Advice from Successful Startup Founders: How Do You Find Great New Business Ideas?

Image of Successful Startup Founders Weigh In: How Do You Find Great New Business Ideas | From Natfluence

If you’re looking for new business ideas to pursue, try starting with the words of Andy Mooney, the CEO of Fender and former CFO of Nike:

Successful business ideas often come from simple observation of human behavior.

Limited Edition footwear at Nike came from someone pulling up beside me in my used black Porsche 924 in a shiny new yellow Sebring Edition 924 Porsche and me wondering if the concept of Limited Edition would work in athletic footwear. It worked. 

The Disney Princess idea came from waiting in line at a Disney on Ice show and seeing mothers and daughters decked out in princess regalia they’d made at home.”

Image of Andy Mooney | CEO of Fender | From "Find New Business Ideas - Advice from Successful Founders | Natfluence Article | Business Ideas for Startup Series
Image from Natfluence Interview with Andy Mooney | Photo courtesy of Andy Mooney & Fender

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How to Find New Business Ideas & Pursuits

Whether you’re on a journey to find new business ideas for startup success, or trying to figure out where to focus your expertise, this guide breaks down how to get you there faster.

Most people spend a great deal of time thinking about their ideas and their dreams before they begin acting on them.

Top entrepreneurs, however, take a slightly different approach. They focus more on taking action. They tend to be forward-thinking and trust their instinct.

They reached their destination by being open to growth and discovery — which included embracing failure.

To explore this concept further, the Natfluence team interviewed several successful startup founders and industry experts. We focused on how they found new business ideas, what helped them most in their career and how they figured out what to pursue .

From our research, we identified 5 (five) strategies for helping entrepreneurs find new business ideas. These strategies also help industry experts to narrow their focus and become thought leaders in their field.

Here is a glimpse of the Natfluence interviews featured in this guide:

  • Andy Mooney— CEO of Fender, Former CFO of Nike
  • Ada Polla — Founder of Alchimie Forever
  • Jared Hecht — Founder of Fundera, Forbes “30 under 30″
  • Celeste Headlee — Award-winning Journalist, Speaker, and Author
  • Nobu Matsuhisa – Owner of Nobu, Michelin-star Chef
  • Angelou Ezeilo — Founder and CEO of Greening Youth Foundation
  • Emilie Aries — CEO and Founder of Bossed Up


1: Focus on What You are Passionate About

Great business ideas are all around you. You know this. But will you stick with an idea long enough to see it through?

Success for any business initiative requires some extent of passion.


Because you’ll face doubt and rejection and even ridicule along the way. A strong positive emotion gives you the strength you need to push through the hard times.

Successful businesses are often led by entrepreneurs who didn’t give up when it got tough.

So how do you do this?

Overcoming uncomfortable and challenging stages requires faith, commitment, and confidence. And that’s where your passion comes into play.

Passion empowers you with the determination to plow through the hard times. It’s passion that allows you to keep your eye on the ball and see the bigger picture.

But let’s not forget one thing.

If you stop recognizing the excitement or value in what you are doing, it becomes easy to give up. It’s important to regularly tap back into your passion and remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. The journey itself should be exciting and thrilling.

Here are two real-life examples of the power of passion that started at an early age:

Image of Ada Polla | Founder of Alchimie Forever | From "Find New Business Ideas - Advice from Successful Founders | Natfluence Article | Business Ideas for Startup Series
Image from Natfluence Interview with Ada Polla | Photo courtesy of Ada Polla and Alchimie

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Ada Polla, Co-Founder of Alchimie Forever, started in the beauty industry at ten years old. Her father had a hard time finding front desk help at his dermatology practice, so Polla helped out after school. She saw how most of his patients were young children who had to come for treatment repeatedly, over many months, sometimes years.

Over time, she witnessed these children blossom and build confidence. She became fascinated with how certain treatments and products could positively impact one’s feelings and actions. This experience stuck with her from then on.

Polla explained that the vision goes beyond skin. Her goals is to make the world a better place by helping people feel beautiful, confident and happy.

Her advice to others?

