JD Duarte


Jose Duarte discusses how to find new business opportunities as an entrepreneur

The beginning of the year is a good time to start a business. But, clearly, first you need to find a winning concept. You have to generate a lot of ideas to find one that will succeed. Jose Duarte, an entrepreneur and eCommerce expert from Costa Rica, understands how to generate ideas in any context, whether it’s walking through store aisles or in meetings with his team designed for that very thing. He offers eight techniques that can increase creativity to find profitable business ideas.

Successful business ideas are usually the ones that are one step ahead of the existing ones. Think about the trends and technologies that are on the horizon and how you could get into those areas. Duarte suggests thinking about innovations related to your home and lifestyle and how they will change in the future.

Your new business doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. “Take a look at what’s missing from the big players in the industry and think about how you could fill in those gaps,” explains Duarte. This requires looking at the industry through a different lens and considering all possibilities. Even the most minute difference can lead to something big.

Think about what your skills are and how they might be useful in other areas. Entrepreneurs don’t need to stick to just one avenue of a particular market, especially if their knowledge and experience translates well into other areas. Always be on the lookout for how existing skills can be utilized in other fields.

In the idea-generating process, it helps to identify markets that haven’t had many innovations in recent times. Says Duarte, “Research your current industry, as well as neighboring industries, to find any areas you might be able to exploit. Use everything you have at your disposal, including trade publications, websites, networks and anything else you can tap into.”

Companies generally get their first sales by offering an existing product at a lower price. Often, this can be accomplished simply by sourcing new material. Many companies become complacent with their current activity and don’t explore new ways to offer the same solution. This is a fallacy that regularly be exploited.

To generate an idea that relates to people’s needs, there is no better way to do it than to talk to the same buyers. “If you’re interested in mountain bikes,” says Duarte, “go to the aisles of sports stores and ask customers what they’d like to find in them. If you want to develop an eCommerce business, consider submitting an online survey to find out what the interests and needs of potential consumers are.” The concept of usability is used to define how easily the user can access information by browsing a website, but it can also be applied to any product that reduces the time spent searching for information. Design a solution that responds to consumers tastes and preferences, generating a more personalized opportunity for them.

The idea of trying to cover an audience that does not normally consume a product has resulted in many successful businesses. Choosing a new target audience for existing product lines is one of the simplest ways to find new growth. One way to expand the audience of any product is to think about the obstacles that these other consumers have to approach the product and find a way to solve them.

Stroll through the aisles of a medicine store, a hardware store and a toy store and combine products from each one, Key says. That should give you the spark to have some new ideas, although you need to be prepared for most of them to be bad. You’ll come up with terrible ideas, and only occasionally will you find a good one, but maybe it’s brilliant.