How to come up with killer business ideas: complete workshop

Learn how to become a business idea machine with proven strategies and actionable insights
4.5 (689 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a
course's star rating by considering a number of different factors
such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the
likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
22,840 students enrolled Bestselling in Business Ideas
91% off
Take This Course
  • Lectures 68
  • Length 11 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English, captions
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
Wishlisted Wishlist

How taking a course works


Find online courses made by experts from around the world.


Take your courses with you and learn anywhere, anytime.


Learn and practice real-world skills and achieve your goals.

About This Course

Published 10/2015 English Closed captions available

Course Description

What do Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, Pinterest, & Instagram have in common - besides being ultra successful businesses?

You probably won’t guess it.

Every single company started with an idea that was TERRIBLE.

Yes, that’s right. Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Andrew Mason, Kevin Systrom all started their businesses not with immediate success, but with immediate failure, ridicule, and frustration.

That’s not the story you heard, right?

You probably heard that they all channeled their unlimited brilliance into crafting the perfect idea. An idea so great, so perfect that it was just a matter of time before their idea took the world by storm.

That’s what most people think. And most people are 100% wrong.

  • Facebook started as a way to compare attractiveness between classmates.
  • Pinterest started as an app that let you get notified when your favorite designer goods went on sale.
  • Groupon started as a website for raising funds for charity.
  • Instagram started as Burbn, the 400th app to let you “check in” at your favorite businesses.

And yes, Twitter started as a website to list and find podcasts.

None of these ideas were brilliant. They weren’t clever. They certainly weren’t insightful. And they certainly weren't "ahead of their time"

But they WERE created by people who supposedly are.

Business ideas are not an art. They're not things that are limited only to those with experience & creative insight.

Anyone can come up with, develop, and improve business ideas. Business ideas that can be life changing - and I guarantee a whole lot better than the first idea of most major companies.

Stop being intimidated by the process of coming up with business ideas. Learn it, master it, and conquer it.

Learn the science behind creating great business ideas.


Why you should enroll:

  • Over 1,000 students have signed up within the first 12 hours of the course going live!
  • Course includes over 6 hours of high quality content, including activities, worksheets, quizzes, exclusive discounts, and access to an exclusive class only web idea generating web application
  • You'll learn skills that are invaluable in any situation, like being able to assess an ideas marketability, how to spot market inefficiencies, and how to successfully employ brand new, disruptive business models
  • You'll have direct access to the instructor, who has vet over 1,000 ideas as a venture capitalists, and hundreds more as a founder and director of a digital agency


About the instructor:

Top rated Udemy Instructor with over 600+ 5 star reviews.

Teaches 9 different courses on Entrepreneurship, with over 20,000 students enrolled.

All courses by the instructor have are rated an average of 4.97 out of 5 stars.

+ Worked as a VC and was in charge of deal flow in Silicon Valley. Oversaw investments in large companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, & Tesla.

+ Startup founder for 5 years, raised 3 rounds of capital worth several millions of dollars.

+ Currently Director of a Digital Agency that specializes in taking ideas from raw concept all the way to launch.

What are the requirements?

  • Familiarity with basic business concepts is useful, but not necessary

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Generate business ideas that are insightful and actionable
  • Understand business dynamics as they relate to idea generation
  • Analyze 4 different sections of the business value chain for potential opportunities
  • Understand the 5 different types of core innovation and how to apply them
  • How to objectively assess their skills, passions, hobbies, & interests
  • Understand the difference between business types and which one to aim for
  • Use common techniques like problem identification to come up with ideas
  • Use advanced techniques like disintermediation, local modifiers, market enablers to craft ideas
  • Understand how to apply new, disruptive business models like Saas, Sharing economy, & PWYW
  • Create business ideas that are not only specific but are complete
  • Quickly evaluate and re-prioritize ideas based off 5 dimensions
  • Understand the value of their ideas and what to focus on first
  • Bring context into their environment and not get discouraged

Who is the target audience?

