How to come up with great
startup ideas By Teboho Khauoe
Coming up with a great startup
idea can prove to be
challenging, and to make
matters worse, the best startup
ideas sound really stupid in the
beginning according to Paul
Graham Co-founder of the
world's most powerful startup
They have helped companies
like Dropbox, Airbnb, Zenefits
and 10 other companies
reach over the 50 billion
So then, how do you come up with a great startup idea? Well,
here are a few quick tips.
Rule number 1:
Never try to imaginatively think up ideas, don’t try to come
up with ideas at all.
The truth is, customers won't buy your product or service
because it's a great idea.
Rule number 2:
Customers buy solutions to their problems and needs that are
underserved. Come up with a great solution to an existing
problem, and people will be willing to spend their money on you
even before you have the product. And that's when you know
you have come up with a truly great idea.
How do you practically come
up with these great ideas?
The answer to that would be to think about your own personal
pain points, these may be problems you may be facing and day
to day things that frustrate you.
Ask yourself, what are your own underserved needs. Think
about what takes longer than it should, what's too expensive,
what is a real inconvenience you experience, etc.
The second way is to think about what other people may be
going through and what their pain points are.
If you come from a community with a shortage of resources, Or
any place with underserved needs, you will be in a great place
to come up with ideas that will improve the quality of life in that
community, by focusing on some of the pain points unique to
A great example of this is Thato
Kgatlhanye who made School
bags out of recycled plastics for
children in poverty-stricken
She saw that many children
would walk kilometers to school
using plastic bags to carry their
books. Furthermore, they
struggled to do their homework
under candlelight each night.
So she developed a durable
bag, ironically made out of
recycled plastic bags. She
managed to give these kids
bags, keep the environment
clean and employ community
members before she turned 21.
The bags also came with solar
lamps that are charged each
day as the kids walked to
school. All her eﬀorts are paid
for and sponsored by
corporates and businesses.
Always have in mind that the
reason why you do this exercise
of listing problems instead of
coming up with ideas of your
own imagination is because
people don’t buy products. They
buy solutions to problems. And
if it's a great solution, they will
buy really quickly and tell
everyone they know. You want
customers to fight over being
first in your pre-orders waiting
Having more than one idea is not only great but it's a must.
The journey of an entrepreneur
is about coming up with an idea
and seeing if people will buy
into it. If not, then you need to
be able to change some of the
components of that idea to
better suit your potential
customer or jump to the next
idea really quickly to see if there
is a need for it.
Rule number 3:
Never try to hard-sell your solution, rather listen to customer
feedback and hear what they like and dislike about the solution.
Take the negative feedback as an opportunity to tweak and
make changes. If you can get this part right, then you are
already on your way to success.
Perhaps the next great idea will come from you. If you come up
with a great idea and need advice and free learning resources
that will help you along your journey, send me an email at
I would love to hear from you.