You’re ready to be your own boss, and you’ve got the idea that will make it all possible. Or do you? Do you have your doubts? Are you close, but then think there may be a better idea out there that just needs fine-tuning?
Brainstorming a winning business idea takes patience and can require a boost to get your creative juices flowing. Think about the times when you come up with your best ideas. Is it while you’re driving? Then carry a small voice recorder to make sure you get the details on tape. Is it when you’re in the shower or in bed? Keep a pen and a small pad of paper handy to jot down ideas before you forget.
Maybe your head is too full with the details of every day life to think clearly. Well, do something to clear your head so creativity can make its way in. Listen to some music; get outdoors; take a walk, hike or run. Relaxation practices, such as deep breathing, can also help increase focus and energy. Your mind must be clear for brainstorming to really be productive.
When brainstorming use all of our senses: Read everything you can, look at current magazines, visit trend-related Web sites, listen to the news and what people are talking about–and write everything down. Are you interested in starting a restaurant? A retail store? Visit every kind of restaurant or store, casual and formal. Listen to the patrons. Who are they, what are they dressed like, where do they live? Anything and everything can trigger a creative brainstorm of business ideas.
Try brainstorming with a friend or two (and don’t just invite people who are like you). Maybe there’s someone who always plays the devil’s advocate. That person needs to be there so you can hear a different viewpoint. Set up a white board in your living room, serve tea or coffee, and write down all of their thoughts. People love to voice their opinions, and you need to invite and praise all ideas. At this point, don’t throw anything out. You never know when a seemingly silly idea can blossom into a successful one.
Do you know an expert or professional whose opinion you value? Almost everyone can make time for lunch. Take the person to lunch and use the time as a mini brainstorming session. Listen to their ideas and suggestions. Record the session or just write everything down in a notebook.
You want a lot of ideas, so you can narrow them down and build on the best. Here are some factors to consider:
- Capital constraints. You know what you can afford to start or how much investment money you think you can get. Some ideas will have to be thrown out based on the money factor alone. Here’s where you get creative. Is there some way to start a cheaper version of the great idea and build on it as the business builds? Think in phases.
- Experience. Is this a business idea you have some knowledge of, or would you need to hire someone with experience? Perhaps you could learn it yourself, but this could delay your launch date.
- Where to open the business. Can this business be started from home, or does it need a retail or commercial location? Can it be started in a shared office or even online with a simple ecommerce setup?
- Trend or fad. Is this a trend that will stand the test of time, or a fad that you need to jump on now? If it’s a fad, can you adapt it when the market calls for something else? (See OUR ARTICLE ON SPOTTING TRENDS for more on this.) (LINK HERE)
- Time involved. Is this going to be a time-intensive startup? Can you start it part time and keep your current job, or will it take your full attention and a year to get ready for launch?
As long as you keep your mind open to the possibilities brainstorming can bring you, you may find an idea to make your business dreams come true.
Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media www.growbizmedia.com, a content and consulting company that provides information, advice, and resources to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.