In my last article I talked about how an idea is not going to make a business. I said what’s important is who is behind it, but you still need a business idea to start a business and the better product or idea you have the easier the process will be. Here are 3 steps you can take to easily come up with 100 business ideas in less than a year.
Keep a file on your mobile phone named “business ideas.” If your phone does not have this capacity or you do not own a cell phone carry a small piece of paper and a pen around will you instead. What you must to is every single time any sort of business idea or product idea comes to your mind you instantly write it down in your phone with a simple sentence or two. Don’t worry about how wired of an idea it is or how stupid it may sound to you now just jot down the idea. The key to this step is that the best ideas usually arise when you are going through your daily lives. Ideas will strike you at the most interesting times when you are encountering daily problems and engaging in daily conversation. The one thing you cannot do is thinking the idea is undoable or unprofitable you must write it down anyway. As long as starting a new business is a focus for you ideas will keep coming to you during your daily life.
Next to your desk you must keep a notepad and it is best if the note pad can stay in view at all times (it might be best to put it on a wall you always see or next to your computer.) The reason for this is to keep you focused on your goal of coming up with new business possibilities. Label the top of these notepad business ideas. Once a week write the list you have created on your phone and list these down on your business idea note pad. It is very beneficial to keep this note pad in view and on your mind to remind you of your goal of coming up with quality business ideas.
This step takes the most commitment. Dedicate one hour of every week (you should usually do this after you transfer ideas from your phone to your note pad.) During this hour you must look at the ideas on your note pad and analyze them. See what the good aspects of them are and the bad ones. See if any of them can fit together in anyway or if the spark any new ideas and write any new ideas down. That should take no longer than 10 minutes.
After that, any idea on your note pad that seems reasonable in anyway should be put into a spiral notebook. Title this notebook “Business Ideas” and number the pages 1-100 or 1 to whatever number your trying to reach. For each business idea that isn’t completely ridiculous you need to write three short paragraphs. The first paragraph should be titled “Product” the second, “Market” and the third “Value.”
- For the product paragraph simply give a brief explanation of the business model or product.
- In the market paragraph describe whom you will be selling this product to. You must be more specific than 18-24 year old males. It should be something similar to 18-24 year old male college students who go to the University of Oregon and golf recreationally. The more specific the better.
- In the value paragraph you need to explain the value your customer will obtain by buying this product. If this is hard to come up with it probably isn’t a very good business idea because it has no real value for your customers.
Filling out the spiral notebook will take different amounts of time depending on how many entries you have that week, but each entry should not take more than 8-12 minutes to make. If it does you are spending too much time on it.
You should have some extra time after this (if not that’s OK and you have already added a lot of products to your notebook.) Spend the rest of the time analyzing the ideas on your notepad, revisit some old ones and come up with new ideas to add to the spiral notebook. You can also read some of your old product ideas to see if you can come up with some variations for new product ideas. Basically spend any extra time focused on thinking about new product ideas.
Once you have filled your notebook with business ideas you can look over all of them and pick the most promising and write full business plans for them. Not all of them will look very attractive, but you are bound to have a few that catch your eye as having some good potential or maybe even a few that you really have you motivated to get started.
The “100 Business Idea Journal” is a great way of coming up with some quality business ideas to get started with, but for it to work you must be serious about coming up with some quality product ideas. After a while you should start getting a few solid business ideas outlined every week and be getting closer to starting a business that you find really has some potential.