Wednesday, June 9, 2010

10 Steps to Generating Your Next Successful Business Idea


You don't have to be a genius to come up with a business idea. It's the exact opposite! It's really simple to come up with business ideas all the time, however, the challenge lies in coming up with a business idea that works for you and suits your personality and needs.

This is where most people get stuck, many people want to start their own and think about it all the time, the big question is, what business should I start? And it is not a small question, often, the kind of business you are in will dictate whether you will be successful or not.

So, if you have some sort of framework or directions to get your mind focused on business ideas that will suit you and work with your own situation, then you've taken a big step toward becoming successful in business.

1. Start thinking! Get your brain to work
Whether you're too busy with your daily routines to take the time to think and reflect on what you want, or feel that your brain is too pressured and lacking the ability to run wild with your imagination, worry not. This article has tips and advice that will help you get started with the creative process.

The first step towards creative thinking is understating how the mind works and how to stimulate your brain. I will dig deep into this topic, because we might need several book to cover it, but I will briefly mention the key elements.

The brain has two main parts; the right and the left hemispheres, each of these have different functions and work differently. The right hemisphere is creative and artistic part, it's the part that appreciates art, it uses shapes, colors and images to analyze and process information, and it's also the part that controls creativity and the imagination.

The left part is the logical part, it's the part that performs mathematical calculations, looks for causes and effects, uses words to describe and define, and it's also the part that controls speech, grammar and word order.

For you to be successful in business, you have to have a balance on both sides. You have to be imaginative and creative to come up with business ideas and to come up with creative solutions for business problems. You also have to be logical to analyze and define business opportunities, calculate business risks and weigh your options to deal with the daily business issues.

The brain is like a muscle, if you don't exercise it regularly to get it in shape. You can't prepare for a marathon by sitting on the couch all day. Common barriers to creative thinking are habits, attitudes, daily routines, lack of confidence or the constant need for guidance from others. A good way to break or overcome those barriers is to be open minded, be receptive to new things, take new challenges, or by simply giving your brain the green light to think creatively. So take the time to think and get your brain stimulated.

Change is one of the best ways to stimulate your brain and discover new ideas. A change of scenery can help you clear your mind off your daily issues and give you some clarity to start thinking creatively, you can go to a garden, beach or anywhere you like and take the time to exercise your brain. A change of people will also help you, by meeting new people and listening to them talking about their issues or frustrations, you can gain a better insight into their needs and aspirations, which is the basis of any successful business. A change of place will also definitely help you discover new ideas you have not seen or heard of before, you might see a new type of store in your trip to Tokyo that you think will work well in your city.

Bottom line is, you don't need to go to the other side of the globe to find new ideas, the small changes that you make in your daily, will pay in a big way.

2. Buy a notebook
Now that you know how to stimulate your brain and get started with the creative thinking process, you need to keep count on your ideas and make sure that you can document them to study and examine them further.

Every business you can think of started with a small idea somewhere, from a small observations, a frustrating situation, or while taking a shower. The difference is that those people who had those ideas took the time to think about these ideas and improve on them to create successful businesses. You never know when the inspiration comes, so keep a notebook close to you at all times to write these ideas down whenever they come.

3. Follow your passion
Once you start your business, you will spend most of your day for several years doing that business. So make sure you chose a business that you feel passionate and excited about. If you don't like the business you are, chances are, you might not succeed in that business, probably not because you don't have what it takes, but mostly because you might lose interest too easily in the face of the challenges that will come your way.

Starting and building a successful business is no small task, it will be a lot of work, you will face many problems, you will have to deal with situations you never encountered before, so it better be something you love doing. You will find that when things go tough, it is your passion that will get you going and make you overcome the hurdles. If you don't love what you're doing, you will take the first exit when problems arise.

Additionally, if you do something you love personally and understand its motivations, you will be in a better place to understand your customer needs and deliver on them. Understanding customer needs and their motivations to buy is a key element of understanding your business and ensuring its success.

Having that said, when you decide to take an old hobby into a new business, you have to work out the calculations and make sure that there is enough demand for this product or service, and that people are willing to pay for it. Otherwise, you will end up doing something not many people are interested in.

4. Keep your eyes open
New business opportunities get born from new situations every day. Keep an eye on what is happening around you, make it a habit to read the newspaper and identify new opportunities. You may read that people are complaining from poor health services in your area, or the lack of schools in your neighborhood.

Talk to your neighbors and the people you know, what is frustrating them? What would they want to change in your neighborhood? Is your neighbor complaining that she needs to drive long distances to get to the nearest dry cleaner? Or is your other neighbor complaining about the lack of groceries in close proximities to where you live? Are you coworkers frustrated that there are no restaurants close to your work building?