Building a brand takes time, patience, resources, and lots of love. Love what you do, passionately, and it will never seem like work.”

Focusing on the “bigger picture” helped Polla build a successful plant-based skincare line from the ground up. She has since been nominated as a top-five “Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year” finalist by Entrepreneur Magazine and is a board member of the Independent Beauty Association.

Image of Nobu Matsuhisa | Owner of Nobu |  From How Do You Find Great New Business Ideas? Advice from Successful Founders | Natfluence Article
Image from Natfluence Interview with Nobu Matsuhisa | Photo courtesy of Nobu Matsuhisa

Nobu Matsuhisa, Michelin-star chef and owner of the iconic Nobu restaurant empire, discovered his passion as a child. His brother took him to his first sushi restaurant as a young boy and the experience changed his life forever. After he graduated high school, he pursued his passion by getting a job as a sushi apprentice at Matsuei, a sushi restaurant in Tokyo.

Things didn’t magically take off for Nobu. He started as a dishwasher. He trained hard and did whatever it took to immerse himself in the experience. It wasn’t until 7 years later that he was discovered by a customer who invited him to open a restaurant in Peru. Even then there were several hardships. The restaurant closed after three years, and when he tried to open his next restaurant an electrical fire burned it to the ground after two weeks. It took well over a decade until Nobu caught a break.

What carried him through?

His unwavering passion and commitment. Despite the challenges and setbacks, he didn’t let the bad parts take away from the love he felt for his trade. Instead, he used those experiences to make him a better chef and business owner – eventually catching the eye of Robert De Niro.

His passion allowed him to stay focused on the learning aspects rather than getting discouraged and giving up. Today, Nobu is known to the world as an acclaimed and highly influential chef proprietor and owner of Nobu.

New Business Ideas – Action Item 1: PASSION

Here are six (6) pointers from our friends at The Muse for helping to pinpoint your passion(s):

  1. Remember what you loved as a child
  2. Take money out of the equation
  3. Ask your friends for feedback
  4. Read through a university course catalog
  5. Identify your professional hero
  6. Think of what you enjoy that you also do well

Want to see immediate results?

Read this guide on identifying and pursuing your passions and do everything on this list. Then, answer the following questions posed by The Telegraph:

  • What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?
  • What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?
  • What would I spend my time doing if I had unlimited money to do anything?
  • Imagine that you are very old. What do you wish you had spent the last 20 to 30 years doing? 
  • What hobbies did you enjoy doing before life got in the way?
  • What jobs, tasks, or subjects do you loathe?
  • Who do I envy the most due to the work they do?

Here are 10 examples of profitable small business ideas driven by passion:

  1. Personal Trainer
  2. Home organizer
  3. Meal prep business
  4. Freelance writing
  5. Resume writer
  6. Home-based bakery or food business
  7. Etsy shop owner
  8. Event planning
  9. Life and career coach
  10. Virtual tutoring

* * *

2. Play to Your Strengths

Being passionate about something and being good at it are not always the same. The key is to find something that you care about and where have a comparative advantage.

If you get this right and find your “sweet spot,” this will skyrocket you ahead of others.

To do this, you must first be honest with yourself and identify your strengths. Then, you must believe in yourself.

Image of Successful Startup Founders How Do You Find Great New Business Ideas | Celeste Headlee | Award-winning Journalist | Public Broadcast Radio Show Host | Author | From Natfluence
From Natfluence Interview with Celeste Headlee | Attribution & editorial credit for photo: Jeff Roffman

Identifying your strengths takes attention, awareness, and a lot of trial and error. You’ll need to think outside of the box, explore and take risks. If you don’t try something, you won’t know if you’re good at it or not.

Celeste Headlee, is an award-winning journalist, professional speaker, and author. She says that she is the best version of herself when she is aware of her strengths. Her advice is to put hard thought into what your strengths are and figure out what you do well. Headlee follows her own advice and plays to her strengths.

Headlee is good at distilling important points from interviews, research studies or books. She then pulls in other relevant information to create a well-researched perspective on human issues. She applies these strengths to her successful career in journalism. She’s hosted radio shows and authored many books, all because she played to her strengths.

