Let’s start the post with a pretty simple question:

To whom does the startup ideas belong to?

The answer is quite simple – “it belongs to the entrepreneur(s) who discovered a problem in the surrounding and has invented an idea to solve that problem.” An entrepreneur is otherwise called as an inventor or innovator who is either creating a completely new solution or tweaking an existing solution to solve a common problem.

[Please note that, it is irrelevant now to check the validity of the idea based on market demand, adoption and ROI at this basic level.]

If you are a part of the startup ecosystem, how often do you come across people who ask for startup ideas? Popular web forums like Quora, Y Combinator or Startup Nation are flooded with startup ideas related questions. Some examples are:

  • I am a 21 years old and want to start a decent business to earn money. How should I start?
  • What are the good startup ideas?
  • What are some potential low-cost business that can be started and operated by a teenager? I have $1000 to…..
  • What business should I start?

Well, the above are only a few. The answers to these questions are sometimes confusing, funny or emotional and sometimes goes way over the head. It is impractical to expect logical answers to such questions – when the question itself is quite generic. Surprisingly, every other forum member is quite excited to answer such questions with long texts, in order to get maximum visibility and more popularity among peers. But, does it help the entrepreneur. No, why? Because the entrepreneur is seeking help for ideas from others to start a business, which itself is a negative principle towards entrepreneurship.

The basic fundamental behind entrepreneurship is that the idea is owned by the entrepreneur, adopted into the ecosystem and nurtured by validators. Remember, your customer is the biggest validator of your ideas. Now, when you see such questions – the basic purpose of entrepreneurship is defeated, as the entrepreneur has not found a problem itself and rather depends on the ecosystem to suggest ideas. Entrepreneurship originates from the passion of solving problems around you and grows into a commercially valuable entity bringing benefit to your customers and partners.

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The ecosystem can only nurture or validate the ideas, not provide ideas to start your business. There are lot of people who suggest to build Chatbots, AI (artificial intelligence) tools, blockchain solutions, social media tools or virtual assistants, etc. The fact is building a Chatbot or an AI tool is not what an entrepreneur does. An entrepreneur first tries to find a reason of why to build a Chatbot or a social media tool. Let’s not confuse technology with ideas, as these technologies are only some suitable platforms to drive your ideas. At times, people do take up suggestions on new ideas and start a business. Some of them succeed whereas maximum of them fail and the reason is the idea is not of the entrepreneur itself.

So, if you are planning for a new startup, then

  • Find the problem first and do your research; the problem could be new or lies in the existing solutions.
  • Find out how large your audience is; these are the people who will be impacted by your solution
  • Find if there are any alternative solutions exist for same or similar problems
  • Go to your connections and validate your idea
  • Nurture your idea with external factors
  • Make prototype and execute your idea in small level
  • Based on the results, improvise the idea and the execution process
  • Keep validating your ideas with your customers.

Remember, an Entrepreneur owns the idea and stays responsible towards the execution of the idea, irrespective of whether the idea succeeds or fails.