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Through the Startup Weekend Fellowship, members of the Startup Weekend Community who want to start a technology company can apply to the Silicon Valley Founder Institute chapter for free, and the best overall applicant will be invited to participate in the Founder Institute's step-by-step startup launch program for free as well.



Eligibility: In order to be eligible for the Startup Weekend Fellowship for the upcoming semester, you must complete your application and admissions test by Sunday, December 11th, 2016, using this link.


Grant: The recipient of the Startup Weekend Fellowship will be awarded within 5 days after the deadline.


Click here to apply for the Startup Weekend Fellowship.


Startup Quick Tips: Generate a Bunch of Startup Ideas - Right Now!

Posted by Joe Garza on 2017-04-17

Yes, yet another article devoted to helping you come up with a startup idea. However, after reading and writing numerous blog posts on startup ideation, I thought it was my moral duty to shed some light on a useful and unique approach to coming up with a startup idea.

A whole bunch of them.

Right now.

While there is definitely considerable value in conducting extensive research into various markets, interviewing industry experts, and meeting with colleagues, sometimes the hardest part is just starting. And starting is even harder to do when you don’t have a direction to follow, which this technique should hopefully help you with.

Ok. Are you ready to ideate?

Then get set.

And go!

Start with Your Passions

Everyone has a passion, or even multiple passions. These can be in the form of anything: hobbies, pastimes, distractions, crafts, amusements, diversions, obsessions, specialties, etc.

List everything you enjoy doing, starting with the broad categories they correspond with. For example, your initial list might look something like this:

  • Sports
  • Music
  • Film
  • Traveling
  • Food
  • Tech
  • Outdoors
  • Home improvement

If you only have only one or two interests on your list, don’t worry about it, since we’re going narrow and deep here.

Dive Deep into Your Passion

Start with one of your general interests, preferably the one that’s most important to you, and list as many aspects of your interest as possible. Don’t hold back, because the more keywords you write down means the more potential startup ideas you can generate.

I’ll use myself as an example. Since I’m a music lover, let’s start with that.

  • Music

    • Guitar

    • Piano

    • Concerts

    • Heavy metal

    • Lessons

    • Instruments

    • Classical

    • Musicians

    • Venue

    • Bands

Dive Even Deeper into Your Interest

Again, pick the item from this list that you are most interested in and list even more terms associated with it. Be as specific as possible, and don’t shy away from being overly technical. If you love simply talking about your interests, you’ll love this step.

Let’s pick guitar.

  • Guitar

    • Acoustic

    • Electric

    • Guitar store

    • Guitar lessons

    • Guitar parts

    • Guitarists

    • Solo

    • Band members

    • Bass

    • Strings

    • Amplifiers

Find the Challenges in Your Passion

From this list, pick the item that causes you the most frustration, stress, or annoyance, ideally one that you think causes the same feelings in people in your position, then outline why it’s such a challenge. Let’s say it’s guitar lessons.

  • Guitar lessons

    • Finding qualified guitar instructors

    • Paying expensive teaching fees

    • Teaching yourself guitar

If you have some pent up rage surrounding your interest, now is the time open up about your feelings. Be honest. We won’t judge.

Create Solutions to the Challenges in Your Passion

For each of these problems, come up with several solutions. Don’t worry about practicality, feasibility, or originality, just use your imagination and pretend you had the perfect answer to these problems.

  • Finding qualified guitar instructors

    • An app that connects you with guitar instructors in your area, listed by genre, skill level, and proximity.

    • A website that connects you with virtual guitar instructors.

  • Paying expensive teaching fees

    • An app that let’s you compare fees of professional instructors in your area.

    • A platform that lets musicians exchange music lessons instead of paying for them.

  • Teaching yourself guitar

    • A website that has user-submitted resources and lessons for self-taught guitarists.

    • An app that connects you with other self-taught musicians in your area to jam with.

