CONNECTING YOU TO OPPORTUNITY
The origin stories of some of the biggest companies in the world are by now almost folklore. But perhaps the lesson from these giants is not ‘how to become the next Google’ but simply how to start thinking about ideas in a way that these mega-companies did when they first started.
So how do you come up with a great idea and how do you know if it’s a winner?
If you’re sitting at your kitchen table scratching your head – this article is for you. We’ll guide you through the process of idea generation, and bring in tips from the pros.
So let’s go. It’s idea time.
How to come up with ideas
Let’s call it idea generation. Like most things in business, if you break it down into a series of steps, it suddenly becomes a lot more manageable. So here are four steps to get you started.
If you want to become a writer, the first thing to do is read a lot. If you are planning on starting a business, you need to be constantly taking in information. Here’s your starter list:
And while you do all of this, take notes. Lots of notes. Which leads us to Point 2.
Think of all that absorbing as your baseline research. Now what are you going to do with it? Well, it’s time to make it work for you. Start looking for links, for ways in which ideas connect and produce new ideas. If a particular idea interests you, go off on a side street and explore it to the fullest, knowing that you can always come back to ‘base’ if it turns out to be a dead-end.
A quick way of checking if you’re on the right track – does your offering solve a customer problem in a way that is not currently being addressed? If the answer is yes, you are already on strong footing.
After a while, you can feel like you’re too trapped in your own head. Sharing your ideas with trusted (emphasis on trusted) friends and family, as well as any mentor figures in your life, is a great way of taking the ideas you have started to develop from Point 2 and really start to stress-test them.
You will get feedback you don’t like and feedback you love, the question is what do you do with it?
You have done the raw research, you have formulated ideas from that research, and you have sought feedback from others on your ideas. Now it’s time to start narrowing it down to one or two key ideas, streamlining them, looking for holes that you need to patch. And ultimately coming out with an idea you feel is worth pursuing.
The result of this 4-step process may be the emergence of a brilliant idea, or it may simply lead you back to Point 1 and back to the drawing board.
It’s important to know that there is no ‘failure’ at this stage, and no matter how much time you take, or how many rounds of thinking, writing, sharing, plotting, that you go through, it’s all worthwhile if the end result is a great business idea.
Idea generation – lessons from the pros
So let’s now look at how some of the giants of their industry started out on their journey – and what you can use from their experience.
The first step in any process is to take action. So by just picking up a notepad, or reading a blog, you are already on your journey. The question is – where is it going to take you?
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