How to Find Good Business Ideas in B2B – The Complete Guide


It’s hard to find good business ideas in B2B. You want an opportunity you can execute on, a problem you can be passionate about and that, over time, can lead to a sustainable competitive advantage. It’s not a decision you want to rush.

To help you, I put together a list of 5 ways to find good business ideas:

  1. Go on a Listening Tour

  2. I’ve already talked about how you can find business ideas in your work, but let me push that idea a bit further:

    One thing that’s often overlooked is that, Excel is the most-widespread programming language in the world. In many businesses, people have built extremely sophisticated Excel models. Those spreadsheets are often central to business operations, and that’s a liability for companies.

    Excel spreadsheets are often expressions of needs. Especially if they’re shared across departments and/or consumed daily or weekly. Seek out Excel documents in your work. Talk to users. Understand the real needs. Find other businesses with similar challenges. Take it from there.

  3. Go on a Safari to Find Good Business Ideas

  4. Entrepreneur Amy Hoy recommends going on a Sales Safari seeking expressed problems in discussions on the Internet.

    The idea is that if you go through forums, communities, Quora questions, LinkedIn / Facebook groups, Reddit threads, blog comments, open customer service websites or competitor support forums, you can find needs and problems. Here’s one I found on GrowthHackers:

    Find Good Business Ideas - Expressed Problems

    The more pain (E.g. ??), the better. Here’s Amy explaining the technique.

  5. Dive Deep Into Your Unique Knowledge

  6. In a previous post, we talked about how the best business opportunities are a combination of domain expertise (functional or industry expertise), solution expertise and passion.

    What do you know better than anyone else? What did you learn in your previous work that you could now leverage? What expertise have you been building?

    Good to Great Author Jim Collins created the Hedgehog Concept to help entrepreneurs find their focus. To Collins, that focus lies at the intersection of what you’re passionate about, what you can get paid for and what you can be uniquely good at. It’s a great concept. Try it out, what’s your business Hedgehog?

    Find Good Business Ideas Hedgehog Concept

  7. Seek Out Requests for Startups

  8. Investors spend their days thinking about what businesses they’d like to fund. Why not reverse the search process and solve a problem they’re already looking at?

    By going through investors’ social media accounts or personal blogs, you can find nuggets like this one and that one. If that’s not enough, Y Combinator has put together a list of startups they’d like to see. This approach should help with securing financing for your business. :-)

  9. Find Good Business Ideas in B2B by Doing Series of Customer Interviews

  10. By far my favourite approach, but also the approach covered in Lean B2B: Build Products Businesses Want, customer interviews allow you to systematically explore industries, tasks, job types, or even market competitors.

    Start with a series of divergent problem interviews. Explore broadly. When you hone in on an opportunity, conduct problem interviews with early adopters to better understand the problem space.

There’s a lot of ways to find good business ideas in B2B. To increase your certainty, you’ll probably want to combine one or two of these approaches. Business ideas may be everywhere, but good business ideas are hard to find.

The New Year is a great time to get started with your search!

More on Finding Good Business Ideas in B2B


⚡⚡ Enjoyed this content? I go into way more detail on this subject in Lean B2B. It covers the ins and outs of finding traction in the market for B2B products. Check it out »


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