So that’s six potential ideas right there, all of which I came up with on the spot as I was writing this article. Sure, most of them have probably already been created, or are not scalable. But one of them might have the potential to work, or, at the very least, have the potential to lead to another, better idea. And if you decide to pursue any of the ideas I listed here, make sure I get my share of equity, please.

Here's what all of the previous steps look like when put together to get a sense of what you should strive for:

  • Sports

  • Film

  • Traveling

  • Food

  • Gaming

  • Tech

  • Outdoors

  • Home improvement

  • Music

    • Piano

    • Concerts

    • Heavy metal

    • Instruments

    • Classical

    • Musicians

    • Venues

    • Bands

    • Music lessons

    • Guitar

      • Acoustic

      • Electric

      • Guitar store

      • Guitar parts

      • Guitarists

      • Solo

      • Band members

      • Bass

      • Strings

      • Amplifiers

      • Guitar lessons

        • Finding qualified guitar instructors

          • SOLUTION: An app that connects you with guitar instructors in your area, listed by genre, skill level, and proximity.

          • SOLUTION: A website that connects you with virtual guitar instructors.

        • Paying expensive teaching fees

          • SOLUTION: An app that let’s you compare fees of professional instructors in your area.

          • SOLUTION: A platform that lets musicians exchange music lessons instead of paying for them.

        • Teaching yourself guitar

          • SOLUTION: A website that has user-submitted resources and lessons for self-taught guitarists.

          • SOLUTION: An app that connects you with other self-taught musicians in your area to jam with.

Now imagine doing this whole process with every keyword you came up with. That's a whole lot of potential startup ideas, isn't it? And you didn't even have to leave your couch.

Repeat the Process

Return to the top of your list at the very beginning and pick another interest of yours, or stay within your current interest and find another aspect of it that you’re passionate about. If you do this process with all of the words you’ve listed, you can generate dozens, maybe hundreds of potential startup ideas, gazillions if you put in a few extra minutes.

Well, ok, maybe not gazillions.

But still, if you dedicate just one afternoon to this ideation exercise, you can make considerable progress in determining what you may very well spend the next twenty years of your life on.

And again, don’t worry about the quality of the startup ideas you come up with, because the purpose is to identify needs in a specific market, to learn how to find problems and create solutions, which is the heart of entrepreneurship.

Have Fun with Your Startup Ideation

Put your creativity to use and put an innovative spin on startup ideation. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Brainstorm with a friend (or co-founder). Doing this exercise, ideally with someone who shares the same interests as you, can dramatically increase the number of ideas you produce. Turn it into a contest by competing to come up with the most ideas in a designated amount of time. Or maybe a drinking game is called for; take a drink every time someone comes up with a usable idea. (Don’t expect to get drunk anytime soon from this game.)

  • Mix and match your ideas. If you have multiple passions, combine the startup ideas you’ve conceived under one interest with the startup ideas conceived under a completely different interest. For example, if your general passions are food and sports, consider an app that provides the best recipes for every game party. Or a social media platform for people who love to tailgate at sporting events. Be uninhibited; a wacky combination can lead to a promising company.

  • Turn it into a personal game. Everyday, devote five minutes to brainstorming startup ideas from your interests and try to beat your previous record. If you conceive 10 startup ideas today, shoot for 12 tomorrow, 15 the next day, etc.

Now What?

Once you’ve conducted this exercise several times and have come up with a plethora, multitude, or even a gaggle of startup ideas, pick a few you think have the most potential to become a viable startup.

However, the hard work is about to begin. Having a few ideas alone is not enough to build a company, so don’t start calling yourself an entrepreneur just yet. You have to get feedback on your idea, do extensive research into the market you’re most passionate about, and more.

Luckily, I’ve included some additional resources to help you take your startup ideas further.

 

(Back view of woman on chalkboard background looking at abstract arrow maze and lamp sketch. Choice and ideas concept image by Shutterstock)

Startup Quick Tips: Generate a Bunch of Startup Ideas - Right Now!

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