There are some that say that business ideas are a dime a dozen. The real challenge is finding a business idea which can translate into success and profit. Even a professional think tank whose sole mission is to create great ideas don't always hit them out of the park every time. Coming up with a great business idea is really a matter of trial and error. The most powerful lesson you can learn could be from your failures. The following are some helpful hints that can allow you to develop a proactive approach towards generating great business ideas.
· Listen hard: A lot of the great business ideas come from a source that is available to everyone and that is listening to what other people have to say. This doesn't necessarily mean conducting surveys asking the question, "What's the one thing you need that would make your life better?" Instead it could mean just being aware of the people around you are saying. Take the occasional ride on the subway or bus and listen in on conversations between workers. Take lunch outdoors by yourself surrounded by an other workers to hear what they have to say. Is this eavesdropping? Of course it is but as long as you're in a public place you’re not breaking any laws by listening in on a conversation that someone is having right next to you.
· Write it Down: There’s no telling where or when that next great idea might come from. You could be woken up in the middle the night with inspiration or find it sitting in a traffic jam. The important thing is not to let that idea escape. If you don't have access to a notepad and pen there are plenty of cell phone apps which allow you to dictate a random thought. At the end of the day or week go over your notes or record of memos and see if there's anything worth developing.
· Walk Away: During the brainstorming process you could be put yourself under some self imposed pressure. If you say, "I have to come up with a great idea by five o'clock today", there's a very good chance you won't come up with any idea! If thinking about a project has you hitting the proverbial brick wall then get up from your chair and go for a walk. Take a shower. Go shopping. Do anything that will give your brain a rest and allow other sensory inputs to flow in. Once you clear out the stress you could discover that you're now free to create.
· Don't Hesitate to "Borrow": The famous writer Tolstoy once said that every story idea is either a stranger that comes to town or a man embarking on a journey. If that is true, then every storyteller has essentially borrowed from every other storyteller; it's just a matter of putting your own spin on a variation of a theme. That same principle can be applied to generating a great business idea. Check out what the competition is up to. Maybe you could be doing the same thing only better. This kind of research could also inspire you to go off into an entirely different direction. Great business ideas don't happen in a vacuum.