We are coming to that time of the year where we are evaluating what next. Many desire to start a new business on their own but don't know where to start, what business should they get involved in.

XEED Business presents you with 5 strategies that can be used to generate new business ideas. Try out each one (or a combination of a few) and you will surely come up with an idea.

  1. Go with Passion

Most of us have at least one thing we are passionate about; that thing we love doing and will do regardless of cost or time. Oftentimes, these passions are just fun or extracurricular activities. And since we not motivated by the financial benefits, we never consider them as a business idea.

Confucius said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

"watching TV can be commercialised if you start writing movie reviews"

Passion is usually a good source of a business idea. For example, you are passionate about exercising and jog 10km every day. This could be turned this into a business idea by starting a running club with membership fees. Even an activity such as watching TV can be commercialised, if say you start writing movie reviews.

Think about what you are passionate about and brainstorm options for commercialising it.

  1. Explore Strengths

Another way of generating ideas is to look personal strengths. Make a list of the things that you are good at; those strengths that have been gained and honed over time.

For example, from a young age, maybe you were always pulling things apart to know how they worked, you are the “fixer” of anything broken in the home and at work. It may not be a passion point, but you have a natural flair for those things. You could start a repair centre for gadgets.

Identifying areas of strengths is usually a source of a business idea. It may be in food, working with people, mentoring people, managing teams, teaching, etc. The list is endless. Once identified, the challenge is to explore how to commercialise this strength.

  1. Copy and adapt

"Many ideas are not original. It is ok to look at what is already being done and find a different angle"

How many times have you thought to yourself “I wish I had thought about that idea”. Ok, so you have not thought about it, but you can copy and adapt it with pride. (Of course checking that you are not infringing copyright or patent rights)

Every day, you see a new grocery shop opening and ask why the city needs another grocery shop? Yet, their patronage increases.

Many ideas are not original. It is ok to look at what is already being done and find a different angle to that existing idea or explore an area of weakness from that other business to create a differentiated business.

Adapting could also involve copying an idea from one country that does not already exist in yours and being the first to launch that idea in your market place.

For example, the entrepreneur behind the now global energy drink Red bull got inspiration from another energy drink Kraating Daeng which was sold in Thailand. The Thai drink was modified to suit the tastes of Westerners and Redbull was formed.

Whenever, you travel out of the country (or even out of your city), keep a look out for things that are new to you.

  1. Explore pain points

There are opportunities around us every day that we overlook because we simply accept them. I recently heard of a businessman that bought a stadium. Maybe he had taken his son to a football pitch to play in school game. The pitch was in a poor state of repair due to years of neglect. Instead of simply complaining (or accepting) the poor condition, he decided to buy the pitch and build a proper stadium. Today, different clubs pay to use that stadium and it holds many public and private events. In some ways, it was visionary. However, the businessman saw a problem and decided to do something about it.

When you see things in your everyday life that do not feel right; things that frustrates you, don’t just complain. Think about how you could make it better. This could be your winning business idea.

  1. Think into the future

Visionary thinking is probably the most difficult of all the strategies discussed because it is based on the unknown. It involves thinking about a problem that could occur in the future - the “build it and they would come” approach.

Everything that we have today was born out of a thought – the internet, the television, the telephone, aeroplanes, light bulbs and even bottled water. Someone envisioned what people may need in the future and decided to build a product for that future need.

I remember working on a project on 3G mobile technology. I could not understand why anyone would want to use the internet on a mobile phones which had tiny screens. But through brainstorm sessions of likeminded visionaries, we built a picture of the future. Roll forward many years later, most of us cannot exist without data on our smart phones.

The process starts by looking at what people do today and extrapolating that behaviour into the future. Then, consider what problems people are likely to face in that future and what solutions will be required for such problems. The business idea is to build a solution today that will solve the future problem.

The electric car is another example of companies thinking into the future. They saw fuel prices increasing and environmental pressures for clean energy increasing. The solution was the electric car. What started as a vision has become reality.


We have covered some key strategies for generating new business ideas. If you are thinking of starting a new business, it ultimately come down “Do Something”. We could spend months trying to perfect the best idea. Pick something and start now. It is unlikely that your first idea will be the perfect one (even if you spend months trying to “perfect” it). Read the history of many conglomerates, you will find that many of their initial ideas failed, but they used that learning to evolve the business and they continue to evolve.

We recommend that you start something, learn from it and evolve.

Good luck and we look forward to hearing how your business is performing.

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