SFR 238: Finding Your Business Idea – Stephen Larsen

SFR 238: Finding Your Business Idea

Apr 30th, 2019 anchorwave

I’m frequently asked how I found my ‘big idea’. Here are some helpful things to consider that should help you land something that you love AND that’s lucrative…

Let me ask you a question…

Are you:

  1. Struggling to identify what you should sell?
  2. Trying to validate what you’re about to sell?

If you answer ‘YES’ to either of these questions, then grab a notepad and pen… because this could be one of the MOST powerful lessons you’ll EVER learn, so take notes.

Best business ideas

What I’m about to teach you is the EXACT opposites what I learned in college.

I’ll probably ruffle some feathers by saying what I’m about to say, but whatever…

How to start a successful business

You’re also gonna get a sneak peek into my Core Problem Planner.


So what is your BIG IDEA… and how do you find it?

Your BIG IDEA is the one thing that represents the core of an entire business.

The mistake that most people make is that they try to create the problem and then provide the solution.

This was what I was taught at college… and many infomercials are created this way too.

Startup business ideas

I’m NOT saying it doesn’t work, but I’d rather find a group of people who already have a problem.


You find what problems your red ocean is suffering from already, then you solve a legitimate problem.


Q: How do I come up with my one BIG IDEA?

A: I don’t come up with it.

Best business ideas truth nuke

(… this was something that tripped me up for a long time.)


  1. I go to an insanely competitive red ocean, (which is exactly the opposite that I was taught in college), and figure out the problems that they are ALREADY having.
  2. Then I rank the problems.

Something that I’ll bring you guys through, in far more detailed than I did last OfferMind, is what I call The Core Problem Planner.


Best business ideas core problem

Each one of your businesses should solve a core issue.

So I look at a red ocean to figure out what the problems they’re already experiencing.


I don’t need to create the problem, it already exists.

Then I start ranking the problems against a series of criteria…

BECAUSE not all problems are:

  1. Created equal.
  2. Understood by everybody in the red.
  3. Something people are willing to pay money for.

If you’re coming to OfferMind, (which I hope you are), this is the stuff I talked about with pictures, drawings, formulas, and maps.

Someone asked me, “Stephen, where all these formulas you’re forever talking about?”


Learn the best business ideas at OfferMind

… just dropping that out there 😉

So come to OfferMind and you’ll learn:

  • What to look for in a red ocean.
  • Which red ocean to choose.
  • What an ocean is #period.
  • What signs to look for when you pick a problem to solve.
  • How to create a new offer.
  • How you launch your offer to that red ocean.

It’s very granular.

Theories are cool. I love teaching mindset stuff, (that’s really my main role with the OFA Challenge).

…but at the heart of it, I think some of that stuff gets fluffy.

I want:

  • Formulas
  • Patterns
  • Maps
  • Blueprints

Steve Larsen how to start a successful business

… that’s the stuff I get motivated over.

I’m a geek, man. I’m a geek, but geeks get paid! So whatever…


I love watching Shark Tank, not because I believe in VC funding, I like seeing the ideas people come up with.

…but lots of times people have these ideas that *they* came up with.


It shouldn’t come from you!

The Core Problem Planner helps you identify the problems that are already being experienced in the red ocean.

Then you rank them according to several things:

  • How easy can I talk about the problem? (Not the product, the problem.)

You lead with the problem, not the solution.

This is the opposites of what I was taught in college.

Steve Larsen best business ideas

So when it comes down to it…

  • I don’t come up with the main idea.
  • It shouldn’t come from me.
  • I’m not the one filling my own wallet.
  • I’m not the one who’s gonna be paying for this.

What I do is I go into the red ocean, and rank out all the problems… and based on a bunch of criteria, I find what I call The Core Problem.

Which means that my entire NEW…

  • Idea
  • Blue ocean
  • Opportunity

… is NOW based on me solving that core problem.

The Core Offer solves The Core Problem.

I’m very methodical about the way I pull stuff out. Just coming up with ‘a good idea’ is too freakin’ risky.

Risky best business ideas

I’m an entrepreneur and I’m okay with risk… but I want it to be calculated.

So the thing I’ve come up with over the last two-three years is how to go identify and rank problem in the red ocean, then create what I call ‘The Core Offer.’

… that’s what my book will be about, but OfferMind also goes into this stuff.

  • Day #1: I’m gonna teach this whole framework to you
  • Day #2: We’ve got Russell and Dana Derricks are coming in. I’m talking with Myron Golden (I got a soft Yes, we’re just trying to make sure dates are fine).
  • I’m gonna try and get Mark Joyner and Bill Glazer.

Steve Larsen startup business ideas


I have a very unique take on Offer Creation, but the ‘BIG IDEA’ is not something that I come up with on my own anymore…

The BIG IDEA is fueled by the problems that ALREADY EXIST in the red ocean.

