How do we generate new business ideas?
The first rule of entrepreneurship is that entrepreneurs solve problems. This is what create opportunities. If entrepreneurship is about finding opportunities to resolve problems or about finding solutions or making life easier for others, then how do you develop new ideas? This is a tough question to answer. As we solve some problems, we create others. Even when we understand or find a problem, the solution could be out of our reach. Here is an example, we know we don’t want to spend hours on the plane traveling to our destinations, but there may be limited technical knowledge to develop a plane to fly at super advanced speed.
But not all problems are this tough. There are still simpler day to day problems that we can help to resolve.
So much water, but not enough to drink
Whilst some people may struggle with finding the right ideas to start their businesses, most entrepreneurs may have too many ideas. This may be just as bad. As you need to find ways to select the best idea from the multitude swimming around your head.
So how do we find solutions to problems? The first is to analyze, consider or even review our current situation. We may be able to search on the internet, through Facebook groups or even in our network meetings or social gatherings what problems and issues that people have. The problems could be in our area of expertise. If several people have the same recurring issues, then we may be able to help. We need to determine whether the problem is just an irritant or one big enough for people to want resolved. Even at this stage, we must determine if people are willing to pay for the pleasure of getting rid of the problem.
Visualization is key
Another way to generate ideas is through visualization. Can we think ahead to determine what others may need in the future. We may all the comfortable now, but what about 20 years from now. 150 years ago, electricity was not an issue, lamps were used at night, but now it is considered an essential part of our lives. A few decades ago, the internet and computers were not essential, these days, many of us can barely survive without using both items. Visualization allows us to dream of the future before the majority of the people think that far ahead.
Sometimes, the best way to generate new ideas is by bringing a large number of people together to think about the future. Many organisations have the ability to do this. In many cases, they may have an idea of a problem they want to solve, in order cases, they brainstorm to explore the possibilities of the future. We can do this by thinking ahead of what others may need in the future and are willing to pay for. To do this, they must first try to get a feeling of the world far ahead of everyone else. Some people refer to this as ‘blue sky’ thinking. Dreaming of bringing what at some point may seem impossible into existence. That is what great entrepreneurs sometimes do. They bring into existence places that far in the future. Believing that everything is possible, if only they focus their attention on the issue.
Thinking without limitation
John C Maxwell refers to creative thinking as a way that we think outside of our current limitations. We get out of our confine box. The endless possibilities that anything and everything is possible. That level of thinking without limits is what has led to our current world. Thinking beyond our current limitations is an important part of innovation. Imagine having just managed to understand how the world is shaped, we decided to explore other planets to find if we are alone or not. It must take a lot of imagination and creativity to believe that we can explore space. Of course, once we are able to develop a plane, why not fly to the moon or beyond. Creative thinking is therefore thinking without limits and believing in our collective abilities to make changes happen.
There are other ways to develop new ideas, they now seem more mundane compared to the others mentioned above. We can just make improvements to what we have. Once Ford built the Model T, it became easier for others to build cars with doors, make them start automatically by turning the keys or even keyless, then replace the combustion engines with electric ones etc. Once the first computers were built, we can make them more portable.
By generating new ideas, we can then develop them through expansion and customization into new markets and new geographical areas. Technology can allow us to make things cheaper for those unable to buy the initial products.
We can adapt ideas or products already in use in one area to other sectors.
Keep on thinking big.
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