For many business owners, coming up with promising ideas that will drive their company and sales forward can be daunting. Firstly, good ideas don’t grow on trees. And second, with the explosion of the number of startups today, generating something well- thought and original is almost next to impossible. Is there a better way to collect great ideas? How can you, as a business owner, produce insights that will prove beneficial to your company? Here are five ways to help create better business approaches to hasten success in your startup journey. #1. Find new ideas from customer’s feedback When was the last time you asked for feedback from your customers? If there’s someone who can give you the best opinion about your business, it’s your customers (not your wife, friend, or business partner). Customers experience your brand better than anyone else. They are the first ones who can actually notice the good and bad side of your business. Through them, you’ll be able to see your shortcomings and limitations. For example, Avon, the giant skincare and cosmetic company didn’t first start out to sell beauty products. David McConnell, the founder, first started the business by direct selling books. The story was McConnell sold books and offered his female customers perfumes as ‘little gifts’ to go with their purchase. However, as time went by, he found that the women didn’t care about the books any more and were actually more interested in the perfume. He used their feedbacks to implement a major change in his business. Not long after, California Perfume Company was born which later became Avon. #2. Ask yourself ‘what’s missing’? One of the gravest mistakes people do is giving up on an idea once they find out that it’s already been done. DON’T! There are actually infinite ways to make your idea stand out. Giving up prematurely prevents you from discovering better approaches. The best way to generate exceptional business ideas is to look at everything in different perspectives. You’re never too late and you can always find a better way to do things. You just have to think creatively. In fact, you’re in a better standpoint because you can improve and learn from the existing competition. What are other consumers saying about their business? Think about what they are failing at? How can you use this information to improve your own? Let’s review Snapchat’s success for example. First, we all thought Snapchat was going to be another Instagram, until it proved otherwise. Sure, both of them are photo-sharing apps but then Snapchat provides something which Instagram doesn’t: discretion. By default, Snapchat deletes messages (usually in the form of pictures and videos) once it has been viewed by the recipient. If they were left unopened, the servers will automatically delete the photo in 30 days. Groundbreaking businesses ideas were the ones who created better solutions. To find exceptional ideas, you have to look around, find out what is missing. #3. Combine different ideas Sometimes we’re all so caught up with trying to be ‘original’ that it becomes a struggle to find an outstanding business idea. However, when you look at other ideas, you’ll see that most of them are simply fantastic combinations of two great ideas. For example, Gutenberg’s idea of the printing press first started as but a combination of two existing business. The wine press and the coin punch. Combining these two ideas helped him perfect the techniques of printing, which resulted in better practicability and eventually success. The process is simple. By combining two different ideas, you create a new one that will result to an original solution. Entrepreneurs who can look for these combinations by paying attention to their business and everyday ventures can generate new business ideas effortlessly. #4. Mash-up the old and new Find inspiration in history. What ideas from the past can be given a modern twist today? Think of the best ideas that were formulated centuries ago – study how and why people liked them. Human psychology remains the same throughout the years; only our needs change that’s why inventions and trends that started long ago don’t work so well now. However, that doesn’t mean these ideas are useless. For example, car restoration business is a booming new trend today. Who would have thought ancient cars would roam our cities again? It may come as a bit of a surprise to you (unless you’re a car enthusiast) to know that restoring classic cars is as much a growing business as auto repair is. And I believe this has got a lot to do with the classic car’s appeal and beauty. #5. And lastly, look in the mirror Sometimes the best place to come up with the most exceptional business idea is in yourself. You’d find better ideas if you ‘Look in The Mirror’. According to Tim Berry, “the heart of the business is that trio of identity, market, and focus”. You will be most successful and come up with the best ideas if your business revolves around you and what you want to do. In other words, you need to have a passion for a business you’d want to start. Business owners often turned their hobbies and skills into satisfying profitable business. The best thing about starting a business that you have passion for is you’ll actually get to enjoy going to work. However, it isn’t all fun and games. Turning a hobby into a source of living can create stress. And you have to anticipate this truth before you start your business. Conclusion Sometimes best ideas come to us when we least expect it. No form of strategy or method can give you your most awaited break. Often, the challenge lies into practicing your brain to see insights and valuable ideas in everything. Getting stuck at the thinking phase far too long can make you lose heart. But once you get over this phase, generating business ideas won’t be a problem anymore. Think you’re ready to be the next quintessential entrepreneur? Try the tips and above and see how you can transform your business. Image: Business, Internet and technology concept. Businessman select Ideas.