New Business Ideas – Action Item 2: STRENGTH

Here are ten (10) strategies to get a better sense of your strengths(i,ii):

1. Find five (5) people who are close to you (friends, family, significant others, relatives). Ask them each to tell you three things they think you’re good at. 

2. Find five (5) people who somewhat know you (acquaintances,  friends of friends, colleagues). Ask them for one or two things they think you are good at (or have “heard” that you are good at).

3. Identify what comes naturally to you (e.g., what is easy for you that might not be for others? What requires little extra effort or little training to do? What can you do very quickly and effectively?)

4. Tap into your instinct and ask yourself what you “feel” confident about doing. This one may seem tricky because you don’t need specific evidence. You don’t even have to have done it before. Often, our subconscious knows more than we do.

5. In what areas of your life have you excelled? For example, have you won awards, positive performance reviews, promotions, credentials, etc.?

What tangible evidence and recognition have you received for your specific skills? (This could also include credentials, licenses and test scores.)

6. Think back to when you got unsolicited positive feedback or recognition. For example, from employers, co-workers or even strangers. 

7. In what areas or fields do you have a deeper knowledge and understanding than the average person? 

8. Think back to a time when you were in your element. What were you doing during those times? What makes you feel engaged and energized?  

9. Take a personality test or assessment and identify what is unique to you. There are many different tests to choose from. The Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and The Disc Assessment are good ones to start with.

10. Take an aptitude test to help identify natural abilities. Again, there are many different reputable tests to choose from. Here are four options that will test a variety of strengths and skills:

* * *

3. Address a Problem or Need and Provide Unique Value

Once you’ve identified your passions and strengths and narrowed down your focus, you’re in an excellent position. Now you’ll be better equipped to identify which new business ideas or topics will be most rewarding.

This means it’s time to think about OTHERS and translate your new business ideas or projects into reality.

Your passions and strengths were about YOU, but solving real-world problems requires looking beyond yourself. To build a business that will be lucrative and establish you as a leader, you need to consider other factors.

For example, you’ll need to think about the market.

For your idea to take off, it should be something people want or need. What is something people don’t have enough of? What will make people’s lives better? What problem or inconvenience are you solving for?

“…most creative people can easily determine the problems that consumers encounter every day by using a simple method: observation.”

“…most creative people can easily determine the problems that consumers encounter every day by using a simple method: observation.”

Stephen Key, Co-founder of InventRight

If your new business ideas and skills are in high demand, people will pay more for them. This payment could come in the form of money, time or support – which are all important.

So, how do you know if you’re addressing an important problem with a marketable solution?

The co-founders of InventRight, Andrew Krauss and Stephen Key, have some great advice.

Large companies spend millions of dollars on market research to identify consumer needs. Yet, most creative people can determine the problems consumers encounter every day with a simple method: observation.”

Stephen believes that when you are attentive to your surroundings, you notice opportunities. He advises studying the marketplace.

“Look for holes, needs or wants not filled and come up with ideas to fill those holes, needs, or wants in the marketplace.”

Here is an entrepreneur success story that shows how this works in practice:

Image of Jared Hecht | Founder of Fundera | From "Find New Business Ideas - Advice from Successful Founders | Natfluence Article | Business Ideas for Startup Series
Image from Natfluence Interview with Jared Hecht | Photo courtesy of Jared Hecht and Fundera

Jared Hecht is the CEO & Founder of Fundera, a leading online marketplace that matches small business owners to the best possible lender. He previously founded GroupMe, which was acquired by Microsoft.

The inspiration for Fundera was born from a real-life problem involving Jared Hecht’s cousin, who was looking for a loan to expand his restaurant.

Hecht’s cousin had visited several banks, all of whom denied his request for a loan. Despite it being a thriving business with over 50 employees, he was not able to get a loan.

The reason?

He hadn’t been in business for more than five years and restaurants were considered to be a “a risky industry.”

When Hecht helped his cousin look into online lenders, he was bombarded by offers, confused by the various options, and didn’t know who to trust.

He thought to himself that his cousin couldn’t be the only entrepreneur who had this problem. And he was right.

