Can You Be a Founder Even if Your Startup Ideas Aren't Original?

Generating ideas can be challenging, but what if we tapped into customer frustration to spark endless creativity?


Chris Kernaghan

An overhead view of a chess board

Douglas Adams, the author of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," once said that writing is a form of torture.

Creating something new, whether it's a piece of writing or a startup idea, can be really difficult. It often involves feeling frustrated, doubting yourself, and constantly striving for excellence.

However, just as writing can take readers on amazing journeys, developing new ideas in the startup world has the power to transform industries and make people's lives better.

The process of creating, whether it's finding the perfect wording or having a ground-breaking idea, is full of both suffering and success.

But in the end, seeing your creation come to life and make a real impact on the world is an incredibly rewarding feeling that makes any temporary struggle worth it.

So what's this article about?

Perhaps you've got some ideas swirling around and you're curious if they could form the basis of a business. Or maybe you're feeling a bit lost on where to begin, but you're eager to lend a hand in solving problems for others.

Whatever your situation, the information you need to get started is right here.

Seek and You Shall Find

The ideation phase can be the most formidable barrier to launching a successful startup. How do you conjure that lightbulb idea that solves a real problem and unleashes your entrepreneurial journey?

We've all heard the conventional wisdom: Identify a pain point, fill a market gap, disrupt an industry. But actually translating that guidance into a viable concept? That's easier said than done.

Coming up with new ideas spontaneously is usually tough without some outside influence to spark creativity. That's why it's perfectly fine to rely on unusual methods to jumpstart your imaginative thinking and discover novel business concepts.

And no, we're not suggesting you take hallucinogens or confine yourself to a sensory deprivation tank in the hope that you'll produce your best work.

What we have here are practical, actionable steps.

From meticulously mining customer frustrations to hacking keyword research tools, a new wave of brainstorming tactics is available. You just have to know where to look.

Who knows, the process might hold the keys to unlocking your next big venture.

The Complaints

One fertile ground for business idea generation? The very reviews and feedback that companies work tirelessly to improve.

By strategic browsing of sites like Trustpilot, entrepreneurs can filter through the 2- and 3-star reviews for major brands in their industries of interest.

Could Trustpilot be your ticket to success?

Those disappointed consumer voices often pinpoint real frustrations that existing products/services fail to address adequately.

Could a slick new app or optimised offering be the solution to those nagging customer gripes? Drilling down into that qualitative feedback could expose an untapped market opportunity ripe for entrepreneurial disruption.

You won't always strike gold, but perhaps there's a valuable idea or two waiting for you.

Startup X-Rays: Revenue Analysis as Insight

Sometimes the path to a winning idea lies in dissecting what's already proven successful. Enter acquisition marketplaces like Acquire, where entrepreneurs can analyse real revenue data for existing businesses across sectors.

By filtering for companies pulling in over 6 figures annually, it's possible to identify products with demonstrated market traction.

Acquire is an online marketplace for buying and selling SaaS startups.

From there, the insights pour in – what's resonating with customers, what features or value propositions could be enhanced or expanded into new offerings.

Essentially, it's corporate mindshare through revenue x-rays of proven winners.

The SEO Idea Hack

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is always top of mind for entrepreneurs seeking online visibility and traffic. But what if the very tools used for keyword research could also unlock promising startup ideas?

That's the mindset behind skimming through Ahrefs' keyword generators and examining the high-volume, low-difficulty keywords.

Ahrefs offers a free keyword generator. A quick way to spot what's competitive, and what people are searching for.

An intriguing keyword combination with significant searches but no standout ranking tool or solution? That could very well spell opportunity for an entrepreneurial solution.

Marrying your SEO savvy with the right spark of inspiration might just manifest the next ground-breaking app or software.

From Customer Grievances to Revenue X-Rays, while the ideation process will always require a blend of creativity, keen market awareness, and a differentiated concept, expanding your tactics for capturing that lightning-in-a-bottle idea is invaluable.

Get out There and Solve Problems

Being a founder isn't just about coming up with entirely original ideas.

It's about recognising opportunities, solving problems, and executing plans effectively. Whether your startup idea is completely unique or inspired by existing concepts, what truly matters is your passion, determination, and ability to bring your vision to life.

Don't be discouraged if your idea isn't entirely original. Instead, focus on refining it, validating it with market research, and surrounding yourself with a strong group of people who shares your enthusiasm.

Remember, success often lies not in the novelty of the idea, but in the execution and dedication of the founder.

Tapping into the grievances of customers, the revenue trajectories of proven concepts, and the very SEO tools they leverage could hold the keys to unlocking the next big idea.

If not, well, at least you'll have a good starting point instead of staring blankly at that A4 page, hoping for a stroke of genius like Adams did.

About The Author

An overhead view of a chess board
Chris Kernaghan

By day, Chris works as a UX Designer, crafting easy-to-use interfaces and ensuring companies focus on what users need. At night, he runs We Are Founders, a platform where founders share inspirational journeys.


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