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How Do I Come Up with a Unique Idea?

Last Updated on November 8, 2020

Hey everyone, welcome to #AskCodelation.

Today’s question is, “How do I come up with a unique idea for my startup or business?”

I’m going to jump into that in two different directions. First, if you’ve got an idea that nobody else in the world has done, it’s so unique that it’s never been done before, I’d caution you for a couple of reasons.

It’s possible that people have tried it and failed, therefore proving that no one’s willing to pay for it.

It’s also possible that you’re maybe just ahead of your time. The technology may not be there, the market may not be there. Think back to when the movie Back to the Future came out. The idea of the hoverboard came out as a skateboard without wheels and Michael J. Fox’s ability to fly around on it.

To date, the hoverboard doesn’t really exist in a commercial format. So maybe the market doesn’t need it, or the technology’s not there to support it.

So, that’s definitely something to think about: If nobody has done that specific thing.

However, that’s different than if nobody has taken a specific product/service idea and applied it to your market. That’s a completely different story.

If I want to take the idea of Airbnb but for hunters, that’s a completely different thing than coming up with an idea in the hunting space that no one has ever done before.

The second direction your unique idea could go is this: Having an idea that’s so unique and that you’re so tightly holding onto, it’s very internal-facing, and it’s something that you want to drive through and ram through.

I would flip it the other direction and say, you know what? Don’t try to take your idea and really cram it into the market. This is especially true if you’re not familiar with the space or you don’t have contacts in the industry that you’re trying to go into.

Slow down and ask, “What are the pain points of the industry that I’m trying to go into?”

So let’s take the hunting example again. If I’m trying to do an Airbnb for hunters and landowners, I want to take that idea and go talk to the audience, go talk the hunters, go talk to the landowners and say why isn’t this happening already? And if it is, how can we make it better?

So, make sure that you’re in front of the audience, you’re asking questions, and you’re not trying to say, ‘Hey I’ve got an idea for this space, and it does this thing. Will you buy it?”

You want to ask questions of the people in your space to determine what their pain points are and what you can do to help them.

Another important question for your target market: What are you willing to pay for?

But that’s a completely different conversation.

Hopefully this has helped you point how not necessarily to come up with the most unique idea for your startup, but instead finding something that’s market viable.

I look forward to talking to you again next time.

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