ENTREPRENEURSHIP / JUL. 04, 2014
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4 Ways to Think of a Start-Up Idea

Do you have the willpower to start your own business, but can’t think of what you want your business to be? Thinking of start-up ideas can be one of the most challenging parts about building a business. If you’re stuck on this step, there are 4 ways you can think of new business ideas and move forward in your entrepreneurial goals. Be ready to do some major brainstorming and research!

Option 1: Be Open to Spontaneous Ideas

Be open and receptive to spontaneous ideas. Ideas sometimes come at the most random times – when you’re taking a shower, driving, or out and about, for instance. If you happen to get an idea at an unexpected time, record it on your phone or a piece of paper so you don’t forget it.  Do some research afterward and see if anyone has done this idea before. If so, ask yourself how you can do it better and/or if there are any other angles you can approach it from.

Option 2: Get Ideas from Past Work Experiences

If you’ve been working for a while, you have a sufficient amount of experience in your field. In this case, look for deficiencies in the past companies you’ve worked for. Ask yourself what kinds of things you thought didn’t work. What things held the companies you’ve worked for back? If you’re able to answer this question, use that knowledge and start doing research on possible solutions. Ask your friends and family what they think about your new solution, and then think about how that solution would work as a start-up idea.

Option 3: Use Your Personal Interests as Inspiration for Your Idea

Reflect on what your personal interests are and see if you can use your knowledge of them to come up with business ideas. What are things you’d like to see be created in those fields? What kinds of products would interest you as a consumer that others like you will love, too? If your passion is doing auctions, for instance, you might be interested in finding a particular niche of secondhand goods (like selling antique table sets) and either start an online business or begin selling on Amazon.

Option 4: Do Research First and Think of Your Idea Later

If you don’t want to think of your start-up ideas right away, start with market research. Ask yourself what types of audiences you’d be interested in catering to. List them next to your idea so you can clearly evaluate which ideas would work. Order them from the ones you think have the greatest potential for success to the ones that don’t. Then, find out what demographics your potential competitors are serving and brainstorm how your start-up idea would eventually generate profit. 

I’ve Got My Idea. Now what?

Once you’ve thought of your new idea, refine it. How? Invest a few hours a day in e-mailing family and colleagues and asking for their honest opinion on it. If you know anyone who’s in the industry of your potential start-up, too, ask them about what they think as well. Inquire if they know anyone you can talk to about your idea and who’d be interested in discussing it with you further. Once that’s done, talk to people in your network who you think would be potential customers and find out if they would find your start-up product/service valuable to them. If they don’t, find out if there’s anything you can do to improve your idea. 

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