Four ways to identify startup opportunities – StartupSmart

To identify the new business of the future you don’t need a PhD but you do need an open mind, observation, curiosity and some simple innovation tools.


Here’s how to do it:


Observe the growing trends and look at their implications. For example, an ageing population creates opportunities not only in health care and residential accommodation but in new co-living models and in numerous related services from home deliveries, fitness and online services to drive-me, link-me, travel with me.


Observe consistent and repetitive behaviour. What do people do frequently that represents an opportunity? For example, many people commute to Melbourne by train. Yet it is still difficult to buy breakfast, coffee, wine on commuter trains. A long trip offers time to do something productive such as listen to a seminar, learn first aid, study French, play chess, or share a common interest with other commuters. On a simple journey, there are plenty of untapped business opportunities for enterprising people.


Look for predictable behaviour. If a person buys a new car – what are they likely to do next? Go for a drive! Where are the opportunities? Hotels, motels, restaurants, garages, tourist destinations and others within a few hours’ drive can offer special deals through the car dealership. Lots of opportunities here.


Future positioning. Everything changes – and very few products, services and processes will be unchanged in the next few years. Consider what these effects are likely to be and position yourself to take advantage of them. Don’t just respond – lead the way.


Joss Evans is the CEO of INNOVIC – the Victorian Innovation Centre, a not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of practical services to turn new ideas into viable businesses and to get new products, services and technologies to market. INNOVIC has helped over 35,500 innovators since it was established in 1986.


Image credit: Flickr/hang_in_there

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