The truth about the startup ideas: it is just a placeholder, to get your investors, co-founder and employees excited till you find your play in the marketplace. If you are lucky enough to make it big as an entrepreneur, you will discover that by the time you make it big, your idea has evolved into something completely different.
If you are thinking about startup ideas, I recommend the following thought process:
Pick the biggest possible market that you are personally excited about. It must be Billion+ Market and you should have genuine interest to play in in it. As a matter fact, you can select multiple markets / industries. Spend some time observing the trends in the industry and learn as much as you can about it. It will help immensely if you are currently working in that industry. Once you have a market nailed, think about gaps and quick money making opportunities and hopefully that is where you will find your startup idea.
So what is the idea? Startup idea is just to get you started, it should be simple, easy to understand, single revenue stream opportunity that you can get up and running quickly at a low cost.
Does it have to be unique? Not really. It is about execution and that should be 10x better than others.
Raising Money? You should not need VC investment till you start making money, if you do then go back to drawing board – you have not found your startup idea yet. I am not against going to VCs but you should not raise VC money till you are a business until then it is just a project / serious hobby.
What if it fails? No problem, it is better to fail fast because you do not want to go too far in the wrong direction. If you pick big market you will have more room to pivot and keep pivoting and reinventing till you succeed in making money.
What if it is good? Once you succeed in generating some revenues (does not have to be large), only then go out and raise money i.e. to scale / grow and hopefully with the right VCs and mentors you will figure out your play in the market.
What If I don’t have an idea? Remember, idea is just a placeholder. It would not be a bad idea to get a job with one of the cool startups in that market / industry that you are passionate about. At the end of the day we are all betting on the industry (including VCs) while ideas continuously evolve. Working at a startup is probably the second best place to learn entrepreneurship and hopefully it will help you evolve into one naturally.
Remember, Ralph Lauren started out with just ties, Ryan Seacrest started out as a DJ, and Richard Branson advertised popular records in the Student Magazine. All three of them started out very small and with an idea that was not very unique and ended up taking over the their respective industries.