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How to Come Up With Startup Business Ideas in the Digital Era

Your idea doesn't have to be completely original, just better than what's available already.

Every ambitious entrepreneur has the same major objective -- for their startup business idea to become the next big thing. It may be hard to imagine, but Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg were once in the same position as most business owners.

Coming up with an idea for your startup business should be approached with the same dedication as every other job-related task. The idea probably won’t come to you in the middle of the night or even standing in the grocery line at the supermarket. Although it’s a nice sentiment, idea generation takes organization, research and planning. Here’s how to get started.

Where the best startup business ideas come from.

One of the strengths of technology in the digital era is focused on simplifying your life. The Internet takes center stage at helping customers meet their needs, whether big or small. It can also be our biggest source of inspiration. Start by reading about successful startup business ideas. Many entrepreneurs share their stories, offering tactical advice that startups can take in their own idea generation. Take note of what has worked and what hasn’t.

The best ideas come from identifying problems: For Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the problem was an expensive computer. They recognized that gap and built Apple I, then II and so on. For entrepreneurs today, brainstorming is a targeted exercise that takes as much creativity as it does concept.

Focus on trends in the areas you are interested in: As a potential startup business owner, you have likely developed a niche based on prior experience, future potential, or both. Take the time to learn the ins and outs of that particular niche as you develop your passion.

Flesh out your network: Think about the last time you were in a collaborative, lead-generating meeting. If everyone came to the table prepared with ideas, you’d likely walk away with at least one viable opportunity. Go to as many business networking events as you can. The more you talk to like-minded entrepreneurs, the more likely you are to hea