Where do new ideas come from?

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The entrepreneur sees opportunities all around and instinctively knows which are best to go for.  It is not a matter of analysis but of instinct.  Some would argue that this instinct means that entrepreneurship cannot be taught.  I am one of those individuals that sits in the in CAN be taught camp.

So where do new ideas come from?  The few examples below are just some of the ways that new ideas and subsequently new businesses can be generated.

  • Our own needs.  Because we understand them well, needs that we have discovered for ourselves often provide the business opportunity.
  • Niche spotting.  This is a major provider of opportunities.  Not all niches however can create sustainable businesses.  Indeed, a niche can become a tomb.  Niches are, by nature, small and self limiting in terms of company growth, but they are a good place for the entrepreneur to gain experience before moving up to something larger.  Often, niche markets can suddenly expand to be quite big ones. 
  • Hobbies.  Hobbies can be the basis of a successful business.  Indeed this was how Microsoft started!!  Hobbyists share many of the same characteristics of the inventor – they are in love with their hobby.  This often makes it difficult for them to approach things in a commercial way because it takes the joy out of their hobby. 
  • Inventions and the application of technology.  This is an area full of opportunities that seem to be never ending.  Inventions and research discoveries can open up huge markets but spotting the application is the secret. 
  • Vertical integration.  This offers the opportunity to expand from one activity in the production and supply chain to others. 
  • Downsizing.  This is the opposite of vertical integration and is more popular today as companies concentrate on their core business.  This can mean the closure of departments but with it comes the opportunity for teams with experience to spin off almost intact from the parent.
  • Demerging.  This is a variant of downsizing in which the whole activity is spun off from the parent.  In these situations it is often surprising how entrepreneurial the new business can be after being released from the potentially stifling parent organisation

If you’d like to know more about how we support start-ups either directly or through university enterprise programmes please click the appropriate link.

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