Hecht learned that banks were failing to meet entrepreneurs’ demands for credit.

In fact, more than 40% of small businesses were seeking funding to grow, but less than 20% received the capital they needed. Another 5 million business owners needed funding but didn’t ask because they assumed they would be rejected.

So, what did he do?

Jared Hecht created Fundera to help small business owners sort through the clutter of the online lending market, and find the best fit for their business. Fundera has since helped 85,000+ small businesses and secure over $2.5 Billion in loans.

New Business Ideas – Action Item 3: PROBLEMS & NEEDS

In a world with so many problems and needs, how do you find one you can devote your life to addressing?

Here’s a good starting point for new business ideas and projects:

  • Think about some of your biggest pet peeves or frustrations. Now think of ways to fix them. For example, you could update the cereal packaging you struggle with every morning. Or create a mobile app to help you find a parking spot. You get the idea!
  • Focus on things you can improve instead of starting from scratch. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Amazon made online shopping better. Netflix made watching TV better. What basic activity could you make better?
  • Find out what people are searching for the most online using tools like Google Trends.
  • Discover popular content online. It can illustrate a potential window for your business idea to thrive. Tools like Alltop help you identify popular stories. Look for the subjects (and ideas) that continue to make news.
  • Leverage social media (e.g., Facebook and Instagram polls) and the internet to find out what people want. Use questionnaires, surveys, focus groups and forum conversations to ask your audience. You can even set up free surveys using Google Forms, SurveyMonkey or SoGoSurvey.
  • Use digital insight tools like Followerwonk and Hootsuite They can help you find, analyze, and optimize social content based on your big idea.
  • Follow thought-leaders and influencers in the industries you’re interested in. Pay attention to what they are posting about on social media. What topics of content are they sharing? How much traction do their posts get?
  • Look around your own community and zero in on local problems that need a solution. Attend local city council meetings and small business networking events. Join local community groups on social media. You can even use apps like NextDoor to see what your neighbors are discussing. Your small area can serve as a good testing ground for new business ideas before you tackle a larger market.
  • Plan for the future. Your great idea could solve a problem that doesn’t even exist yet. Innovators like Elon Musk thought ahead to what the world and humanity would need down the line. What might be a problem people encounter when self-driving cars become the norm? Or drone delivery? Your next great idea could be the product of good foresight.

* * *

4. Don’t Do it Alone – Maintain a Support Network

Image of Successful Startup Founders How Do You Find Great New Business Ideas | Angelou Ezeilo | | Founder & CEO of Greening Youth Foundation From Natfluence
Image from Natfluence Interview with Angelou Ezeilo | Photo courtesy of Angelou Ezeilo and GYF

Few things in business are as powerful as a personal reference. So, maintain a support network that will build your credibility and open new doors. 

This won’t happen overnight. It requires hard work, social savvy and the fearlessness to put yourself out there. Your network plays a critical role in growing your business. This includes friends and family as well as colleagues and business contacts. It’s all about who you know.

Whether you’re finding customers, securing partners or scaling up development, your network matters. shares 5 lessons to building stronger networks. Their tips include:

1. Focus on the openness and size of your network. This might mean widening your scope beyond the narrow industry or market your business is in. Even if these are weak ties, they can still pay off in the long run.

2. Build real relationships with people outside of selling yourself or your business. Networking is less about making sales and more about community and connections.

3. Invest in relationships with your time, energy, and your own connections. You won’t always get something in return, and that’s okay. Be honest and trustworthy. Make an effort to put other people in touch with good contacts. People will remember and appreciate it.

4. Keep it authentic with the people in your network. Treat everyone like the unique individuals they are. Practice gratitude by thanking people when they help you. Build a relationship based on things like shared interests, passions, work history, etc.

5. Look outside of work too. You never know when you might meet a person who transforms your life for the better. At the gym, when volunteering, in the grocery store . . . stay open-minded and always be developing your network.

Networking is cyclical. Angelou Ezeilo (quoted above) discovered this when building the Greening Youth Foundation (GYF). GYF is a nonprofit dedicated to getting underrepresented young people into environmental careers. Connections play a vital role in growing GYF, Ezeilo explains.

