There are approximately 400 million entrepreneurs in the world, with an estimate of 550,000 people starting a new business every month. If you want to be among these aspiring leaders, make sure you have this one thing: ideas. The problem is, how do you find an out-of-the-box business idea that is unique and scalable?
The short answer is simple: everywhere, everytime. You can find new ideas wherever you are, in the office, on the commuter on the way home, and even while having a morning shower.
Want to know how is this possible? Let’s learn from Sara Blakely, one of the youngest entrepreneurs who founded Spanx. Her business today has reached over US$ 1 billion net worth. Do you know how she founded Spanx? It all started in her room while she was confused about the clothes she should wear to a party.
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Blakely was just an ordinary worker like most of us. She worked as a fax machine seller, going door-to-door for seven years after graduating from college and she managed to save $5,000. One night, she had to go to a party and she didn’t really like what she was wearing. Thus, she took materials in her hands and cut the feet out of her top pantyhose to wear under her white pants. And that is how she invented Spanx. Her idea comes from her own problem of not finding the right clothes to wear to a party.
Meanwhile, in 1984, Dietrich Mateschitz, an Austrian who was travelling through Thailand, drank a bottle of Krating Daeng, an energy drink. Mateschitz was fascinated by the product because it cured his jet lag. So, he co-founded Krating Daeng with Yoovidhya, a person who invented Krating Daeng, and invested plenty to change and patent the product with a new look and name as Red Bull. Before Red Bull was popular like today, Mateschitz hired a market research firm to gauge interest in the product and the result was a catastrophe. However, Mateschitz ignored the result and went on investing in Red Bull because he believed in this product. As of today, Red Bull banners are everywhere, especially in extreme sports.
From these stories, we can learn that the major sources of business ideas are unsolved problems, inefficiencies, aha moments when you are travelling or doing something new, and other major or minor things that make our lives harder.
Each of us tries to be the next Bill Gates, Mark Zukerberg, or Steve Jobs, not knowing that we are all equipped with different passions and uniqueness. From the stories, we can learn that to be a successful entrepreneur, there are some roadblocks you have to go through. You should also know your market demand by actually being your own consumers, and solve every little or big problem no matter how crazy it looks. “If you like what you build, there is always a way to make your product better and stronger, until society demands it.”
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