Great business ideas can truly come from anywhere, often when you least expect them — that is, if you are open to seeing the opportunity.
A successful business can be the result of years of hard work pursuing the same idea, but many times, inspiration strikes when you least expect it. There are countless stories of chance encounters, personal failures, airplane seatmates, challenging moments and many more things that have led to some of the most disruptive, iconic and successful businesses we have today. I am regularly asked how to identify gaps in the market, and I like to share the story of founding my company Aura as one unlikely example.
Inspiration Strikes Unexpectedly
In 2014, I was the victim of identity theft. Like most people, it was not something I had ever given much thought to, but like many of us that face a personal challenge, I quickly became an expert in the products and services that were available out of necessity. It didn’t take long to discover the complexity of the issue and the solutions available.
I became a customer of a digital security service as a means to remedy the damage that had been done to my personal credit and was impressed by the calm expert who could walk me through what needed to be done. What I remember most was the fear and anxiety that struck me as I dealt with these security issues, especially the moment that I realized that not only was I at risk, but so were my wife and my children. It’s a faceless crime, but it feels very personal nonetheless.
Validate Initial Ideas With Data
As I dug into the data, I came to realize that identity theft was just the tip of the iceberg. Digital crime is exploding around the world as fast as our lives are becoming increasingly digital — account hacking, credit theft, image piracy, catfish scams, social media manipulation, device takeovers, spyware and malware and data privacy and more.
It was in this moment that I realized there was a significant opportunity for a high-touch, consumer-first digital security company that put the well-being of its customers at the center of its services. There was a significant need to bring together solutions to the myriad of challenges that we face in our digital lives — from identity protection and data privacy to antivirus and Wi-Fi protection.
Never Forget Your Personal Experiences
In 2018, I decided to use my personal experience to solve, and eventually even prevent, similar challenges for others. I started by acquiring the very digital security service that had made such an impression on me back in 2014 and set to work integrating them into a complete security offering that gives consumers everything they need to protect their digital lives. Essentially, we were creating the solution that I wished was available in 2014.
Always Take Meetings
We often hear that we are only as strong as our professional networks. In addition to keeping in touch with my circle of friends and former colleagues, I like to make a habit of expanding my network by talking as many meetings as I can with those who come highly recommended by people I trust.
Traveling is often a great time to reach out to old connections and take introductory meetings and through that exercise, I was introduced to two colleagues who were looking at the same problem and had come to a very similar conclusion. In 2019, we realized we could accomplish our shared vision a lot faster together than we ever could apart, and we brought our two companies together.
I share this story because I am now grateful that I faced these challenges. What is unexpectedly inspiring is knowing that you are likely not alone in whatever you face. If you find it difficult to navigate the solutions available, others will likely feel the same, and therein lies the business opportunity.
Endless business opportunities await those who can spot the openings. Think about the challenges you have faced, services you use regularly and the frustrations you might have had. You might just identify your next big opportunity.