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Small Business Ideas

Developing An Idea-Generating Mindset

New ideas flow from some people like a river. I hated those people until recently. Not really but I was a tad bit envious. Anyone who knows me would probably say that I am the least creative person in the world, but generating new business ideas is much easier for me now. Here are a few things that helped me:

  1. Motivation – I started seeing results after I got to the point where I really, REALLY wanted to become more creative. I will skip the background story for now but the desire to improve my creativity played a huge role.
  2. More Science, Less Art – Dr. Edward De Bono, an expert on developing creativity, helped shift my thinking away from the “you are born creative or you are not” mentality. I took a one day course on Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step (Perennial Library) at work some time ago. The two things that gave me the most help were the concept triangle (extract the concept behind an idea and create more ideas from that concept) and the random entry (using a random noun, picture, or object to help stimulate new ideas) techniques.
  3. Find Markets First – After reading The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, I started using my own interests and background to think about gaps in the marketplace. The niche keyword research tools like Wordtracker were a huge help there.
  4. Effort – One of my previous posts mentioned how I spent July 2007 coming up with 100 niche business ideas. That was the first time I put real, extended action into improving my creativity. As much as anything, practicing helped unlock my inner creative self.

Some of my ideas are good and some of them are terrible. It does not matter though because I come up with a few ideas a day now. In fact, things often just pop into my head. For example, I tried to think of an idea for a new service a few days ago. I started thinking about it before starting my commute and ten minutes later I had a new idea.

None of these things may work for you but keep trying until you find something that does. It is well worth the effort. My biggest problem now is evaluating and prioritizing my list of ideas.


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