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Ways to come up with startup ideas – Ride the wave of an emerging trend

Posted on:February 19, 2024

All right, let’s dive into another approach for generating your startup idea: capitalizing on emerging trends. No, I’m not talking about hyping up AI (or crypto, or NFTs) – I mean… you could do that too, but the key is to find things before they get massively popular (and try to make sure there’s actually some substance, too). You want to find a budding trend in its infancy and create a product or service that’s ready and waiting as the hype peaks or gains widespread attention.

To spot these trends, you have several useful tools at your disposal. Google Trends allows you to monitor the growth of search traffic over time. Of course, social media can provide insight into topics that are growing in popularity. Another excellent resource is Exploding Topics, which showcases rapidly growing trends.

Alternatively, you can pay attention to conversations within your social circles or news stories. Emerging trends could involve a new diet, clothing style, or some new exercise routine backed by recent research. Sometimes in the engineering space, there’s a new paper with a novel model architecture, or an advanced algorithm that unlocks functionality. Maybe a book has popularized some personal time-tracking technique that’s starting to be all the rage. These ripe opportunities come around all the time if you pay attention!

I have two favorite examples of this. One is the seven-minute workout fad that became popular in tech circles. Many busy people trying to hack their way to fitness tried to fit in these super quick exercise routines. A developer created an app that helped you do your seven-minute workouts, track your exercise, and told you which workouts to do. This app rose up the charts and made the app developer a nice profit.

The other example is from the early days of people becoming digital nomads, when more jobs were turning remote-first (years before COVID hit). An entrepreneur named Pieter Levels started Nomad List and Remote OK, capitalizing on the trend of entrepreneurs wanting to travel the world and work from anywhere. He wrote a lot about it on his blog.

These are both examples of an entrepreneur who was savvy enough to see a trend and create a product that really helped people interested in those things.

Of course, spotting trends often comes from having a genuine interest in them. Being curious and open to new trends is essential. If you’re closed off or always thinking that new things are bad, it’ll be hard to spot trends. So, it helps if you’re actually involved in the space. Knowing people in the field makes it easier to find early users and understand the space better, making your approach more authentic.

To strike while the iron is hot, you also need to have hard-earned skills. Whether you’re a talented writer, marketer, seller, or developer, being ready means becoming excellent at your craft. So, to capitalize on a trend, focus on improving your skills and be prepared for when the perfect moment arrives.

Then, when you spot that trend others are just beginning to notice, it’s time to act. Take all that potential energy and transform it into a hot startup, top app, or best-selling book!