If you’re itching to start a business, you’ll need a great idea. Get intentional about finding one by incorporating these five methods into your everyday. Million-dollar ideas are stumbled upon constantly, by people who think in the right way. They don’t hold special powers; you can replicate their success.
Here are five ways to come up with great business ideas.
Identify pain points
Great businesses solve specific problems in an exceptional way. People move away from pain and towards pleasure, so find out what their pains are. Ask them directly. Join Facebook groups relating to your industry or interests and use the search bar to find the problems, issues and grumbles that others are having.
Quiz your database. Quiz your friends. Ask them what their one biggest challenge is. Ask what they’re struggling with. Hypothesise about genies or magic wands and the wishes they’d love to see granted.
Even better, create solutions to your own problems. Think of all your niggles and how you overcame them. Can your solution become one that serves a far bigger audience? The term “dogfooding” refers to an organisation using its own product. Which products would your team love to have? Chances are, others would too.
Use effectual thinking
Causal thinking is when you follow the pattern of cause and effect in devising a business idea. You think of the problem and you decide how to solve it, regardless of who you are to tackle the challenge. Effectual thinking is where you look at your existing assets and work out what you are uniquely placed to do.
MORE FOR YOU
Your assets include your knowledge, qualifications, networks and exceptional strengths. Somewhere within them lies huge value. It might be found in something that’s insanely obvious to you but ground-breaking to others.
Once you hit upon your great idea and work out what you are uniquely placed to do, you’ll be filled with a sense of confidence in your own ability and where it will take you. You don’t need to think up a magical invention or create a new service from scratch, you could take something that already exists and make it better. Or cheaper. Or easier to use. Or more attractive to millennials or baby boomers or whichever audience you choose.
Hone your ideas muscle
Your metaphorical ideas muscle strengthens and increases in size with use. So use it. Practice thinking of ideas for even the small, regular occurrences of your daily life. Keep going until you reach ten. The first five will be easy to think of, then they get harder.
Ten things we could have for dinner tonight. Ten people I could call this week. Ten colours we could paint the bathroom. Ten songs that make me happy. It doesn’t matter what you think of, what matters is you use your ideas muscle. Make it a game and do it daily. Soon, writing a list of ten new products we could create or ten new businesses I could start will seem simple.
Another way to have great business ideas is to have loads of bad ones. Go further and keep a record. Jot down the concept, the business name and who its audience is. Even if you know the idea stinks, develop it into a plausible model. Keep kissing the frogs and you’ll find the prince.
Have you ever heard of chessboxing? It’s a sport that alternates rounds of chess with rounds of boxing, designed to push people to physical and mental limits. It’s the unique combination of two worlds and has developed a following on all five continents. In the same way, both CrossFit and Les Mills International’s BODYPUMP combine cardio and weight training in a group setting. Triathlon is another example from the world of sport.
Justin Woolverton, founder of HALO Top ice cream, created the product as an experiment in his Los Angeles home in 2011. For him it was simple. He was into fitness and he wanted to eat an entire tub of ice cream without feeling guilty. Ice cream and health food were two niches not previously combined effectively, but Woolverton managed it and in 2017 HALO Top was the best selling pint of ice cream in America.
Great business ideas can be born from combining two or more distinct practices. The result could be a product or service that amasses interest from both sides to create superfans.
Get a change of scenery
Every great business idea that has ever popped into my head has done so whilst I was away from home. One was on a plane; one was in the garden of a friend’s house in France. Changing your scenery will change how you think. Your brain is forced to come out of autopilot; it’s a survival tactic. It’s whirring away, processing new information and looking out for dangers. This is prime idea time.
Routinely change your routine. Make it normal that you are regularly spontaneous. Refuse to have the same weekend twice. Refuse to do the same walk twice. Stop reading books by the same authors. Widen your sphere of consciousness to become a magnet for inspiration. Spend time with new and entrepreneurial people, so their mindset inspires yours. Always be changing something up to stay alert, hear new perspectives and absorb new influences.
Looking deeper into the ordinary things happening around you can give rise to a great business idea. Something regular delivered in a niche way, or something niche delivered in a common way. A simple message shared in a novel way. A complex solution shared in an accessible way.
Great business ideas are waiting to be found. Speed up your search using these five methods.