Business Ideas: How do you find one?


Welcome to the 5th episode of the Anthropod.

Anthropod is a podcast detailing the WHYs of social-entrepreneurship by and with Suraj Shrestha, Founder of Nepal’s 1st social eyewear brand -Anthropose, recounted as his personal account for Anthropose, entrepreneurship and everything in between.

In this episode of the Anthropod, we share with you an accidental technique Suraj Shrestha discovered to find new business ideas or opportunities.

Transcript:

Finding a good business idea isn’t by any means an easy task to do. What is even more harder is being able to recognize it. Today, I share with you an accidental technique that I realized that can help you do just that.

Hello and welcome! For Anthropose this is Suraj Shrestha and you are listening to the Anthropod, where I recount my experiences in and from Anthropose, entrepreneurship, and everything in between.

Recognizing good ideas takes talent. Questions like “What do I look for?” “Why would this opportunity work?” and “What would the future of this be like if I decide to pursue this?” are few common questions that an entrepreneur has to keep asking oneself time over time repeatedly. But the latter two questions about an idea’s viability and envisioned future doesn’t really hold any significance without one being able to recognize an idea and an idea is everything that entails the core of any enterprise, be it a pure business entity or a social enterprise. So how does one recognize a good idea?

One effective technique that anyone can utilize to recognize business ideas is picking up on paradoxes. Looking back on the early days of Anthropose this was one accidental technique that I utilized when forming Anthropose. The paradox that started it all was “Nepal produces the cheapest intra-ocular lenses that substitute the lens in the eyes once cataract surgery is performed on a patient driving the cost of it from three-figure dollar to mere $2 and having one of the best ophthalmic services in South Asia, still more than 400,000 and counting individuals were in the backlog to receive cataract surgery in Nepal because they couldn’t afford the surgery.” Let me give you an example on how picking up paradoxes can be a neat technique to identify your next venture.

Do you remember the 2018 June Edition of the National Geographic magazine’s cover featuring a plastic bag partially submerged in water depicting plastic pollution in our oceans and resembling a tip of an iceberg? It was a brilliant and very thought-provoking illustration, but what followed next was a fiasco when someone tweeted the same magazine being delivered to him wrapped in double plastic covers although the National Geographic had announced they had ditched plastic wrappers and replaced it with paper starting this particular issue of the magazine. It was a viral PR accident for the magazine. However, the damage control was put in place when other users started tweeting that theirs came in a paper wrap with the title “Will this paper wrap save the planet? No. But it’s a start.” Long story short, eventually everything turned out good and in favor of the National Geographic. However, if National Geographic had missed out on their decision to change the outer protective layer to paper, the June issue of 2018 would have been one of the biggest paradox in the publishing industry.

Had it happened and if we look at it from an entrepreneurs’ point of view you could find many questions here. The paper wrap, is it a real substitute for the plastic wrapper? Why were the magazines delivered in double plastic wrappers in the first place? I am sure its because the publication wants the magazine to reach its readers intact, free of any blemishes, dirt, or dust or rain water or any other factors considering the fact the usual subscription is delivered outside the subscribers’ residence making it prone to environmental factors like rain or dirt. Is the outer packaging really important? Can’t the original cover itself be designed in a certain manner that it provides protection and serves as the cover or can’t it be manufactured using a special material that would be equally efficient?

If plastic pollution is really about saving the planet, wouldn’t avoiding the protective paper wrap reduce the number of trees that are cut down to produce the paper for it? If all the plastic that has been produced since its inception is still between us, can’t we recycle the plastic and use it as the wrapper, which would provide better protection to the magazine compared to the paper wrap. Or so much so is the magazine really necessary to be produced in its physical form? Can’t it all be digital? All of these questions could lead to a different business ventures with a different business model. You see paradoxes align the strength and the weaknesses in a single sentence and that’s the beauty of a paradox. Also, Paradoxes lead to questions, and questioning lead to probable business ideas and eventually an opportunity. Not all question leads to the same opportunities for all individuals and not all questions can be answered by one single entrepreneur it definitely takes more. However, when the right entrepreneur finds a paradox that suits his/her expertise and drive like a ball in a cog, then successful enterprises are born.

You have reached the end of the fifth episode of the Anthropod. If you have made it this far, THANK YOU for tuning in and staying with me. Have you noticed any paradoxes lately? I would love to hear about it from you. If you feel like sharing anything that you have felt, feel free to leave me a voice message if you are listening to me on Anchor or reach out to me in the comments below or by writing to me at anthropod@anthropose.com.

This is me Suraj Shrestha signing off hoping to catch you again in the next episode. Until then, take care and good bye!

Happy Listening!


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