Everything you see around you started as an idea in someone’s mind. However, just like the wind, ideas can’t be controlled.

They come and go as they please. While you can’t wish them to come, you can stimulate yourself to come up with ideas.

Generating profitable business ideas requires creativity and an ability to see opportunities where others see challenges.

I’ll illustrate this with a story:

An old man who lived alone in Bunta wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was hard work. He wrote a letter to his only son, Bubba, who was in prison, describing his predicament.

Dear Son,

I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I wouldn’t be able to plant my potato garden this year. I’m getting too old to dig up a garden plot. If you were here, you would’ve helped me.



A few days later, he received a letter from his son:

Dear Dad,

Please don’t dig up that garden. That’s where I buried the BODIES.



At 5 am, the next morning, F.B.I. agents and local police showed up and dug the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day, the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Dad,

Go ahead and plant the potatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.



Now, that’s creativity! How do you generate awesome, creative and profitable ideas?


How to Generate Profitable Business Ideas

1. Start with Problems in Your Locality

A rule of thumb in starting any profitable business is to solve problems. Thus, the easiest way to generate ideas for your next business is to take a walk around your locality with your problem-identifying antenna at top gear.

As you walk around, take note of what people are struggling with: Poor transportation facilities? Ill-timed delivery of products ordered online? Inadequate power supply? Mass ignorance of the laws regulating an industry?

These problems do not necessarily have to be commonly identified problems. They could be problems have but aren’t aware of and you may just spot them.

Which of these problems can you creatively solve in light of your peculiar experiences and abilities? Like Bubba, you don’t need to have all the necessary resources to solve a problem to come up with a profitable business idea. You only need start with the little you currently have and creatively utilize it to solve the problem in your locality.

2. Identify Existing Products or Services

Another way to generate profitable business ideas is to identify existing products and services in the market. They could be products and services attempting to solve the various problems you’ve just identified. The key is to discover the problem with this product and develop a better product.

You’ll want whatever product or service you’ll offer to stand out from the crowd. So, consider what significant value or additional benefit you can add to this existing product or service that will be of value to potential customers.

To do this effectively, you have to find out what customers want that the product or service isn’t offering yet or, how you can make life easier for the customers.

A smart marketing strategy will be to use this additional value or benefit as a unique selling point and offer your product or service at a competitive price.

When Virgin Records was making a tidy profit of about $15 million a year, Richard Branson decided there should be a more comfortable transatlantic airline. At this time, the customer service in the airline industry was poor and the taxes expensive. Therefore, Richard set up an airline with excellent customer service, a cheaper fare, and comfort in the air.

3. Add Speed of Delivery to an Existing Product or Service

Beat your competitors and impress your potential customers by getting the job done in half the time.

You may also add the speed of delivery to an existing product or service, especially in an industry or market where the speed of delivery is very important to the customers. Such industries include those that deal with emergencies, transportation, and commerce.

However, this can only work when you can affordably offer faster and more efficient delivery of products and services to customers.

Before Uber was birthed, you had to wait by the road to flag down an available taxi. Now, all you need do is download the Uber app and get a ride in a few minutes.

4. Combine Services to Form a Service Bundle

According to Investopedia, bundling is a marketing strategy that joins products or services together in order to sell them as a single combined unit.

In an industry where consumers are greatly exploited by service providers, you may start a business that offers related services as a bundle and saves consumers money. This makes you a trusted brand and gives your business a competitive edge over others.

Bundling of services can be used as a marketing strategy to offer consumers greater value for a little token, which is significantly lower than the combination of both services offered separately.

For example, a store selling gift items to companies may add a ‘branding and delivery service’. Companies that opt for this additional service will have their logos branded on the gift items they purchase for an additional charge together with a free delivery

5. Identify Trends


A growing and sustainable trend is another opportunity to generate a profitable business idea. This is because a trend indicates the likely direction of a market. Taking advantage of this information, you can generate a business idea that promotes this trend.

This is more interesting when you discover that a growing trend has not gained traction in some countries. An example of this is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by law firms or hyper-interactive marketing by entrepreneurs.

For instance, growing trends in the payment industry led Uber (I’ve got to be paid for this publicity) and Amazon to create a unique customer experience where customers simply pick what they want and walk out without consciously paying. The way we lend money is also changing with services provided by ZestFinance, Affirm, and Fundera.

In 2016, Garner, Inc. issued a press release estimating that by 2020, more than 26 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. The potential for nearly everything we interact with to be connected to the Internet has given rise to new products such as smart light bulbs and thermostat.

6. Use Social Media

Social media can be a powerful means of identifying pain points and discovering how frequently people encounter the problem(s) you wish to solve. This enables you to develop a profitable business idea with a unique selling point that resonates deeply with your potential customers.

To get started, log into the social media channel your potential clients majorly use. Let’s take Twitter for instance. Enter the following search terms in the search box filling the boxes appropriately:

  • I wish I had a [service/product you want to offer]
  • I just paid someone to [service you want to offer]
  • Does anyone know a [service you want to offer]
  • Does anyone know how to [service you want to offer]
  • [Your competitor] is a horrible company
  • I hate [your competitor]

You may reach out to these consumers to learn more about their frustrations with an existing service, product or competitor, and know how to leverage these deficiencies to establish a valuable brand for your company.

7. Federal Government

The Federal Government is an unusual source of business ideas, thus very few people are aware of it.

The Federal Government can help you generate business ideas in two ways. First, the files of the Patent Office contain numerous products possibilities that can stimulate powerful ideas. Second, new product ideas can evolve in responses to government regulations.

After generating ideas using the methods discussed above, take your ideas through a reality check. This is necessary to test the viability of your ideas. It is unwise to invest heavily in an idea until you’re sure people will be willing to pay for it.

You can test your ideas by building a prototype or test service, building a minimum viable product, creating a marketing plan, and interacting with potential consumers in the market.

When Is an Idea Too Big?

Many people do not take action often because they’re scared that their ideas are way beyond their budget and ability. How do you know when you have an unreasonably big idea?

There is no direct answer to this question. What is too big for you may not be too big for someone else, depending on a host of factors including background, experiences, and resources.

Generally, an idea is too big for you if you can’t think of the next step after conceiving it. But this doesn’t mean you should dispose of the idea when you reach a dead end. Your best bet is to write it down until you’re better equipped and informed to execute it.

In the interim, build up your knowledge base, do some side hustle to raise capital, build your network, and do everything it takes to equip yourself. Also, be careful not to share this idea with anyone, especially if you haven’t expressed it in any form. Your idea is protected by copyright only if you can show proof of a tangible medium of expression.

Ideas are powerful, but only those who take them serious enough to act on them get the benefits. You may just be one step away from your breakthrough using the above methods to generate your next business idea. It doesn’t have to be the next big thing; all it has to do is creatively solve problems.

You never know how big a tree will grow until you plant its seeds. Go ahead and plant your potatoes.


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