“Relationships with different colleges and universities have propelled GYF onto a national platform.”

Once students became aware of our offerings, they spread the news to their peers. Engaging more students gives us the justification to create opportunities with new partners. It’s a great cycle.”

Make sure being part of your network feels good and offers something meaningful. This will make the people in your network want to reciprocate and add their own value.

Image of Emilie Aries | CEO & Founder of Bossed Up | From Natfluence Article | Successful Startup Founders How Do You Find Great New Business Ideas
Image from Natfluence Interview with Emilie Aries | Photo courtesy of Emilie Aries and Bossed Up

Burnout is real. Overworking yourself is detrimental to your health and happiness, and your career.

Emilie Aries, speaker, podcaster, author, and CEO of Bossed Up, knows from experience. She chased her “dream job” until it turned into the pursuit of pleasing and performing for others. She realized she wasn’t working towards her own sustainable success. So, it was time for a change.

Emilie Aries wanted to cultivate a community where women could network with each other. It would be a place where they could learn about tips and tools and support each other. The community would help them bring balance, collaboration and wellbeing into their careers.

Aries went on to create a platform and wrote a book to share their stories. She’s devoted her life to building community around personal and professional development. 

Networking isn’t only about making contacts that will benefit your career. It’s about connecting with other people in a genuine way. The goal is to share experiences and find support as you get your footing in your industry.

New Business Ideas – Action Item 4: NETWORK

Want to grow your network? Try these 11 essential ideas:

  1. Attend in-person networking events like conferences, trade shows, social networking meetups, etc.
  2. Join online forums and social groups. They are a great way to share information and connect people in a specific industry or space.
  3. Use social platforms for business, such as LinkedIn. Engage with your audience on channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It’s a great way to post surveys, get feedback and answer questions.
  4. Reach out to people in the same space who you admire and follow. Even touching base via email could open doors you didn’t know existed.
  5. Ask the people you already know to connect you with helpful contacts of theirs. These can turn into great allies or mentors in business.
  6. Organize your own events and programs. Gear them towards broadening your network and connecting with more people.
  7. Share your own thought-leader content online (e.g., articles, studies, surveys, etc.). This helps other people find you, hear about you, and follow you.
  8. Promote your achievements. Share them with stakeholders to increase credibility and post them on LinkedIn. Include them in your content bylines and on your website. You can even announcement in emails to your audience and customers.
  9. Ask for testimonials and endorsements from key business contacts. Choose the ones with whom you’ve had the most positive and productive relationship.
  10.  Connect with your college alumni network. 
  11.  Get involved. Volunteer, serve on a board or join a community organization. When you get involved with causes you care about, you’ll find like-minded people. They will end up being great resources as your business grows.

* * *

5. Stay the Course and Trust Your Instinct

“All the schooling, reading, and conversations you have will only take you so far – the rest is up to instinct and the ability to stay true to your heart no matter what anyone around you says.”

Hilary Laney, Owner and CEO at Evia Events

Coming up with new business ideas and eventually building a brand that sets you up for success requires passion, skill, specialization, and support. But don’t miss the most important component of all… your instinct.

Your intuition serves an important purpose. It’s the most powerful tool you have for the choices you make.


Because it’s always there, it has your best interest in mind, and it knows you better than anyone else.

Listening to your inner voice and trusting your instinct will help you succeed.

Hilary Laney, is the Owner and CEO of Evia Events, a digital event and media distribution company. She started at 24 as an Administrative Assistant at her father’s company, Tri-Digital. Over time, she climbed to Project Manager, then Team Leader, then President. Tri-Digital then became Evia Events. Besides a strong work ethic, Laney attributes her success to personal introspection. She learned to listen to her instinct and let it guide her. She has since been selected as a 40 Under 40 Honoree.

In an interview, when we asked her for career advice for entrepreneurs, she shared:

“All the schooling, reading, and conversations you have will only take you so far – the rest is up to instinct and the ability to stay true to your heart no matter what anyone around you says.”

