Business Ideation: How to Discover New Business Ideas

In 2007, a pair of roommates moved to San Francisco. They were broke, jobless, and they didn’t have money for rent. They needed to come up with a quick hustle. With a conference coming around the corner, they noticed that all the hotels in the city were sold out. That’s when one of them came up with an idea.

They bought a few air mattresses, put them in their living room, and were able to rent it out.

That company is now known as

Last year, I left the affiliate marketing space after 13 years. Everyone started wondering, “Charles, what are you going to do next?

The truth is that I didn’t have a master plan. I was burnt out from the space and wanted to do something different.

So then I started asking myself, what DO I want to do now? I didn’t have any crazy ideas in my back pocket.

That’s what led me down the path of studying business ideation—the process of coming up with business ideas.

It can be a disappointing journey because everything centers around either “Follow your passion” or “Scratch your own itch.

Another problem is that founders tend to rewrite history. As soon they grow to a certain size, a public relations manager comes in and starts changing the story.

It’s kinda like how Facebook was founded with the noble goal of promoting free expression and giving a voice to the powerless. It DEFINITELY didn’t start as a hot-or-not rip-off.

I dove deep and researched everything I could find on business ideation. I studied the best practices of different startups. I probably listened to 100+ episodes of How I Built This (The pandemic lockdown gave me too much free time).

Every origin story is unique, but I started seeing some patterns. Most successful companies don’t start with a “Eureka!” moment.

Founders are more like mad scientists.

You come up with a hypothesis for the future and start running experiments. It becomes a process of rapid iteration in a race to beat the competition and to become profitable before the bank goes to zero.

This is my attempt at organizing business ideation into a simple to understand framework. Through this framework, I was able to figure out different ideas that I’m excited to pursue.

If anyone’s interested in a more strategic way of coming up with your next business, this is for you. […]

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