If you keep your eyes open to new developments and changes around you, you might capitalize on the emerging opportunities that arise. You don't need to come up with an original and unique business idea to be successful, often, it's the ideas that have been tested time and time again that prove to be successful, so look into your area, and see what is missing, it could be your next business.

5. Capitalize on your strengths
Most people are good at something. Look at your experiences and career, what is it that you can do well? Have you been working in project management for 15 years and know the ins and outs of the business, this is often the best place to start.

Most people are afraid to start their own business because they focus on the weaknesses and think that they will fail because of the things they cannot do well. No one is perfect, not every successful business owner is a superman.

Instead of focusing on the things you cannot do well, focus on the things you are good at. What can you do better than others? How are the others doing it? And how can you do it differently? Sometimes, you need a new idea to start a business, maybe a small change to an established idea is your answer. If your industry is behind other industries in the way it does business, maybe you can come up with a new system to automate their processes or to computerize their records.

Bottom line, look at the things you know best, and focus your thinking on these areas. They don't necessarily need to be from your work life. You might discover that you are good at helping your friends sort their personal finances, so you might think about opening a business where you help individuals plan personal finances.

6. Explore new things
As mentioned earlier, change is one of the biggest stimulators to the brain. Even if you don't want to open your own coffee shop, next time you're in one, look at how things are done and think of new ways to improve it. Often this thinking might lead you to new ways to improve on your business ideas in your chosen field.

Strange enough, your next business idea might be something that never crossed your mind if you haven't been to that business meeting out of town. The more you experience, the wider your options are, leaving you in a better position to generate new ideas and come up with new thinking.

7. Check your bank account
Starting and running your business requires money. Depending in your situation, you need to think of businesses that suit your budget. Everyone's finances are limited, so make sure whatever business idea you come up with is doable.

If you have a small amount of money, then look into business ideas that are not cash hungry, maybe start small and then grow with the business.

Having that said, there are places where you can get finance for your business, like banks, venture capitals, family, friends and small business associations in your area. Work out in advance the level of finance you are able to raise, and focus on business that will not exceed those limits.

Another key point to consider here, while there are obvious benefits to getting outside financial help to start your own business, those will usually mean that you will have to share your business with others or be in debt. Think carefully about these options and decide in advance if these are risks you want to take or you want to do it completely on your own.

8. Know what you want in life
Aside from your business goals, think about the reasons you want to start the business in the first place. What is it that you are looking for? What are your goals in life? Are you starting a business to be able to spend more time with your family? To make more money? To be respected among your peers?

Whatever your goals are, make sure that your business idea complements these goals and help you achieve them. If your goal is to find more time to spend with your family and do other things, then starting a business that requires you to work 16 hours a day or travel constantly might not be the best idea.

More often than what people think, money is not the real reason most why most people start their business. While financial freedom is a big perk of having a successful business, any business can make money, the type of business and how you run your business will be dictated by things other than money alone.

9. Choose a business that suits your personality
Are you morning person or a night creature? Each person has his/her own peak hours of the day. You will find very few successful bakers or newspaper owners that don't like to wake up in the morning. If you are not a morning person, avoid businesses that will need you to work in the early hours of the morning. If you are a night person, then maybe running a night club or a restaurant that stays open till late hours is more suitable for you. conversely, if you sleep early, running a business that requires you to stay late might not be suitable for you.

Are you an indoor or outdoor person? Do you like working in an office for long hours or can't stand the office and feel that you need on the move all the time? If you like the office quiet environment, then pick a business that can be done from an office. If you like to be on the move, pick a business that requires you to go to different places and meet new people.

Are you brainy or handy person? People do things differently, some people like to do things that involve thinking and working their brains, other people like to do things that involve craftsmanship and handy work.

Are you a shy or outgoing person? If you are a shy person, then becoming a public speaker might not be the best idea for you. If you are an outgoing person and like to meet new people all the time, having an internet based business might deprive you from that joy.

I think you get the idea, think of your personal traits and attributes and pick a business idea that suits your personality.

10. Read about other people that started their own business
A large part becoming successful involves looking at other successful people and learning how they achieved their success. Reading autobiographies about prominent and successful business figures and learning how they started their journey will give you great insight on how they did things and what exactly they did to become successful.

You find that most of them started from nothing. Many of them failed in several businesses and had to listen to people that told them they will never be successful. But they stood up and tried again and again until they succeeded. It is not whether you fail that makes you the man you are, it is how you stand up after the fall.

Study their characters, what do successful have in common? How did they achieve their vision? What challenges did they have to overcome? Look for similarities between their stories and your situation right now. You will find that it is a great source of inspiration and motivation. If others just like you did it, then you can do it too.

I hope you found that this article have inspired you to start thinking about your next big idea! If you have any stories you would like to share about how you came up with your own business idea or any extra points you think the readers would like to know about, then please do comment below and share the knowledge.

Thank you for reading and have a good day.

No comments:

Post a Comment