Yet, recognizing your instinct and actually trusting it aren’t always the same thing. Developing trust with yourself is a must when running a company, no matter the size.

Build up your confidence as a leader, teammate and entrepreneur. It will give you the strength you need to make tough decisions and learn important lessons.

Image of Vanessa Phillips | Founder & CEO, Feel Good Foods | From Natfluence Article |  Image of Successful Startup Founders How Do You Find Great New Business Ideas | | Business Ideas for Startup Series
From Natfluence Interview with Vanessa Phillips | Photo courtesy of Vanessa Phillips and Feel Good Foods | Attribution credit: Daniela Spector

Vanessa Phillips is the founder & CEO of Feel Good Foods. She began her career in PR by promoting hotels and restaurants, but her passion was in food. Her gut told her that the position wouldn’t provide her with the creativity and freedom to do what she wanted in the food space.

So, she trusted her instinct. She quit PR and opened opened New York’s first gluten-free restaurant. Soon after, she set her sights higher. She sought to offer consumers gluten-free foods not just in a restaurant but in their homes.

Her business, Feel Good Foods, is now the fastest growing and #1 natural frozen appetizer company in the United States with products sold in over 12,000 grocery stores.

In an interview when we asked her for career advice for entrepreneurs, this is what she had to say:

Follow your gut. Big decisions can sometimes be flooded by data, consumer insight, and outside opinions. Although these factors help inform a decision, an important part of what makes a good entrepreneur is following your instinct. Being a forward thinker means making decisions before others catch on.”

New Business Ideas – Action Item 5: INSTINCT

Your natural instinct is like a built-in navigation system. All you need is the ability to access and listen to it. Try these simple yet effective ideas for mastering your sense of intuition:

Engage in mindfulness-cultivating practices. With meetings, phone calls, notifications ringing on your laptop . . . you might not experience a moment of quiet until your head hits the pillow at the end of the day.

As well as being great stress-relievers, yoga and meditation offer a chance to spend time in a quiet space. You can practice mindfulness and be more in touch with your body and mind. If you are in sync with your thoughts and feelings, you’ll be more aware when your gut tells you something.

Sign up for a yoga class at your local gym or stream free online yoga and meditation tutorials online. You can also download meditation apps such as Headspace, Calm, or Glo. They will guide you through your daily meditations.

Write in a journal. If you’re feeling lost, writing in a journal can be a great way to connect with and trust your own instinct. Taking even 20 minutes per day to write down your thoughts, goals and plans can help. It gives an order and structure to the frenzy of thoughts in your head and improves your peace of mind. This can help you to grow your business.

Some journaling methods, such as the Bullet Journal, help improve focus and productivity. This method helps you organize the various areas of your life, such as personal and business. You can create lists, grids, calendars and layouts.

Other methods, such as business journaling, encourage you to check in each day. BizJournals contributing writer Bryce Sanders recommends asking questions after every workday. Such as:

  • What good things happened today?
  • What other things happened today?
  • What did I do to drive (e.g., important business action, such as sales, content, outreach, etc.)?

Keep your business journal in the cloud (on an app like Google Docs or Evernote). That way, you’ll always have it with you no matter where you travel. You’ll never have an excuse not to write in it. 

Pay attention to your gut and your energy levels – You know that feeling, a sinking lump in the pit of your stomach? That’s your body relaying danger, worry and fear to you. Scientific studies have shown that, like your brain, your gut contains neurotransmitters too. Epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin all play a role in maintaining gastrointestinal homeostasis. 

Notice the sensations in your gut during times of excitement, nervousness or trepidation. They can be your internal barometer for gauging whether a decision feels right. 

The same goes for your energy levels. You might feel energized when you discuss exciting opportunities with a business partner. But you may feel drained if you are wading through unsolicited advice from someone else.

Listen to your body and make note of these signals. Pay attention to when your heartbeat speeds up, your stomach turns, or you get a headache or tension in your jaw.

Sleep on it. While acting on your intuition right away can make it powerful, you may want to sleep on it sometimes. When it comes to complex decisions, extra time and space can make a meaningful difference. Let your mind relax and release yourself from forcing a decision.

