Ok so we are all in agreement that you cannot have a business without having an idea. Some ideas come naturally – they are light bulb moments. Other ideas though you may need to be a little bit vigilant to bump into one.
Let us start by defining what an idea basically is.It is an identification of a gap in the market. You must fulfill a need thus there must be a problem you are solving. Are you seeing where I am going with this? You do not start with an Idea. You start a problem. The essence of business is solving a problem profitably.
Take the epic quail eggs fail in Kenya in the recent past as an example. One person saw it was working and decided hmm that looks like a good idea let me try. So they did. So did their neighbor, in-laws and extended family and their friends. As a result the over hyped business came crashing down because of excess suppliers and little demand. Simple economics played its role supplies>demand=market price drops. Why did this happen? They were not solving a problem.
How To Identify A Problem
This is not a conclusive list but, it should guide you on the methods
- Look at existing systems and processes. A business does not have to start from the very beginning. You can build on other’s concepts. Asses their systems and controls is there a better way of doing it? Look at the concept of the camera the camera we have now and the very first camera are worlds apart because people continuously improved on it.
- Population trends. Kenya conducts population census every four years. This information is made available to the public. Why is this a good source? It helps you anticipate future needs. For example let us assume that in 2010 there was a decrease in children mortality this means that there are more children surviving. In four years these children will need schools.In 13 years they shall be teenagers what problems will they need to be solved then?
- New markets. In Kenya many business target the middle income bracket. They are the biggest customer base that are willing to buy. However, the problem exists in other markets. Can you offer an alternative solution or even the same solution to a different market?
There are so many ways to come up with problems to solve. Peter Drucker’s Book Innovation and Entrepreneurship has an extensive list with very elaborate examples. I would definitely recommend this before you take another step.
Until next time.