The entrepreneurial brain is, frankly, a little manic. But having a little ADHD can be a good thing if it helps you generate ideas—as long as you know how to focus on a winning business idea you can present to your small business loan officer. If you haven’t narrowed your million business ideas down to one yet, here are five ways to start:
- Assess your skills and interests. To find a business idea that’s a good fit for you, start with a personal inventory. First, write down your skills and experience. This should include not just job duties or skills, but also skills and experiences from your personal life. Next, write down your personality traits. Are you organized? Creative? Are you a “people person” or do you like working on your own? Finally, write down your strengths and weaknesses.
- Learn to think creatively. Boost your creativity and approach the challenge as a kid would, without preconceived notions of what can or cannot work.
- Use brainstorming to get ideas. You can brainstorm alone if you have to, but generally, brainstorming works better if you’ve got about five people. To make your brainstorming sessions productive, hold them in a place where you won’t be interrupted, and somewhere that’s both conducive to creativity and free of distractions. The goal of brainstorming is simply to come up with as many ideas as you can, without worrying about how good they are.
- Assess your idea’s viability. You may have a great idea, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a great business. You’ll need to do some in-depth market research to make sure your idea can fly in today’s economy. Check with industry experts and research the demographics in your community.
- Be aware of the trends. Start with yourself, your co-workers, your friends and your family. What trends do you see in their lives? Next, look at the wider world. Watch popular TV shows, go to popular websites, visit local malls, read magazines and newspapers to get a sense of what people are doing, talking about, eating, reading and thinking. Finally, get beyond your “bubble” and talk to, observe or read about people who you’d never normally come in contact with—whether it’s urban teens or Florida grandparents. This will not only give you insights about trends, but also spark creative thinking.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.