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How to come up with a business idea

If you’re looking for advice on how to come up with business ideas, you’ve probably already come across lots of basic advice like “brainstorm ideas” and “take two existing products and put them together”. But at Yunus Sports Hub, we believe in frameworks; proven methods where you can systematically work your way towards a solid business idea. 

Here are just three of our favourites:

Look for Founder-Market Fit: A great way to find the right business idea is to think about your unique skills, expertise, and relationships and how those could be used to build a product. By creating a business around these unique personal advantages, you’re finding what’s called founder-market fit. If you already have a co-founder or a team, think about your collective knowledge and what your team is particularly good at. 

Once you’ve taken note of all your unique advantages as a founder/founding team, start thinking about what types of product and service ideas you would particularly excel at executing. For example, if you’ve spent your whole career to-date in elite sport, what are your unique skills and attributes and how might they be deployed?

Solve a Personal Problem: Some of the most successful businesses have been created to solve their founders’ personal problems. Whether you’re just starting or already well into a professional career, think of different problems you have in your personal and professional lives and brainstorm products that could solve those problems.

Another way to look at this is to think about what products you wish others would build for you — then consider building them yourself. If you don’t have any particularly big problems in your life that you can think of new product ideas to solve, you can try changing things up and putting yourself in different positions that allow you to experience new problems. For example, go and work for a new type of company, live in a new city, or travel to expose yourself to new situations and challenges. Simply being curious and leading an interesting life can be all it takes to come up with a business idea.

Consider Your Passions: Whether it’s applied to finding a career or coming up with a business idea, “follow your passions” is a piece of generic advice you’ve probably heard a lot. But, there is some value to be had from it in terms of coming up with a business idea.The most successful businesses succeed because their founders are passionate about the projects, so they stay committed to working on them through all the ups and downs (of which there will be many when you’re working in a start-up).

Consider that it takes 10 years on average to build a business into a strong, established company — you definitely don’t want to be working on something you’re not passionate about for the next 10 years, right? To find a startup idea that you’re passionate about, think about some area or industry you would love to work on a project in for the next decade, even if it didn’t succeed. Then, try to come up with different product/service ideas around that.

However, it’s important to remember that not every passion translates well into a business, so make sure you are aware of the limitations when you’re brainstorming ideas this way. 

Already got a few ideas that now need refining? Great news: at Yunus Sports Hub we’ve just launched a new entrepreneurship training programme for French Speakers, with a fully funded option. 

Co-designed with our Founder, Nobel Laureate Professor Yunus, the online course is called Sprint, and over a ten-week period our coaches and mentors will work with individuals to help them shape their social business idea, use business planning tools like Lean Canvas, and get pitch-ready. Learning will take place via a combination of specialist lessons, group workshops, one on one mentoring and home-based tasks, and will only require roughly 3-4 hours a week of your time. 

Crucially, if you live in France, you can fund the full costs of this training using your Compte Personnel de Formation (CPF) allowance. But don’t worry if not – you can also pay yourself directly via a series of manageable instalments if you aren’t eligible for CPF. You can check out the programme plans and download the course brochure here. In the coming months we’ll also be launching Sprint in other languages, and developing a number of other courses too. 

The first cohort of Sprint launches on October 3rd, with four more cohorts planned throughout 2023. Sign-up before September 26th to make sure your place is secured.