User Entrepreneurs Invent What They Need and Can’t Find

Mar 26, 2012

Sometimes the best ideas are those inspired by a personal need or challenge. Take Katie Danziger, a mom with a baby who tended to throw up a lot in the car. When she couldn't find a product that helped solve her problem, she designed an easy-to-clean car seat cover. Danziger is one of many “user entrepreneurs,” those who develop an innovative idea to satisfy their own need and then later build a business around that product or service. USA Today reported on a new study from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, revealing that user entrepreneurs open 11% of U.S. startups that survive for five years.

User entrepreneurs come from all industries, and when a needed product or service is unavailable or nonexistent, it can spark a new idea and send the innovator down an entrepreneurial path. Yet, it takes more than just a good idea to go from innovation to commercial success. As with all entrepreneurs, business success requires research, funding, passion, and a willingness to take a risk on a new venture.

For user entrepreneurs, USA Today offers tips on how best to turn a personal solution into a viable business.

Feedback is Good – In a competitive marketplace, any improvements on an innovative idea can help it better succeed. Share an idea with trusted friends, family, or coworkers to gather frank, honest feedback and refine the concept.

Review the Industry Landscape – Weigh the idea’s competitive advantages and define how it provides a service or product that others in the industry cannot offer.

Learn from Others – There is no sense in reinventing the wheel. Talk with other entrepreneurs to learn about the pitfalls and best practices for turning an idea into a lucrative business.

Leverage Online Knowledge – There is a wealth of information online to help entrepreneurs develop ideas and build them into commercially feasible services or products.

The Glass is Half Full – Coming up with an innovative solution is hard work, often requiring multiple iterations before it is ready for market. But user entrepreneurs should not be deterred by a steep challenge; easy ideas are also simple for (sometimes more established) competitors to hone in on.

Find out more about how to succeed as a user entrepreneur in the full article.

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