  • Anyone interested in becoming an Entrepreneur
  • Anyone who wants to become better at creating business ideas
  • Veteran entrepreneurs who want to master the skill of idea generation

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction (18 minutes)

Welcome to the course!

Let's get acquainted with the course and your instructor (me)

I created this course for a number of reasons:

#1: "Coming up with business ideas" is by FAR the most requested topic I've ever gotten. The people ask, and the people shall receive!

#2: This is a legitimate problem for a lot of Entrepreneurs and prospective business owners. They don't know HOW or WHERE to get idea inspiration. And once they do find it, they don't know how to wrangle the idea, detail it, and think critically about its odds of success.

If you've taken any of my other courses you'll know I always make my lectures a mix of theory, application, and personal advice from experience. I've worked with business ideas from all different angles - as a venture capitalist, a founder, a director of a digital agency, and as a participant in 5 tech incubators (yes 5). I also got my degree from the school that ranks #1 in Entrepreneurship worldwide.

For those of you that have business degrees, there are areas you can skim and I'll let you know when we reach these spots.

I strongly encourage you 1) follow along 2) complete the optional activities and 3) ask me questions and interact with other students.

We'll talk about each section just a bit, then we're ready to get started.



Lets talk about how to take this course and what you should expect.

How to follow along:

Each section will consist of 1) Core lectures 2) Activity lectures 3) Worksheets 4) Resources 5) Screencasts 6) Review materials

Follow along through the core lectures and when you're ready to do this yourself, watch the Activity lectures or download the worksheets.

I strongly encourage you follow along as the course is designed to allow you to do so. If you for whatever reason just want to watch, that's fine but consider later going back and trying out some of the interactive parts yourself.

Can I skip lectures:

You can if you want, but I suggest you try to take the course in a linear, 1 after another, fashion. It's generally easier to follow that way as I often reference previous lectures.

Requests for new content:

If you guys want more examples or you want me to do another live demonstration of a concept, just let me know. Other lecture topics are always considered as well.


Join the Slack community and connect with other entrepreneurs

  • Network with like-minded students
  • Connect with me directly
  • Follow along and ask lecture questions as you go
  • Learn from other students that are simultaneously watching the course
  • Pitch any ideas you have & brainstorm with others
  • Ask the community for help
  • Share the project you're working on
  • Find a cofounder for your next venture
  • Find exclusive jobs and opportunities 

Details inside.


One of the best parts about this course is that we have a custom web application for coming up with business ideas.

I call it the "Idea maker generator".

As part of this course, you'll get a username and password to login and use this beauty. The way it works is simple:

  • Fill out each of 4 lists with as many items as you can. It'll ask for your Hobbies, Passions, Skills, & Industries you're interested in. Once you fill those in, you get to choose between easy mode and hard mode.

Easy mode is for those that like it easy.

Hard mode is pure mind torture.

The generator will spit out a couple pieces at you and you'll have to pair them together to make a potential business idea. It'll force you to think about each industry in multiple ways.

Do you think you can handle it?

(You definitely can. I'm just being dramatic.)


For those that are following along and creating their own ideas, here is one thing that I think will help quite a bit.

Scratch padding.

Its as simple as that. You need something near you to catch your brilliant falling stars of ideas. Let this piece of dead tree be your idea safety net, so that no idea escapes unrecorded.

We forget things all the time, like:

  • "Whats the name of that song?"
  • "What was that billion dollar business idea I came up with, again?"
  • "Where was I the night of August 19th, the night my estranged ex-lover was murdered?"
  • "Dude, where's my car?"

It happens. But never again should you be held hostage by your erratic human memory. Use a scratchpad.


This is the first worksheet for the course.

I call it the "Idea - Lister - Builder" because I'm great at naming things.

I want you to have this by your side at all times. We're going to use it record ideas as they come to us, rank them, and then give them qualitative ratings.

This worksheet will be immensely useful once you get through to Section 6, where we start to evaluate our ideas and seeing if they will float or not.

You can print this out, answer the questions directly in a PDF editor, or even just record your answers in a separate word document or piece of paper.

