How do you find a market need? How to find the next business 'idea' ?

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Hello everyone,

Sold one of my websites because I wanted to get out of that industry, wasn't worth it, now I'm sitting on cash, I want to get into a real, long term business but hell if I know where to look.

I've looked into market reports and studying numbers... looking to see if there's other ways to find business ideas, real problems, real market needs

How do you find a market need?

Thank you
 
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Look for traffic trends. If you can see where there are flows of large numbers of people then it is likely there is something you can sell to them.

Finding audiences is always much easier than finding market needs.
 

bernard

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Find one of those people who are always trying some new thing.

I am definitely not a first mover. I become aware of new stuff 2-3 years after it is mainstream.

Some people seem to be constantly on the lookout for new things to do, find them and follow their Insta and Twitter.
 

stackcash

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First off, what are your reasons and goals for starting a business?
 

eliquid

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Man, this is such a loaded question.

I think it depends on where you are in life. I say this because over the years my answer to this type of question has changed and I realized it changes as I change. And for that, you realize answers become personalized dependent on where you are in life.

--

In my early life, I use to be like you. Hunting around to where I can find business ideas, problems, and market needs. I believed the whole, "if you just find a need and talk to people.. you'd cash out" thing.

Does that work for some people? I'm sure it does. But I didn't say all people or all the time either.

The problem with "finding" needs and building is, what's going to get you through the brick walls?

And talking to people ( dentists, lawyers, business owners, etc ) doesn't lead to sales. People will tell you they need and want this, but then after you build it they never pull out their wallet. So why bother talking and surveying?

And now you built something you relied on other people to tell you. What happens when you need to pivot? You don't even know what you built so are you going to talk to people again to pivot? lol. Have fun with that.

When the going gets tough, this is something you built you don't even understand.. so you will lose interest quickly too when you hit bumps in the road more than likely.

Also, I typically found when I did find something the market needed and I got money out of it, someone was right there to copy and try to steal it from me. This is frustrating for someone that comes up with unique and new things, an inventor or creator to see someone pull the rug from under you on something you build from your own hands.

Which lead me to trying a different way of finding ideas, opportunities, and needs....

--

Then I moved to finding areas that fit me and my personality type, where I can be an authority.

This is where I started finding out who and what I am and what I like. This is where I started building and filling needs I needed ( so I was an authority ), like SERPWoo.

This got me through brick walls. This got me through not having to ask people what I needed to build. This got me past pivots and where to turn when something failed. This got me a much easier build and ownership mentality with less stress.

This helped me find an audience instead of a need.

But I still had issues with this model. Many things.. like people still trying to copy and steal from me or the sense I still needed to do more ( in other industries, markets, etc ), etc. No one was doing what SERPWoo did before we launched, now everyone does and still routinely steals from us. Might not be an issue for you, but for someone like myself.. it is.

This is a huge discussion, but I am going to leave it simple for now so I can tell you about the next shift I am figuring out.

--

Moving to building things that accomplish your goals.

I am not saying this is for everyone and this can be accomplished other ways. But this is what fits me now at this stage of life. You might not be at this stage though, so just take it with a grain of salt.

In the end, it makes more sense bc we all try to run a successful business to "accomplish our goals", right? So why not start there.

Example: I like to travel. I find I like to travel to places that are familiar to me, but I am open to new adventures too. But I largely go to the same cities. I like to stay at the beach 100% of the time and I like to stay for 3-6 weeks when I travel, not 4-6 days. I pretty much want to retire or semi-retire at the beach too.

How could a business accomplish this for me? Sure I could run a big business or some lifestyle business and push the revenue into affording me to travel.. OR I could build something that accomplishes my goal within the same industry as my goal.

Solution: Rental Real Estate / AirBNB / etc in the cities at the beach I enjoy most. Maybe duplexes near the beach in Ft Lauderdale. Maybe condos in San Diego. Maybe a quad in Ensenada. When I want to travel to Portugal or somewhere else, I use the travel as a write off to find another rental there.

