How to find an idea to start a company?

During one of my student interactions at a college in Coimbatore, one student shared this with me, “I would love to start and become an entrepreneur or a business icon but I don’t know what to start or how to start ?”

So, how do people identify an idea for a startup? 

You don’t need to be a mastermind to be innovative; innovation comes from wanting to make things simpler.

Here’s a short story with a compelling message. Once upon a time, in a busy city, many different people kept passing by a huge rock right in the middle of a roadway. Almost all of these people somehow moved either along the left or right, just about managing to avoid the rock. They never cared as to why that rock blocked the roadway or to think of how to remove it to make passing through that road easier. Similarly in life, most regular folks get busy with day-to-day activities and just take that metaphorical diversion to somehow pass, leaving that stone right in the centre of the road. When days and months pass, people forget that there ever was a straight road once, and that there is a stone blocking it. This stone becomes invisible. People adjust to the new normal and become comfortable in taking that diversion. Sometimes, in life, the diversion you take could be longer and not a proper road either. But things become “comfortable” when you start using them for some time. This is how pain and obstacles can actually become comfortable for some people.

While 99% of the people passed without complaining, one guy stood in front of that rock and asked himself, why is this stone blocking the road? Why can’t we remove this? If we remove this stone wouldn’t we save people’s time, fuel and money? That one person had the guts to take a hammer and slice right through the stone to make a path.


While that one person hammered away, other people ridiculed and laughed at him. Why was the fool hammering the stone when there was a diversion to cross that obstacle? Some stopped and advised him not to waste his time. One fine morning, this man singlehandedly finished creating a wide path through the stone and made the road “straight” again.

People started to take the straight path instead of the diversion around the rock. This young and curious mind established a toll booth and started collecting money to use the straight pathway, saying it saved people’s time, energy, fuel and money too. Slowly, people started to pay money as the straight pathway was comfortable and convenient.

This one person, who had the foresight and determination to take the hammer to smash that stone, is an entrepreneur. While everyone was busy merely passing by, he was able to identify an opportunity in the form of the obstacle rock. So, to start something, you don’t need to be the next Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison. You have to carefully observe the things around you and your reaction to these. If you’re sick of something, don’t complain. Or, don’t just simply take a diversion as a workaround for that pain. Instead, think about how you can remove the source of pain. Once you start to work on finding a solution or improving the existing solution, you’ve got yourself an idea for business. Understanding personal pain and its impact on your emotions is the key to start something. So, innovation doesn’t really need complex thinking. Anyone can bring out the innovator (an entrepreneur) in them by simply trying to make things easier in their everyday life!