WORKSHEET: Idea Lister Builder
8 pages

Resources for recording your ideas. Take advantage of the free multi-platform tools that are out there. I've listed out some of my favorites in this document with my thoughts on each.

Section 1 review material
17 pages
Section 2: Laying the groundwork (47 minutes)

Let's talk about Section 2.

In this section we're going to have a crash course on the context of business ideas. Where do they happen? Who has them? What do they usually try to change? Whats a complete business idea and whats not?

This section is a big sloppy serving of Theory. Its like Spaghetti & Meatballs, except instead of meatballs it's The Pocketbook MBA. Think of this section like your vegetables, you need to eat them and you can't get to the good tasting stuff (Sections 3+) before you do.

It's important that we get everyone on the same page, with the same general level of understanding, and with an operating system to organize their thoughts. Students can fall back on this section when they're crafting business ideas and think they've run out of places to look and ways of tackling a market.

So put on your reading glasses, and stop grumbling; we're going to learn some Idea Theory.


In this lecture, we're going to meet Mr. Subject and Ms. Problem / Benefit. As a pair they're great, but they're not really complete until they meet Mr. Business model. I'm not really sure where I was going with this.

In order to come up with legitimate, applicable business ideas you need to understand first what they ARE and what they are NOT. Prospective entrepreneurs often suffer from the disease of unusable ideas. Their ideas feel great but never completely make sense. Well, that's because you need to understand the components of business models.

A well-thought-out idea, and more importantly, a complete idea is a powerful thing. Not only will it help you more easily convey what you're trying to get et across, but it will also open your eyes to other potential opportunities.

In this lecture we're going to cover:

  • What constitutes a complete idea and how can you when a component is missing
  • Common mistakes Entrepreneurs make when conceptualizing business opportunities
  • How to change a flat idea into an actionable one
  • What qualifies as a Subject? What can't be listed as one?
  • What's the "Problem" part of the equation and do I need one?
  • How "Benefits" work versus problems
  • Selecting business models that at first glance fit your idea


Typically, when you talk to an Entrepreneur who claims they are "out of ideas" you'll notice a theme. More often than not, their inability to see opportunities has to do with the fact that they're only looking for them in one place. And I don't mean in one industry, or one problem set. I mean one area of the business value chain.

This lecture is designed to remind you and help you re-imagine all of the areas that you can start businesses in. Some of the largest business ideas are "under the surface" so to speak and are not frequently noticed by the media or by pioneering entrepreneurs.

Understand the business value chain and you'll be able to spot 3x as many business opportunities. It's actually that simple.

In this lecture, we're going to cover:

  • Why outsiders to an industry only see a limited amount of business opportunities
  • How does Procurement work? What does it consist of?
  • What all goes into what we call the "product"?
  • How to isolate the delivery mechanism of every business and focus on improving its methods
  • The top layer of the value chain thats often forgotten: Marketing
  • How to use a systematic approach to the value chain to come up with more relevant business ideas

In this lecture, we're going to talk about the primary dimensions of innovation that are available to entrepreneurs. Think of these like value-adding levers - any combination in any industry has the potential to become a big business. You just need to understand how they work and when/where they are applicable.

This lecture is more or less a broader discussion of what innovation looks like, how it changes markets, and specifically how it can be tailor made for the opportunity seeker.

Business types (you know who you are) feel free to skim this lecture.

In this lecture we're going to cover:

  • The 5 primary and most commonly used types of innovation
  • How to understand the function of Price as a 3 dimensional opportunity, and not through the standard view
  • How the function of Convenience works and generally who it appeals to
  • What the function of Speed really means and why its one of the harder dimensions to conceptualize
  • How to properly define Quality without attribute bleed over.
  • How Self-expression is the least common but most interesting innovation dimension
Recap of idea dynamics
Section 2 review material
31 pages
Concepts from section 2
5 questions
Section 3: Making it fit (59 minutes)

In this lecture, we'll get acquainted with Section 3 and what's going to be covered.

