spark of an idea.  But even this step can appear as a riddle. Which comes first, the desire to be an entrepreneur (in search of an opportunity) or the opportunity (waiting to be ‘plucked’ by the entrepreneur)?  Which are in shortest supply – promising new venture opportunities or great entrepreneurs who can execute on them?

When we explore this with the entrepreneurs in our Start-up Bootcamp we do look at how you can get good ideas.  However, most winning ideas are born ‘half-baked’ and evolve over months and years of deliberate testing and shaping, so that is where our real focus is. The ‘Eureka moment’ is but a starting point.

If you are considering starting your business as an alternative to your current work, come and learn from best instructors in this business. Taught by executive education and entrepreneurial faculty from London Business School you can either

Take it to the next level

If you want to learn more about how to start a business

You will find evidence based, research backed, strategies that successful startups use to launch products, enter new markets and develop customers

If you want to know where to get help

You will find researched options on what support you may need at each stage of your business to help you avoid the most critical mistakes that that cause business failures

Read in the next article:

Held in London, the 1-day bootcamp and 8-week workshop have been designed for working professionals, and delivered by faculty who have not only helped grow businesses at King’s College London, London Business School, UCL, LSBU (Entrepreneurial University of the year, 2016) in the UK but also a number of universities, institutions, and governments abroad.

- Viren Lall, London