Paschal Agonsi

Generating Business Ideas: Maslow hierarchy of needs

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Business is about satisfying people’s needs. It’s important for us to understand business in this context. A business success is dependent on its understanding of customer needs.

Humans have essential needs. Our earliest discussion on Understanding customers clearly defines this. The best business ideas are those that focuses on creating innovative solutions for people’s needs.

Power and electricity are huge needs in Nigeria market today. Food and housing are also enormous needs that any business who creates innovative and affordable solutions is bound to appreciate into billions of Naira.

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Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.

Here’s what it looks like… Maslow hierarchy of needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, an illustration.

With the aid of the above illustration, we can understand people’s needs and generate business ideas around them. At the bottom level, we have water, food, shelter and clothing.These are the basics. Offer an innovative product and you’re sure to get customers who are more than ready to buy.

Working up through the pyramid, you can find our needs that you can create business ideas around that have ready and willing customers.The higher the needs category, the fewer the customers. The higher the needs category, the higher the price of goods and services.

On the other hand, the lower the category, the lower the price and the higher the customer base. In our economy, we have more people with low income, so their needs fall within the bottom category. This below illustration offers another insight into customers needs.

Products that offer self-actualization solutions, like this article, though it’s free, are only needed by those who want to grow. The rest below are mainly required by those who need to find balance. These insights help us to understand the state of mind of the customer and the best way to approach.


In summary, business is about offering solutions for customer needs. Understanding customer needs is the first key step to successful business. Maslow hierarchy of needs gives us an insight into customers’ basic needs and how to develop great business ideas around them.




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