How to Find the best business opportunity for entrepreneurial students (locally)

How to Find the best business opportunity for entrepreneurial students (locally)

I think it’s important for anyone who wants to deliver ‘their’ own innovative product or services needs to find a local Meetup in their city and make their intention known asap.  You’re not alone!  There are others in your city who are trying to find business opportunities and Meetups can be a great place to help find folks with common goals and interests.

In order to create a start up with the least amount of cost and effort you must attend a ‘Lean Startup Circle’-trust me, if you like learning new things about business, you’ll enjoy this.

This is the place to help determine your customer hypothesis and problem hypothesis (more on that later), but your just ‘validating your hunch or best guess.  So to recap:


Find a Lean Startup Circle Meetup in your City!

Local Meetups (of Interest to you)

Your experience and passion of a particular interest or topic can lead to a meetup group that can benefit your quest and be a great place to learn!

Find your local Lean Startup Circle Meetup and determine if it is a ‘Learning‘ Meetup or ‘User’ Meetup,  the main difference is whether their Teaching/’Learn It’ vs. Using/’Doing It’.

It may be good for you to read Steve Blank‘s blog Entrepreneurs Experience – Do It and Learn It.  We’re going to be doing a little of both at Lean Startup Circle – Louisville.


Now that your here..


What are the best ways to get a starting point or find the place to pivot?  We’ve found answers to those questions and more with the help of a number of tools such as Steve Blanks Customer Development Approach which utilizes the LeanLaunchLab.

There also derivatives of the Business Model Canvas like Validation Boards from the Lean Startup Machine that may also be useful.

What’s a good approach if you want to start a company but don’t know what your product (solution) is yet? 

If you’re just out of high school or a local university with little to no experience in an industry, there are ways to develop your ideas into a business.  It’s always best if you’re able to get some working knowledge in a particular industry, meaning you’re working in the industry of choice for some time, so you’ll be able to understand it(the industry) better and already know some of the real world problems, challenges and complaints.  But nothing beats speaking to potential customers about your idea.

If you have little to no experience in a particular industry, don’t fret, proAM Labs, is developing a program that may be found at your local Chamber of Commerce, more on that to come!

Ultimately, your local Lean Startup Circle’s goal should be to support a ‘process’ that solves a problem for the start up community.  Specifically, with very little resources they’re providing a service to FIND the most cost effective strategy to get your idea to market.  Your idea isn’t profitable or even sustainable YET -until you’ve made contact with your potential customers and that is where lean startup and customer development tactics excel!

So, as an entrepreneur, you must create and demonstrate a business plan business model with traction early!  Eventually, you may be able to find funding for your project through other mechanisms (or marketplaces like Crowdfunder, Kickstarter, Indie-go-go, etc.)

Meanwhile, the ‘Lean Startup Circle Meetups’ can help you ‘demonstrate’ early traction for your idea(s) through a business model canvas, but it’s up to you as the passionate innovator to create sustainability & profitability for/from the marketplace you’ve chosen, so local business leaders can take note and get the insight they need to help support you early and often.

Start with a market that interest you, find a problem or issue your passionate about, here’s what to do next..

  • Step 1: List all of the markets you greatly identify with or are of interest to you personally.
  • Step 2: List 3 of the most common complaints you hear in those markets by survey
  • Step 3: Choose a ‘complaint’ or problem you feel passionate about solving
  • Step 4: Survey locals and/or businesses and list the ways they currently solve that problem
  • Step 5: Find a better way to solve it.

You now have your start up idea.

Here’s how we followed that process.

Step 1: Local/Traveler, Entrepreneur, (former) Student Athlete

Step 2: *survey to get complaints {find you problem hypothesis}
Local/Traveler complaints:

  1. finding cool things to do in the city,
  2. finding getaways outside or near the city,
  3. finding the best things going on locally

Entrepreneur complaints:

  1. coming up with multiple ideas and no way to move them forward (prioritize),
  2. learning the best techniques to market yourself
  3. learning the best techniques to market your business

Student Athlete complaints:

  1. finding local events to actively participate,
  2. finding time to stay fit,
  3. finding a place to enjoy competitive activities

*perhaps the problem interview process is not a theoretical feedback survey or focus group, but in fact, it is as dirty as direct sales.”

Step 3: We chose the “finding cool things to do in the city” complaint or problem

Step 4:  Now, determine how local users actually currently solve the complaint or problem you’ve chosen.
Per the potential user or customer, via *survey interviews we found:

  1. “We currently solve that problem by looking through published events”,
  2. “Listening to radio advertisements and researching the web”,
  3. “Looking up new travel apps.

*the customer interview process is not a theoretical feedback survey or focus group, but in fact, more like direct sales.

Step 5: We’re coming up with a solution that’s easier then researching published events, more effective than listening for local radio ads and less time consuming then looking up directions to/at visitor centers.

I’ve found the’s validation board to help at step 5. After you’ve chosen a customer problem or complaint, the next step is to develop a solution (based on what your potential customers are already doing), then validate OR invalidate your solution to the problem through more customer feedback you receive.

Test your ‘riskiest’ assumption that can break the business first in order to determine which will provide the easiest or cheapest way to solve the problem.

This process has helped others come up with business ideas. We’re opening up our survey tools to local users who come to the Lean Startup Circle – Louisville Meetup , find your customer (market of interest) first then help them with their #1 problem or complaint!

Hope this helps you find your self at local lean start ups!  In Louisville, we meetup the 1st Sunday/ Tuesday each month!) 🙂


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