Another goal of mine, is to have housing for my children as they grow older. I have 3 kids and while none of them are "sponges" or dead beats, I want to have a place I can give them to live if they need it as they grow older. Having several duplexes or quads or other real estate where one can live for free on one side, while tenants pay for the mortgage on the other seems to be a way to accomplish this. So my solution above shows me what business I would want to build next.

Maybe your goal is to drive Ferraris and Lambos all day and party like a rockstar at night. Could you learn to flip exotic cars and start a nightclub? Or maybe at least do YouTube videos about Gold Diggers like Hooman so you can do the same?

I'm moving further and further away from chasing market needs and having the market try to tell me what I interpret to be a need. I'm moving away from making other people happy and them not pulling out their wallets when I build what they want, to just building what I want and need. Instead of building a company that does and services XYZ customers so I can reroute a salary and dividends to me so I can ABC ( my goals ), I just build the ABC company and get a direct route to my ABC ( goals ).

I also don't have to worry about issues like "creating something new and unique from nothing" and having entire markets steal and copy me. I just focus on the company itself, as the company is the actual goal itself.

--

Most people don't think like this.

Is it right? IDK

But don't we all build things, hoping to cash out enough so we can do "other things" with our money?

Why not just build directly the "other things" you want out of life?
 
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illmasterj

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For what it's worth @eliquid, I once read you say something like "you can build a new business to cover an expense in your life". Maybe your example was building a website to fund a house purchase for your family (I can't remember sorry).

This resonated big time. Over the last few years I've done exactly that. One of my rank and rent sites paid for my house rent, our utility bills, food, etc. Then I wanted a new car, so another site paid for that. As I've built confidence these businesses have naturally pivoted to the things I want/enjoy too, as you mention above.

Could I make more with bail bond leads? Probably, but I don't know if I'd have the drive to stick with that longer than a couple of years...

@Marko what's your end game? What makes you tick? Is it just that your website was too higher risk for the reward (Amazon affiliate site) and you feel a physical business is more stable? Or do you actually want to open up a shop every day and speak with people?
 

Ryuzaki

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I don't have a lot of time and may repeat what @eliquid has said, but I'll risk it to maybe add something new to chew on:

If you don't know an industry intimately yourself, you'll never truly understand the industry's need you're attempting to solve well enough to solve it well, or really understand if it's a legitimate need. Can lose a lot of money chasing this type of thing. Starting this line of questioning in your own industry is much better.

Alternately, like @MrMedia said, you can follow the people. The way I think about this is big verticals always have a slice of the pie I can take. So as long as you don't choose something goofy and too niche, there will be a pie and a slice for you. Competition and volume are not only safety nets but raise the ceiling on your potential exit value.

Another thing to consider to help narrow it all down is to not try to invent something new or reinvent the wheel. Just ask yourself "what is my monetization plan?". Is it a product, service, something-as-a-service? Do I want to operate and control the whole vertical funnel or do I want to simply insert myself into the funnel horizontally and take a slice of the pie (like being a distributor or display ad guy)? These questions not only start to help you form a road map but they also give you perspective so you can see the forest from the trees.

If you don't want to run the whole funnel and just insert yourself into a part of it, the method becomes more important than the industry. I can take my operation into any vertical or niche and it will do just fine, which has led to me not giving a single iota of care to whether or not I personally like my target industry. I'm worried more about volume and competition to drive prices up at my level of the funnel.
 

secretagentdad

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I look at the volume of keywords and brand keywords in the niche as a sum total.

If the generics have the right ratio to the brand keywords I test by buying some keyword domains and then letting them drop to see if they auction.

Look at if the industry has divergent lexicon and chase rent by filling in growing keyword trees that have brands backing them.

Some niches are easier than others. Usually if you read the words out loud and think a little you can see why there is a lack of brand volume in the space. The niches with the best rent ratios are typically niches that are shitty to fullfill in for what ever reason.
 

CCarter

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Profitero has some data that can help give you ideas: The Top Products Sold on Amazon Prime in Q1

My suggestion is to look at Instagram and see what consumers are gravitating towards. There are so many sub-niches to find within hashtags. It's really eye opening as to what they spend their money on. IF you are going after consumers (B2C).

If you are targeting business (B2B) - create products/services that make the business seem less chaotic.