I want to make sure that there’s a genuine problem before I go build a whole freakin’ business around solving it.

The BIG IDEA doesn’t come from me. It is fueled by those that I hope will buy it, and that makes it less risky.

It means…

  • I don’t have to be a creative psycho genius.
  • I just have to be a detective.
  • I can just understand the frameworks.

Startup business ideas view

It’s a 30,000-foot view.


I’m the category king of two different oceans right now. One was accidental, one totally on purpose.


The thing that causes that Blue Ocean is an idea more than a product. The product just fulfills on the idea.

I don’t create the problem.

I’m just gonna solve a legitimate problem in a highly competitive red ocean, which means:

A lot of people have that problem… and then, I solve that problem with an idea.

One of the things I’ve learned is that if I try to come up with the idea on my own, it’s almost guaranteed to fail out of the gate.

It’s far more risky.

I’m not saying it won’t win. I’m saying the chances of it winning are smaller.

The blue ocean doesn’t exist until you create it by siphoning customers from the red.

Creating customers and best business ideas

…but too many times this is what happens:

Imagine yourself on an island…You’ve got some knick-knacks. One day, you put all your knick-knacks in a cart and decide to sell them…

Q: Where are you gonna push your cart to sell your goods?

A: Where the people already are!

Just because your product is new, it doesn’t mean you go to a place that’s new and deserted to sell it.

How to start a successful business with a red ocean

… but that’s what most people do, # no cash in that!

People don’t buy just because:

  • No one’s doing what you’ve done
  • You’re different


You have to take your product and push it to where EVERYBODY is already… and it has to be something they actually WANT!

Best business ideas that people want

Does that make sense?

Your products don’t necessarily need to be that new, but your offer, that’s the new thing.

Truly, you could have tons of stuff that people have already sold, but you need to bundle them together as a NEW offer.

Then you sell to wherever there’s the most foot traffic # the red ocean

Your offer product will be blue, but you sell it to the red ocean.


Over time, your market changes from the red ocean where all the competition is, to the blue that you’ve created.

You have a new offer that’s a brand new that has never existed and you’re selling it to an existing marketplace…

But as people buy, you’re pulling them (with an idea) over into a NEW blue ocean.

The new vehicle is almost more of an idea than a product. The product just fulfills on it.

As people start to buy, they get siphoned off over into a blue ocean.

So, let me ask you another question…

Q: Is it easier to sell to people who:

  1. Have never bought from you before?
  2. Are already your customer?

A: Second money’s always easier than the first money.

So as people are leaving the red, (and they’re coming over to the blue), you start getting a little pocket of people who are your current buyers.

Startup business ideas power

Whoo, my friend… therein, lies power!

The book Ready, Fire, Aim says that at the start of your business, your main purpose is to get a qualified mass of customers. Then eventually, you’ll want to sell something to your existing customer base that’s MORE expensive.

What’s cool about gaining a lot of customers quickly, is that it makes any subsequent offer or product that you drop out to them, highly likely to succeed right out of the gate…

Best business ideas to make money

…because so many of your existing customers will purchase it.

Does that make sense?

I am NOT the creator of the blue oceans that I run. I’m the facilitator of the solution.


Think about this:

I’m NOT a professional copywriter, and yet we make really good money.

How do I do that?

A lot of you guys know I sell in the MLM space, right? It’s real easy to get intense in that space.

Q: Why?

  • What is the vehicle everyone is convinced gives them success in MLM?
  • What’s the method that they are all taught?
  • Talk to who?

A: “Talk to your friends and family.”

So… I’m the anti-red message.

I choose whatever problem that the majority are having… and I become the anti-red voice.

  • I’ve never been on a three-way call.
  • I don’t do hotel meetings.

… I don’t do any of that crap!

Best business ideas for MLM

I am very anti those methods in my messaging.

I’ve become the anti-red voice of the traditional method that MLM encourages

Q: Who does that call out?

A: It calls out those who are inside the red ocean and feeling the pain of the accepted methods.

When those people hear my message, they perk up and go:

“I didn’t know there was another option!”

How to start a successful business with your messaging

I don’t need to sell people on MLM as a concept, they’ve already bought in… they just freakin’ hate the methods they’re using!


Think about my offer creation stuff…

I sell to people in the ClickFunnels space because they’re already sold on things like ClickFunnels.

They’re voting with their wallets and not their mouths.

However, in this case, I NOT the anti-ClickFunnels voice. Instead, I’m anti the methodology that most people use to get success with ClickFunnels.

I’m never gonna be anti-ClickFunnels. I never gonna throw rock at ClickFunnels. That would be STUPID (all caps).

Best business ideas for people already buying

My Offer Creation is complimentary, NOT competitive to ClickFunnels.


