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Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Oct 28, 2008

Sanjeev Bhikhchandani: How big is your idea?

Source: Wisdom in hindsight: So Whats your Big Idea

A few months ago I spoke at a conference on entrepreneurship at IIM Ahmedabad. In the audience were several students who were aspiring to be entrepreneurs. The most persistent question thrown at the speakers during informal interactions in the evening was “I want to be an entrepreneur – what business should I start?”.

Most of the speakers who were there found the question a bit absurd. Any business that you start has to be your idea – you cannot go haring after an idea that someone else has given you in a casual conversation.

So the question becomes - where do the best business ideas come from and is that where you’ve been looking? While good ideas can come from anywhere or anyone, the best ones come from observing and interacting with customers.

If you know your prospective customers well enough, if you have spoken to them, if you have been a customer yourself, if you have felt the pain – then perhaps you have gained customer insights which contain in them the germ of great business idea.

Great business ideas are those that solve a customer’s problem. Sometimes customers will tell you what problem they need solved. At other times they will not articulate it and you will have to dig deep. Many times customers will not even know they have a problem – you will have to get into their skin, join the dots and figure it out for yourself.

However you look at it – successful new businesses usually solve a problem. So the first test of a great business idea is whether you are solving an unsolved problem.


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