The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Ideas

By Kevin Strasser

Look around you. It does not matter if you are in a coffee shop, a park bench, or in your home office. Surrounding you are inventions built by businesses that all started with the same thing.

A business idea…

We are the music makers and we are the dreams of the dreams.

Business ideas are an important part of the entrepreneurial journey.

In this post we will uncover the art of business ideas.

Don’t let good ideas fall down the drain

You should save your ideas as they come to mind. You want to capture ideas as they come to you. Not all will be great, but you should capture them to avoid lost opportunities.

Often business ideas come while you are nowhere near your laptop:

  • The shower
  • Driving in your car
  • Daydreaming while in line at the store

Some of the best ideas can come out of these relaxed states.

So I recommend something like Evernote for logging ideas as they come to mind.

Ready to do the hustle?

I have Evernote installed on every computer, laptop, tablet, and smartphone I own. If you are like most people, you have a smartphone near you always. Use it to add new business ideas to your list.

Strengthen your idea muscle

Some think up with creative ideas regularly. Others may struggle with business idea generation.

Stir up your creative idea juices:

  • What frustrates you because it works poorly?
  • What is something you use that is badly designed?
  • What do people complain about?
  • What do people regularly ask for help with?
  • What do you struggle doing?

Maybe someone recently said, “I wish I could understand Twitter like you do.”

That might be an opportunity. You could possibly become a Twitter coach (I think I just invented a new coaching category).

James Altucher suggests in Choose Yourself!  to write down ten business ideas every morning.

Don’t fret, they do not have to all be good ideas. The goal is to build your “idea muscle.”

The art of idea vetting

If you know people within the market of your idea, talk with them.

Otherwise there are places to get feedback:

  • Local entrepreneur meetups
  • Your coffee shop
  • LinkedIn connections
  • Relevant people on Twitter (make sure you monitor messages)
  • Facebook groups

Invention is 93% perspiration 6% inspiration 3% perspiration and 2% butterscotch ripple.

Where passion comes in to play

If your idea does not excite you, I suggest going back to step one. Building a new business is always hard — even when you are totally juiced.

What do you think happens when you are just doing it for the money?

There will be times you want to quit and when the going gets tough. Those passionate about their business stick with it.

Anything unique going on here?

Your plan best involve something new or unusual — or innovate within an old industry.

When I started TribeBoost it was the first business of its kind in the world. Nobody before had offered Twitter audience growth as a service. When you have a unique solution in a growing industry, you have a good business idea.

Six years later we now have many competitors, so starting the same business today is not as good of an idea.

Ok your business ideas passed the test, so the next step is…

Ok so your “snozberries taste like snozberries.” You should consider building a landing page and push traffic to it via cheap ads. See what kind of interest you get.

If your idea passes the initial taste test, verify that people will pay for your solution. People sometimes profess love until they realize things cost money.

Ideas are great, but…

Of course you need a good idea before you get started, but remember that an idea by itself is mostly worthless. I had the idea for eBay years before eBay was a thing. Last I checked, I have not seen any royalty checks yet.

What is worth something is a taking that idea and executing the hell out of it.

That means doing stuff — and a lot of it too.

Don’t fall in love with your idea and get off on that. It’s a trap we can easily fall into. Limit talking about what you are planning to do to avoid unearned satisfaction.

Don’t pat yourself on the back till you build on that idea and form a profitable business first.

Slugworth & the nasty idea thieves

I think we have all had that worry at some point.

Just remember this inevitable fact — someone somewhere else has already thought of your business idea. This is likely true even for the most ridiculously amazing ideas!

But lucky for you, that person probably has done anything about it yet.

This is because starting on a business idea and sticking to it is surprisingly rare:

  1. Most never get started.
  2. Those that do start often get hung up on naming their business, designing a logo, and trying to build a website.
  3. The few that get past these first two steps will often quit within the first few months if they do not get many sales.

If you just avoid those pitfalls you are ahead of probably 99% of the people out there.

We fear competition way too much.

Keep in mind that some of the biggest success stories recently took control over huge and very old industries.

  • Hospitality > AirBnB
  • Photography > Instragram
  • Taxi Service > Uber

If you work hard & smart and are doing something you care about, I doubt your competitors will matter much in the end. As long as you don’t give up and keep learning.

Recommended Further Study

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About the Author

Kevin is a serial entrepreneur. He is the former founder/CEO of TribeBoost along with several other businesses. Previously Kevin was one of the first ten employees of USInternetworking, the first cloud computing business in history and was an early employee at content management pioneer Vignette Corp. As a consultant he has managed software projects for organizations such as The National Security Agency, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, IBM, Kraft Heinz, Backpacker Magazine, and The U.S. Dept of Homeland Security.

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