How to Start a Business: Business Ideas

In the previous section, we walked through how to identify opportunities in the marketplace.  The exercise for the section was to list 100 problems that you could identify in your surroundings. 

In this section, we build upon this exercise to identify business ideas for potential entrepreneurs.  

A common challenge for entrepreneurs is identifying business ideas that will be profitable.  Some entrepreneurs prefer to embark on a business based on their passion or area of expertise.  However, this may not always be possible.  For example, if a person has significant experience in the restaurant industry but lacks funds to start a restaurant, then this opportunity may be out of their grasp, for the moment.  An excellent way to bridge this gap is by starting businesses that requires less funds and still satisfies challenges customers face.

How to Start a Business: Business Ideas

Business Ideas: Step 1

In this exercise, we will use the previous sections list of 100 problems and identify viable business opportunities for several of the selected problems from the list.

From the list of 100 problems identified in the previous exercise, select the top 10 problems that you find most interesting or that may be most profitable if a business is formed to solve those problems. 

Business Ideas: Step 2

Next, write a brief paragraph about how a business may solve your top 10 problems.  These paragraphs may be structured by answering the following questions:

  • How can a business solve this particular problem?
  • What would the business need look like in order to solve this particular problem?
  • Why would a customer choose business over competitors?
  • Where would this company need to be located in order to best solve the customer problems?
  • When to customers most often face the second problem?

Step 3: Choose a Business Idea

From the 10 short paragraphs, choose just one business that you feel will best solve a customer’s problem and that is affordable for your current situation. 

By choosing just one business, this helps you stay focused on a particular task and not attempting to start numerous businesses at the same time.  In addition, focusing on one business will gain your undivided attention and better help you develop strategies that may be needed to bring your new business idea into existence.

Exercise Objective: Business Idea

The objective of this exercise is pretty straightforward.  Potential business owners need to be able to identify potential opportunities in the marketplace.  From this, they also need to be able to systematically select the best ideas noted.  Further, entrepreneurs need to be able to envision a business for each one of their challenges identified.  Finally, selecting the best business idea is now possible.


Facing a list of 100 potential problems is a great way to practice identifying potential opportunities in the marketplace.  However, having a list of potential businesses may be challenging for a business owner to conceptualize various opportunities.  By following this exercise, p business owners are able to systematically reduce the list of 100 potential problems or businesses into a structured form that will allow the owner to select 10 opportunities and create divisions for each opportunity.  Finally, the business owner is now able to select the best business opportunity that fits their financial needs and will best satisfy customers in the marketplace.