How would you start finding business ideas? ("pain" that businesses or customers experience)?

This is for someone who is perfectly positioned to start a business (IT graduate, no expenses, saving all of his money, living at home and unchallenged at work). BUT.... he doesn't have any IDEAS. I would think that talking to the right people about the pain in their own business might be a good starting point. But I'm not quite sure where he would start with that.

Ideas B2B Business

asked Mar 31 '14 at 15:30
Clay Nichols
737 points
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4 Answers


The low hanging fruit: scratch your own itch.

Almost every startup I've began was a problem I was experiencing myself. In all cases, there was no solution that fit my exact needs.

Why creating a solution for yourself works best:

  • You're far more motivated to execute because you want the solution. When you're the biggest customer, you automatically create a product with tremendous value.
  • It's an industry you know. That'll save you a lot of time on research.
  • It's fun. I find working on problems that I had no prior knowledge of boring. Everyone is different, but that's how I feel.

Create a list of all the tools and services you use. Do any of them make you say "this sucks"? Explore those first. What's something you've always wished it had?

Read this essay by Paul Graham for more insight: How to get startup ideas

answered Mar 31 '14 at 16:21
Nishank Khanna
4,265 points
  • I also highly recommend Paul Graham's essay, an all time favorite. There's also a shorter one he wrote that I think is relevant: Schlep BlindnessLaserBear 10 years ago
  • +1, and slightly more broadly: don't just identify problems to solve, identify problems that will be good for *you* to solve. Listing domains I have experience in and markets I'm well-connected to is always the first step when I'm brainstorming for project ideas. – Jay Neely 10 years ago


Before I provide my process: For physical products, look at Kickstarter campaigns that have reached their funding goals. That's a good starting point for ideas.

I do something against what most people do. I don't do a lot of research when coming up with the idea. Research comes afterwards. Here is my 2-step process...

1. Build a knowledge network

Begin with any space that interests you and look for any seed of an idea. Before thinking too much, start creating a deck. This gets you in motion. Finish the deck that same day. Pitch that deck to 2-3 smart and relevant people and take detailed notes of their feedback.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Can this be a big business?
  • Is this sustainable?
  • Could this grow nonlinearly?

2. Tweak the deck between pitches and try to pre-sell the solution

Just do it. Try to pre-sell the solution to people you pitch it to. See if they're willing to pay you in advance. If they are, you're definitely on the right track.

My process is a combination of ideation and validation. It's not something most people do, but it works for me.

answered Mar 31 '14 at 16:46
Goldie Hartman
52 points
  • What´s a "deck"? – Nicolaas Smith 10 years ago
  • A pitch deck is a presentation that summarizes your startup idea and business model for potential investors. You can see some examples on PitchEnvy. – Goldie Hartman 10 years ago
  • Here's an example of a great deck from Buffer: slide deck we used to raise half a million dollarsNishank Khanna 10 years ago
  • Thank you. – Nicolaas Smith 10 years ago


Scratching your own itch is ideal, but can also be risky since many engineers do that, which results in a lot of similar solutions/products/services. It's not uncommon to find out about someone else solving the same problem after you already started building or even after you launch. Simple googling isn't enough. Execution is most important when it comes to competitive products and it's not often a strength of a first time solo-founder with engineering-only background.

That said, a technical person without an idea should talk to people in their network and be on the lookout for problems people describe in their field. Partnering with a domain expert familiar with a problem is a good option for a technical founder.

Consider finding a co-founder, who is a domain expert with an idea, via sites like and at least look at profiles suggested to you.

HBR on why domain experts are important to have on startup teams.

answered Apr 1 '14 at 19:09
2,835 points


You can find others ideas or create your own. I think you can't create anything unless you are a professional in some field. If don't want to steal others ideas you should to become skilled specialist.

And then ideas will appear. If you have right idea maybe you are interested to make it bigger. If so look through these 44 pitch decks presentation They can help you even create a good idea.

answered Oct 19 '16 at 14:42
Brent Pape
1 point

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