The overwhelming response I receive when I encourage hopeful entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and create a start-up is “great- but how do I come up with an idea?” Starting a new venture isn’t as easy as simply deciding to begin; there needs to be a fabulous idea on which a business can be successfully built. Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut process for stumbling upon “the next big thing.” However, there are a few tricks that great thinkers use to be receptive when inspiration strikes. Use these tools to innovate and develop your next big idea.
1. Carry a notebook with you everywhere. You never know when inspiration will strike, so it’s important to be able to write down ideas and thoughts as they happen. You don’t need to spend lots of time developing them right when they happen, but if you write down your thoughts, you can refer back to them and spend time building out those ideas when you have time to focus on them.
2. Know your stuff. Many innovative ideas we have experienced in history came from a person (or team) who was incredibly knowledgeable in their given field. It’s critical to stay tapped into the latest developments, news, and trends that occur in your field so that you can identify patterns, weaknesses, and potential opportunities to revolutionize the industry (and make money as a result).
3. Think about what frustrates you or challenges you each day. Focus on problems that are real; if they bother you, they probably bother other people. Therefore, if you are able to create a solution to one of these issues, you will likely have a market for your product or service. Solving a problem that people can relate to will ensure better chances of a successful business idea.
4. Utilize reverse engineering. Start at the end, and then work backwards. Sometimes it helps to visualize a problem already solved, and then take a step backward and analyze what needs to happen right before the issue is completed. Then, figure out what steps you need to take in order for that step to be resolved, and so on. By working backwards, you train your mind to look at a problem differently, and open up new ideas and new pathways of getting to the end goal.
5. Brain-dump. Throw out as many ideas and options as you can think of (even the wildly outrageous ones) and see what sticks. Never limit innovation by putting the kibosh on an idea before it’s been flushed out. Sometimes the craziest ideas are the most successful ones.
6. Think about using an existing platform or product in a different way. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to. Sometimes you can just use the wheel for something new in a way that people aren’t currently using it. This can save you time, money, and frustration, and can open up the doors to a fabulous new business idea.
7. Give yourself a break. Your mind does some of it’s best work subconsciously. You can’t force your mind to conceive “the next big thing.” Your brain is still working “behind the scenes” when your conscious mind is resting, or occupied with something else. Some of the best ideas happen in the shower, on a run, or even on vacation, so allow for some down-time, and be ready when inspiration strikes.
Wanting to be the mind behind the next “Facebook” or “Amazon” is a noble goal, and in today’s economy and society, it’s more achievable than ever. Don’t be too hard on yourself if the ideas don’t come flowing, because if it were easy, everyone would do it. However, by utilizing these tactics, and being innovative in your thinking, there’s no reason why you can’t be the mind behind “the next big thing!”
To see more posts from Breanna Bremer, please view her article library here.