What makes a good business idea great? We're going to answer that question in this section.

I'll give you a hint. Ok, I'll just tell you. A good idea becomes great when it matches YOU.

A brilliant idea is not truly a great opportunity if you're not motivated to pursue it, don't know what you're doing when you do start it, and have no skills to help accelerate the projects development.

We're going to talk about HOW to determine what we're good at, what we care about, and what we have a natural proclivity for.

We're also going to talk about your goals and how they should align with your business ideas. If you don't know what you want, you'll never know what you'll need! You'll also waste a ton of time


Enter the quadrant graph of wisdom.

All heed its wonderful, truthy wisdom.

The first two quadrants of our system? Well, those are Hobbies, and Passions of course.

What's that? You don't have any hobbies and the only the thing you're passionate about is Chipotle? I understand the second part, but trust me you have both. And you have a lot of them.

Hobbies are rather obvious. What do you do for fun?

Passions are a little trickier. What do you care about most in the world?

In this lecture we're going to dive into these two dimensions and start analyzing what they mean to you.

We'll cover:

  • Whats the difference between the two?
  • What qualifies as a hobby?
  • To what extent should I follow businesses based on my hobbies?
  • How do I find what I'm passionate about?
  • How to avoid overused passions and find things that more specifically speak to you
  • If you can't think of any hobbies or passions, what techniques can I use to get some inspiration?

Let's talk about the bottom half of the Fit quadrant.

"Don't follow your passion... Find that thing you're great at. Put that into the world. Contribute to others. Help the world be better" - Ben Horowitz

Most of us have grown up hearing that you should focus your life's work on something you're passionate about. But is that the only thing we should care about?

In this lecture, we'll discuss the more concrete side of the Fit quadrant. Skills and Experience are things you either have or do not. They don't go away and they don't get "boring".

We'll cover:

  • How to discover what you're good at
  • How to find skills that aren't as obvious but are still valuable assets
  • How to think critically about your past experience
  • Whether or not adjacent experience counts and what to expect

Everything we've learned in the last 2 lectures has led up to this point.

Use the worksheet in the following lecture and complete your own Fit Quadrant. This will be immensely helpful going forward through the course. Keep this list handy so you can evaluate your business ideas effectively.

Review the previous lectures if needed or if you get stuck.

7 pages

This is the worksheet to use on your own. Fill it out either online, in a separate word document, or print it out and follow along with paper.

Worksheet consists of 3 parts:

  1. The front sheet is for your Top 3 of each section. Fill this out last, but use it as a quick reference later in this course
  2. Top 10 lists. Fill these out specifically with everything relevant you can think of
  3. Prompts. If you get stuck ask yourself the questions at the bottom.

When you've completed this move on to the next lecture.


In this activity lecture, we're going to list out our goals.

Your business goals are crucial in order for you to come up with business ideas that specifically work for you. A business that makes money but takes too long to grow, or has too short of a runway can potentially waste years of your life.

Know what you want first, and then adjust your lens accordingly.

In this lecture, we're going to talk specifically about your expectations - profit, time commitment, time to break even, & others.

Think hard on these questions. You might surprise yourself.

2 pages

This is the goal setting worksheet to fill out.

Answer each question as honestly as you can. It's ok if you're not ambitious, and it's ok if you're overly ambitious. The point is to simply recognize what you are.

Each section has example answers to get you moving. These are NOT the only possible answers. You can write anything.

The 3 business types: pick yours

Ideas without context are worthless.

Now that we've established what your goals and expectations are, let's see how they align with your idea generation strategy. If you want an ambitious outcome with your business venture, then you'll need an equally ambitious idea. Big ideas take a while to come up with - they require research, experience, testing. But what if you don't WANT or NEED that type of business outcome?

In this lecture we'll explore what exactly the bar is for idea quality, given your goals & preferences.

