How to Spark an Idea for a Business

By Chloe Hanson
May 31, 2022

The first step to developing a business is the formation of an idea. For some people, an idea may just fall into their lap as they have a random “lightbulb” moment. However, most of the time, the formation of an idea is not easy to come by, and takes time, money, and grit. 

Every idea has a start, whether that stems from a passion or a problem. Many people stumble across ideas to form an extraordinary product. “Processes in the business world are rarely linear,” says Bill Svoboda, co-founder of Close Simple, a company that provides real-estate closing software for title companies that keeps everyone informed during the closing process. Svoboda shares that the idea is the first step to starting a business, though there are many contributing factors. 

One main characteristic aiding entrepreneurs is the ability to take risks. Svoboda shared that if you cannot take a risk, you could struggle to take your ideas and form them into something tangible. He believes that in order to be a successful entrepreneur, you are required to form an idea and run wholeheartedly with it. How do you formulate an idea? There are two common ways: to identify a personal passion or a common problem.  

Passion Sparks Ideas 

Form an idea by identifying what you are passionate about and aim to invent a business out of that passion. This is a great way to start a business, as you will be more invested and dedicated to the idea if you are passionate about it. This was the case for several entrepreneurs. When asked what sparked the idea for their business, they responded: 

  • “When we started dating, we bonded over McQuaid’s love for videography and my love for photography. It was a dream to start a business that combined our two passions. In 2019, we sat down and decided to begin Boo Creative.” 

           -Shay Boo, co-founder of Boo Creative

  • “I was in college, and it was the first time I had lived in my own place. My house was in St. Paul, it was winter, and it was dark. I began to ask myself, ‘what made my parents’ house have that homey feel?’ I began to collect plants and noticed the difference it made in the aliveness of the space. I got to see the plants bloom and it added elements of the home. That is when I had a vision for a shop with plants.”

           -Margaret Stokman, CEO of The Window Box

Solving a Problem

Another common way that ideas form is by identifying a problem and coming up with a solution. Some ideas may serve as a painkiller and completely solve a problem while others act as a vitamin, or supplement that relieves a problem. People will pay for a service or product that will make their life more convenient. This is the route taken by many entrepreneurs when developing a business. 

  • “It all came about when my business partners had an idea for real estate. They brought me in, and I made a post on Facebook asking to meet with 20 real estate agents and chat about an idea. That original idea did not go anywhere but it led me to find a common problem among all real estate agents and that problem is what our business addresses.” 

           -Bill Svoboda, co-founder of Close Simple

  • “When we built our house, we had to clean our house. At the time I owned a lawn care business and had the idea to add window cleaning to our services. Everyone has dirty windows, and I looked at that issue and decided to make a business to address it”. 

           -Joe Nelson, founder of The Window Cleaning Co. and operations manager of Pane’N the Glass Window Cleaning

In your attempt to identify a common problem, it is essential to seek insight from others, especially in the specific field of the issue you are addressing. Be willing to adapt your original idea to better fit the needs of others. Adaptability is a crucial characteristic that will aid entrepreneurial endeavors. 

Now What? 

These two key strategies will open your eyes to the possibilities around you. The idea is just the spark, a spark waiting to be ignited. So, remember these two strategies and be aware of the potential that could arise from them. 

1. Identify a PASSION 

2. Identify a PROBLEM

 Now, just run and follow the risk that come with chasing entrepreneurial success. 

A look into the world of entrepreneurs from NCU's Writing for Media class.