Identifying Entrepreneurial Opportunities - by Soham Joshi

As budding entrepreneurs kindle their spirit of creativity and set off on the journey of creating a successful venture, very often they get stymied by analysis paralysis. Identifying an entrepreneurial idea that’s worth pursuing can be a daunting process. A lot of entrepreneurs lose steam at this very first process.

The answer to make this process more fun is practice identifying ideas. The beauty of participating in science competitions early on is to be able to identify ideas without the fear of failure or the inhibition of creativity. Getting feedback from successful entrepreneurs who have “been there and done that” can be a confidence booster that - “I can do this!”

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Know your passions – What excites you? What gets your creative juices flowing? Different people are excited by different things. For some people, ideas to make sports coaching more effective can be very appealing. For others, ideas to improve the quality of life of people in third world countries can be compelling. Yet for some others, ideas to mix traditional art with modern technology can be fascinating.

Every idea has merit and can be transformed into a successful business. Knowing what makes you happy is the first step to understanding which idea would you be most willing to commit to.

  •  Research and brainstorm – Read about the opportunity and get the facts. Quantification of a problem helps put the opportunity in perspective with the real issues being faced. It also helps understand your target market. Brainstorming through discussion helps visualize the situation and also promotes the generation of more related ideas. Sometimes a combination of multiple ideas leads to a winning opportunity.

  • Assess the impact of your idea – The below quadrant analysis could be used to understand how impactful your idea could be.

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  • An ideal opportunity is one which has a high impact on a large number of people.

  • Opportunities that have a high impact on a small number of people or a small impact on

    a large number of people are the next best options.

  • Ideas that have a small impact on a small number of people are usually the hardest to materialize. Such ideas are niche ideas with minimal return on investment.

  • Start small – “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Take your idea and break it into smaller manageable ideas. Pick the piece that would be easiest to build but provide the most value. Focus on just this piece of the opportunity. This will help you get started and avoid the analysis paralysis situation. Often times, budding entrepreneurs have a big idea that involves a lot of moving pieces. Trying to tackle everything upfront means the idea would take forever to launch and unlimited resources like money and people. The goal should be to design and deliver a workable part of the opportunity to test the market.

  • Time box your efforts – Agree on a timeframe to come up with ideas. Don't spend too long on one portion of the business, but spread your time among all the aspects. Also plan ahead and keep your deadlines in mind. For example, the Blue Ocean Competition’s deadline is January 17th, 2020, so when creating your business lay out a timeline with how long you will on the Blue Ocean strategy, product, video etc.

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