All successful businesses solve a problem of some kind. What in your life is a pain? What problems do your friends and family complain about? As you go about your day, look for people with – or who talk about – problems. What are the solutions?
What do you use that can be improved – or doesn’t yet exist? If you are experiencing a problem, it’s likely that others are experiencing it too.
Keep an ideas journal with you at all times. Set yourself a daily exercise of thinking up three business ideas in a random industry. The purpose of this is build up your idea muscle to make coming up with creative solutions easier. The idea does not have to be the best (or even viable) – just the act of thinking up possible solutions is valuable.
Identify a process that is inefficient but works. For example, many offices have an over-reliance on paper or have systems that are duplicated throughout the organisation, wasting time and money. Design a better solution.
Look for inefficiencies. Look for dumb things to fix. Why is something done a particular way? Because it’s always been done like that? Find a superior solution. Ask yourself how you can save someone time, effort or money by improving a system.
Look at past business failures. What did they do wrong? Many failed businesses are actually sound ideas but one flaw sunk them. Can you identify the root problem and fix it? It doesn’t have to be failures – look for ways to meaningfully improve an existing business.