4 websites to explore when you need a good business or product idea

Have you ever watched the cable program Bering Sea Gold? Gold prospectors don wetsuits and dive gear to search for gold on the bottom of the ocean off Nome, Alaska.

They turn over hundreds of rocks and suck up thousands of cubic yards of material into their dredges before they find a valuable gold streak.

It’s pretty much the same when hunting for good business ideas. But, the smart miners know what kind of nooks and crannies are more likely to hold the good gold. Again, it’s pretty much the same when hunting for good business ideas. If you know some better starting points for your search, you can improve your odds, so let me steer you to four places that are definitely fertile ground for idea prospecting.


Reddit bills itself as the “front page” of the Internet. People post anything and everything here and then comment until the cows come home. If ever there was a place to take the pulse of John Q. Public Internet User, this is it. It’s unfiltered so you really find out what is on people’s minds.

You can search for topics or just check in to see what’s hot. Here are a few business and product ideas I got with just about two minutes of browsing:

  • A woman says her boyfriend built a remote-controlled lawn mower. Hey, anything that makes yard care easier has commercial potential. There are robotic lawn mowers on the market, but they’re quite expensive. Is there any way to bring the price down? Maybe instead of going fully robotic, running with this woman’s boyfriend’s idea of remote control is the way to go – or just starting a lawn care service.
  • There’s a bar in Barcelona that’s gaining international fame for its urinals that are fashioned like a big gaping mouths. If you’re in the restaurant or bar business, the idea here is to do something outrageous to drum up free social media publicity.
  • One guy posted a series of photos showing how he built a chest that had patterns on it like those created in the Minecraft video game. There might be a market for products based on popular video games. This chest turned out to be quite beautiful.


If Reddit is the front page of the Internet, then Quora is the answer man of the Internet. We always say that successful businesses are built on discovering a problem and then solving it. By examining the questions people are asking, you can uncover a wide range or problems.

You start on Quora by selecting the topic you’re interested in; then questions will be recommended to you. You can also use the search feature. I just searched for health and found that someone posed the question, “How can I lose fat as a teenager?” We know that weight loss can be a very lucrative business. This questions suggests finding a weight loss niche:

  • A book on teenage weight loss,
  • A website selling supplements especially formulated for teens, or
  • A Jenny-Craig-like service specifically for teens.

Facebook groups

You can search Facebook to find groups that are centered around specific interests or concerns. Below is a search I did for weight loss groups. If you have an area where you feel you have some expertise (or would like to get some expertise) join some groups and start to follow the threads.

In weight loss, I found a group called “Weight Loss Surgery and Beyond.” That suggests a book title to me, “Beyond Weight Loss Surgery.” Further, there are hundreds of weight loss groups and by merely looking at how they are named, they suggest a wide range of niches you might use to start a business or create a product or service:

  • The VIP Weight Loss Connection. A weight loss group or program for executives.
  • Holistic weight loss jump start. The natural way to start your weight loss program.
  • YouTube weight loss vloggers. Maybe it’s time to start your own YouTube weight loss channel and sell some products.


Amazon is Google’s main rival in terms of searches and when it comes to finding products, Amazon beats out Google, as Greg Sterling details in this Search Engine Land article. So, it stands to reason that there is a wealth of commercially valuable information on the site.

Here’s a good strategy for starting your product/service idea search on Amazon:

  • Find the popular products in popular categories.
  • Explore the negative reviews.
  • Explore the questions people pose.

As you sift through that information, there’s a good chance ideas are going to come to mind. Be sure you capture them all, no matter how off the way or inconsequential they may seem. (This advice applies to all of the techniques described here.)

We live in a good time. With some smart Internet searches and deep thinking, developing viable business ideas is within reach of virtually everyone. Not long ago, only major corporations had the means to do this kind of market research.