Entrepreneurship seems to move at lightning-fast speeds sometimes. Yet, you can sometimes move too fast to listen to your mind and body.

If you have a big or complex decision to make, try taking 24 hours to allow for some breathing room. Then you can revisit the decision or idea. The extra time ensures you’re contemplating with a clear mind and tuning into your intuition. If your gut feeling is the same as before, then this is telling you something. Always listen to your gut when it comes to new business ideas. 

TAKEAWAY: What to Remember About Finding New Business Ideas & Choosing Your Area of Expertise

When you’re looking for new business ideas or exploring an area of expertise, you don’t have to see the entire path ahead of you.

Often, you can find your answers by getting started on something that interests you. If you keep moving, you can learn and adjust course as you go.

Focus on figuring out how to take that first step. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself questions. Look at problems in creative ways so that you can find a direction that you’re excited to pursue.

You’ll develop your business idea along the way, as you learn more about your audience and their needs. The best business ideas balance your unique skills and the desires of your audience.

The same goes for choosing your area of expertise. You can always shift and adjust your focus over the years. But it’s a good idea to start with something you’re fascinated by. Is there a topic you could talk forever about? Or an industry you could keep learning about for years to come?

That’s likely to be something that will keep you interested for the long term.

Luckily, you don’t have to start from scratch. You can learn from those that have been where you are, and gotten to where you want to be.

There are many resources that can provide actionable guidance and real life stories on how to find new business ideas, how to align your interests with your strengths, and how to calibrate your mind for success. Keep scrolling to see our book recommendations. You’ll also find a convenient FAQ cheat sheet that summarizes the key points from this article.

Did you enjoy our article on “How Do You Find Great New Business Ideas“? If so, don’t miss these interviews with some of our featured startup founders and industry experts:

LEARN MORE: 5 Top Rated Books on How to Find New Business Ideas

The following are popular books relating to finding new business ideas, tackling the right mindset, and defining your niche.

Image of Tools of Titans | Book Cover

Tools of Titans

The latest book from Tim Ferriss, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek. This book contains tools, tactics, and routines of over 100 billionaires, icons, and world-class performers in diverse fields. It covers advice for success, how they reached ‘titan status,’ and how they doubled their income.

How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs

How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs

This book offers insights from the world’s top entrepreneurs on how to start, launch, and build a successful venture. The world of work has changed, and we’re shifting toward an ever more entrepreneurial, self-reliant, work-from-wherever-you-are economy. That can be a liberating force, and many professionals dream of becoming independent, whether by starting their own businesses, becoming consultants or freelancers, or developing a sideline. But there’s a major obstacle professionals face when they contemplate taking the leap: how to actually make money doing what they love.

Image of Book Cover | The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

Lead a life of adventure, meaning and purpose—and earn a good living. Chris Guillebeau completed a tour of every country on earth and yet he’s never held a “real job” or earned a regular paycheck. Rather, he has a talent for turning ideas into income, and he uses what he earns to support his life of adventure and to give back.  Guillebeau identified 1,500 individuals who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases, $100 or less), and focused on the 50 most intriguing case studies.

Image of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

The tipping point is that moment when an idea crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire – Just as a single person can start an epidemic, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend or the popularity of a new product. In this book, Malcolm Gladwell explores the tipping point phenomenon and how people think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

Image of The Business Idea Factory: A World-Class System for Creating Successful New Business Ideas | Book Cover

The Business Idea Factory: A World-Class System for Creating Successful Business Ideas

The Business Idea Factory presents an easy-to-use system for creating successful business ideas. It is based on 10 years of research into idea-generation techniques used by the world’s best scientists, artists, CEOs, entrepreneurs and innovators. The book contains stories and bits of wisdom necessary to increase the quantity and quality of new ideas. The strategies are aimed at finding successful business ideas and making life more adventurous.

FAQ CHEAT SHEET: Finding New Business Ideas & Choosing Areas of Expertise

Here’s a convenient summary of the key things to remember from this guide. Keep them in mind if you want to see noticeable results in the pursuit of your new business ideas:


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