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The Business Idea Generator

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 27 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Business Business Ideas Entrepreneur

There are few outstandingly original business ideas. This means you don’t have to wait for a flash of creative inspiration before setting up a business. Instead you can generate business ideas by asking yourself a series of questions – and producing positive answers.

Start the process now by answering the following questions in as many of the headings as you can. Be as unorthodox with your answers as you wish. After all, what do you have to lose? You may be surprised at how many ideas you actually have for setting up a new business or improving your current one.

Your Current Occupation

There are few people who have not thought of ways in which they could make their current job better. For the purpose of generating business ideas, however, think specifically not about you but about the product or service your company supplies to the public or to another business.

How would you improve this product or service for the benefit of the customer?

How would you improve the efficiency of the business processes that create the product or service?


Many people dream about turning their hobby or special interest into a full-time occupation. To generate useful business ideas, though, you need to distance yourself from your hobby and ask:

What aspect of the hobby would other people pay for?

How can I market the specialist skills I’ve developed thanks to this hobby?


We all complain about the shortcomings of various products and services we encounter every day. Turn these complaints into ideas for a business.

How could I, as an entrepreneur, make this product or service better?

New Life In Old Ideas

There are plenty of established business ideas that have been running successfully for years. The commercial world moves forward at a brisk pace, however, especially technology, and there’s often scope for giving an old idea a new twist. Think of some existing businesses, and ask:

What fresh perspective can I bring to this?

Fulfilling a Need

Gaps in the market aren’t easy to find unless you come across them by chance or through your existing work. Nonetheless, it’s possible to find such gaps by establishing what people need. To do this, consider the references people make to their needs. Think about conversations you’ve had, and review discussions you’ve listened to on the television and radio, or read in newspapers and magazines. Then say to yourself:

How can I meet this need?

Shouldn't There Be a _____ for _____?

Another way of developing ideas for products and services is to maintain a questioning attitude to everything. In other words, when you encounter a problem, or simply anything that interests you, speculate about it and ask:

Shouldn’t there be a [your solution or additional feature] for [the product or service]?

Practical Ideas

Not every idea you have is practical, of course. There are additional “make or break” questions that, if you answer them as honestly as possible, can indicate this and save you a lot of frustration and wasted time.

Make or Break Questions

What does my market research tell me? How much money do I need to finance my idea?Where will I obtain the money?

At this stage, you may well give negative answers such as “don’t know” to the make or break questions. If so, use this website to gain insights into the entrepreneurial process, and then revisit your answers. You may still not be able to give positive replies, but you will be able to say what you intend to do next.

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