I’ve learned that my positioning, (in relation to vehicles, solutions, or products that already exist), is a higher signifier of my success than how good my product is.

That’s sketchy stuff for me to say, and I’ll probably ruffle some professors feathers by saying that kind of thing.

Young startup business ideas


I’ve found that people frequently have FASTER AND MORE success when they position themselves in relation to the existing red ocean, rather than make a brand new, prolific product that’s never been seen before…

You can go prolific, but I’ve seen far more people create success with:

  • D / F level funnel building skills
  • D / F level, right offer creation /sales message writing
  • Terrible promotion
  • Terrible on podcasting or whatever…
  • A poor attractive character

… when they position themselves with an anti-red message that speaks to a pain point that the red ocean is already experiencing.

… because when the customer sees that message, they feel:

“Crap! I’ve been looking for a solution… I just didn’t know which one I should choose!”

… and then the business who understands their pain becomes the obvious choice and solution!

The book Play Bigger talks about that quite a bit…

I lead with the problem, NOT the solution, and then it’s assumed that I have the BEST solution.

I lead with me understanding what the issues currently are… NOT with, “How can I create a problem so that they’ll buy my solution?”


A lot of people teach and I’m very against it.

Best business ideas that use existing problems


OfferMind is extremely proven out methods and models for causing cash, regardless of price point, industry, or product.

Discover best business ideas at OfferMind

It’ll get you so much closer to launching something that’s good enough to make a lot of money than just coming up with something new.

When I’m creating the content for this kind of stuff, I literally walk through my bookshelves and think to myself:

  • What are the issues that everyone’s experiencing?
  • How can I help people identify a red ocean more?
  • How can I help people know what to look for when they have found the red ocean?
  • What is it that people need to understand about the red that fuels the blue?
  • What is it about the blue that makes it so attractive for the Reds?

These are those kinds of questions that I look for.

I read the most geeky, boring, dry books that have ever been written on the face of this planet to try and figure out those answers for you.

I go into deep dives in my Bat cave. My whole floor becomes a studio.

Take notes on the best business ideas

  • I take out all these legal pad pieces of paper, (it’s a lot of legal pads).
  • I write down core ideas.
  • I group them in the corners of the room.
  • I’m studying and doing learning deep dives and remember things I learned at the foot of Russell.

I hate rah-rah… if you guys think I’m a motivational speaker, I’m so sorry, that means I’m failing.

I am NOT a motivational speaker.

Steven Larsen best business ideas

You might find a motivating, but I’m NOT a motivational speaker.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, I gotta be honest with you guys, I used to make fun of live events a little bit.

I thought:

“Oh, they just want money”… or they just get in like this rah-rah state and crap like that.

…and so I was a little bit of a skeptic.

But then I went to some live events, and I was like:

“That’s like I took two semesters of college and forced it into two days.”

I feel like it’s actually how you take a year and force it into a day or two to quickly learn something that would usually take you A LOT of money and time and energy and effort.

I like to dive into patterns and that’s kinda my unique ability.

Best business ideas patterns

  • When I was in elementary school, I had a hard time knowing what I was good at., and it was an active conversation with my parents…
  • “Well, maybe you’d be kinda good at this?”
  • “You know what.. it’d be really cool if you could go try this.”

… and I was like, “Yeah, I’m not that good at that.”

It’s not that I had to be good in order to continue pursuing something, but the thing that I kept trying to figure out was like:

“What is it that I actually do?”

*I’m the orchestrator*…

“I don’t know how to play that instrument, but y’all want it, and I know someone who’s probably good at fulfilling that. Boom! Why don’t you come in here!”

Steven Larsen how to start a successful business

…that’s way better. # geeks get paid


I know this game can take a few tries to get the money flowing, especially the first time, right? And that can suck.

I also know from experience how frustrating it can be to know your business is just a few tweaks away from your next big payday…

But you don’t know what tweaks to make.

I’ve felt completely paralyzed by that in the past, and it sucks.

I’ve been blessed to work with thousands of new and successful businesses over the last three years, and two things have really shocked me.

#1: I began noticing the pattern to success is vastly the same, but everyone’s spot on the path is obviously different.

#2: I’ve been shocked and overwhelmed by the number of people asking for my help, my systems, and funnels in their business.

Well, until now I’ve never had a system or product in my own business to help you build yours.

Now, I’m finally able to be public about all this…

If you’d like my help to build your offer or sales message funnel and even your content machine, go to

Steve Larsen OfferLab

The path to online and offline success is 80 percent the same regardless of the product, price point or industry, and it works if you’re new or already a killer in business.

You can get more details on how to get my personal attention and frameworks in your own business by going to

In-person classes are limited to 60 people each, and frankly, I can only do about two of these a year. Get more details, and even jump on the phone with us for free at

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