The Idea: How to come up with a business idea?
Let’s say you want to be an entrepreneur, but you are struggling to come up with the perfect idea. So what comes first? The problem? The solution? The want? The need? Do I need to be an inventor to be an entrepreneur? Is this something you are born with? Does it start in your family? Am I too young? Am I too old? How do you become an entrepreneur? Perhaps an entrepreneur is not something you become, it is something you already are?
Take a step back and stop overthinking. Get out of your head and stop searching for the title of entrepreneur, owner, CEO, founder..etc. If you are in it for the title you may need to rethink your direction. Entrepreneurship starts with a single person and with that individual's idea. But what defines a ‘good idea’? Something a target audience will find value in. Simply put, an idea people will buy into. Here are a few items to consider if you are searching for the right business idea.
Organize your thoughts with these simple excersises:
The most simple exercise to get your entrepreneurial mindset warmed up is to simply make lists. Having a cloud of ideas in your head is great, but writing them down on actual paper will make them seem more real. Keep an ideation notepad with you and write ideas down as they come to you. Even if you know an idea is not good at the moment or you think no one would ever be interested, WRITE IT DOWN. You never know what kind of brainstorming will come from your ideation notepad or what ideas will trigger new ideas.
Another exercise to get your entrepreneurial mindset kickstarted is a problem brain dump. Take a piece of paper and start writing down a few problems you faced just throughout your day. Write down a bunch of inconveniences you may have had or witnessed others experiencing. At this point don’t start thinking of solutions just keep dumping out problems. Did you have to wait long for your morning coffee? Did it take forever for your shower to warm up? Did someone take your parking spot? Was it raining and you forgot an umbrella? Simple problems that you can reflect on. Now, reflect beyond just your daily struggles and think of other problems you, your friends, or your family may have recently or continuously faced.
Once you have you have a hefty amount of problems written down, now read through your list. Read it again. Now this time read it again with a solution finding mindset. Next to the ideas that stick out to you, jot down some potential solutions. Continue to add to your brain dump and scan your own thoughts for solutions.
Think you have an idea?
Take a sticky note, write down the idea and put it on your bathroom mirror or computer, or some place where you will see it every day. Still think this is a good idea?
First you found the idea in your mind, now you have it on paper, and the next step is to start saying it out loud. Communicate your idea to others. When you start talking about your idea, read their expressions and body language. Are they saying they like your idea because they want to be nice or are they genuinely interested? Make sure during this phase you are not just talking to your mom or aunt Karen.
You never know where conversations will lead. Maybe through talking with others you will completely pivot your idea or even trash the idea and go back to the drawing board. During this process it is so important to have an open mind. If you are married to your idea and feel insulted every time someone questions you, take a breather. Learn how to take feedback and how to use feedback.
Think you have it all figured out?
The next step is moving your thoughts to the Value Proposition Canvas. The Value Proposition Canvas is a simple template that allows entrepreneurs to evaluate their idea through pains and gains of their customers. Identify your customer's major Jobs-to-be-done, the pains they face when trying to accomplish their Jobs-to-be-done and the gains they perceive by getting their jobs done. Define the most important components of your offering, how you relieve pain and create gains for your customers. Adjust your Value Proposition based on the insights you gained from customer evidence and achieve Product-Market fit. Watch this video on the Value Proposition Canvas to learn more.