We'll cover:

  • Why how "good" your idea is really a relative term and not an absolute
  • How to create 3 different levels of businesses with any given platform scenario
  • How to judge competition through different lens of expectations
  • What's the general mindset between a lifestyle business owner and a startup owner?
  • What makes a startup, a startup?
  • How to determine the depth of your "core truth"


You've been pounding your head against a wall trying to find the next big thing. Day after day you make no progress. Then one day you're in the shower and Eureka there it is. The perfect business idea!

This tale is as old as time. And like witches and ghosts, it's a complete work of fantasy.

It's actually more a work of good storytelling, and the re-tellers right to "creative re-interpretation". A good founder story always had a moment where the original visionary receives their first vision.

In reality, there is no such thing. In fact, most big ideas that we all agree in retrospect were game changers were developed slowly over years. Also, in most cases the original AHA moment for big name startups were actually... terrible.

Let's have a frank discussion about where ideas come from and what they in actuality look like.

We'll cover:

  • The ugly duckling your favorite idea actually started out as.
  • How thoughtful entrepreneurs incorporate and evolve their ideas with new information
  • The relationship between ideas and rigidity
  • Why its so hard to judge other peoples business ideas and how the media distorts everything
Section 3 review material
52 pages
Making it fit
5 questions
Section 4: Ways of coming up with ideas (114 minutes)
Problem-based business ideas
Wouldn't it be great if
Imagine the future
Essential reading for those focusing on startups
Reverse imagination
The Fit generator
Cater to power users
Reposition: Good / Fast / Cheap
Spotting market inefficiencies
Adding technology to an offline industry
Vertical integration
One-step solutions
Make it eco-friendly
Bloated margins
Section 4 review material
79 pages
Ways of coming up with ideas
5 questions
Section 5: Business models (61 minutes)
A comprehensive list of online business models & who uses them
Saas: Software as a Service
Subscriptions & Memberships
PWYW: Pay what you want
The sharing economy
On Demand
Curated Boxes
DTC: Direct to Consumer
Crowdsourced catalogs & inventory
Section 5 review material
Business models
6 questions
Section 6: Evaluate & test (45 minutes)
Intro to Section 6
Matching Fit
Pain to payment
Path to validation
Unfair advantages
Section 6 review material
35 pages
Evaluate & test
3 questions
Section 7: Idea advice & commentary (32 minutes)
The value of ideas
Red oceans & Blue oceans
Idea frameworks & Unreasonable people
West coast, east coast
Avoid threshold problems
Section 7 review material
34 pages
Idea advice
6 questions
Section 8: Playing with the web app *LIVE*
Round 1: Lonely outsourcers & bartering virtual workers
Section 9: Let me hear your feedback!
Give me your feedback here (+free monthly giveaways)

Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed

  • Loading
  • Loading
  • Loading

Instructor Biography

Evan Kimbrell, Founder of Sprintkick | Ex-VC | Ex-startup founder

Hi, I'm Evan Kimbrell. Thanks for checking out my course.

Currently, I'm the Founder and Director of Sprintkick, a full-service, referral-based digital agency based out of San Francisco. Over the past four years I've overseen the development and launch of over 100 web and mobile apps. Clients range from two-man bootstrapping startups to multibillion dollar Fortune 100s like Wal-Mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, and GNC.

Prior to Sprintkick I worked as a VC for a new firm called Juvo Capital, based out of L.A. I spearheaded the firm's expansion into Silicon Valley and into the Consumer Web tech category.

In the long long ago, I was a co-founder for an educational software startup called ScholarPRO that raised a ton of money and then spectacularly blew up (in the bad way). Before it exploded like the Death Star, I went through five tech incubators (yes, five): Tech Stars, Excelerate Labs, MassChallenge, Babson Venture Program, and Sparkseed.

I'm an avid Airbnb host for the Fisherman's Wharf district of San Francisco. My space has the #1 search ranking for my area, has hosted over 200+ people, and is currently booking out 18 months in advance. I've helped multiple hosts get their properties listed and their prices per night maximized. Results range from an extra +50% in price for established hosts and +400% for brand new hosts.

Hope you enjoy my courses!

Ready to start learning?
Take This Course