Where can I find great entrepreneurial ideas?

Look inside!

The most common question i get from the managers I teach, they see themselves as aspiring entrepreneurs, is where can they find the right idea for a business. A businesses to make them rich.

Often they think the idea will fall from the sky, or one day the idea will walk up to them and say “hi”.  But my reply is if you want to start a business, you find an idea. Doesn’t have to be a perfect idea, find lots of ideas and select the best one or two to test

The best way I can suggest to start generating ideas is using the technique of idea mapping using mind-mapping techniques

Start off with a broad set of ideas of what you might be good at. You can start mapping ideas around three primary categories that will help you get a better sense of your expertise and potential offerings

  1. Skills you have like speaking Thai
  2.  Experiences you’ve had, like backpacking around IndoChina for 30 days, or being a McDonalds manager for 6 months, or doing three years of finance at university
  3. Challenges you’ve overcome, like losing weight or building muscles

This will create a range of opportunities for you to build a business around.  List as many skills, experiences or challenges as possible, get a really long list down. No selecting or thinking negative things, YET.  See what downloading all these ideas can do in prompting more ideas- what if i put together building muscles and speaking Thai, or Being a McDonalds managers and losing weight.  See if you can create more ideas by linking your experiences in unusual ways. 

But the next step is more important: How do you figure out if your business idea is any good? 

Ok, sure, most of these ideas will be bad; that’s fine. First, you can separate the good ideas from the bad. Lets ditch the bad ideas, but how do you know if your learning about personal finance is a good idea or not. How do i know if that would make a good foundation for a business.

Simple, email a handful of friends, asking if you could talk to them a little about managing money better; or learning Thai while at the gym. If  they gave the idea the OK, and say they’ll meet up to talk about it (friends will tell you the truth).  You can ask “When it comes to money, can you tell me what are your biggest problems with it?”.  Or, “If you had a magic wand, to solve all your financial problems, what would it look like?.” And, “what are those things where you wake up in the morning, when it comes to money, and you say, ‘I really hate … ” and they fill in the blank?

So, imagine you do this with learning about money management or  learning how speak Thai at the gym; if you email 5-10 people, they’re going to give you some really valuable insights about how successful your idea will be very quickly.

Try this out soon, if you really want to be an entrepreneur.