By Adam Toren
Entrepreneurs with the most successful business ideas will tell you they worked hard to uncover their idea. The mind is a muscle that needs exercise. The more we use it, the more in tune it becomes to what we want and where we’re going. A well-trained brain that engages in critical thinking every day is much more likely to think up a game-changing idea.
When researching potential business ideas, your mind conditions itself to what you ultimately want to do. At some point, autopilot kicks in and the brain sifts through your research and brainstorms. One day, with the right amount of work, time and dedication, a light bulb will go off and you’ll realize your idea is fully baked and ready to be put into action.
The journey often begins by asking some important questions.
What is your idea of a perfect business?
If you haven’t already written down the goals you have for your business idea, make sure to do so. How do you work best? What does your idea entail? What’s your dream business? Where do you want it to take you? If you want some structure to your thinking, you can refer to the time-tested SMART goals format:
Choose Specific goals.
Choose Measurable goals.
Choose Action-orienetd goals.
Choose Realistic or Relevant goals.
Choose Time-oriented goals.
Developing goals will provide you much-needed direction. You can refer to them whenever you think of an idea and use them as a checklist to ensure your idea meets all criteria.
What do you know?
Most people find success starting with what they know. Beginning in an entirely unknown field can work, but will likely take far more effort and persistence. An entrepreneur is a problem solver, so your idea – whether a product or a service – should aim to solve, or make easier, something you know others struggle with and encounter on a regular basis.
What are you interested in?
You probably excel at several things because they interest you. You may also have interests where you have no experience. Oftentimes the perfect business idea combines something you know with another interest that will require additional training and research. Working in a field you’re interested in is of the utmost importance, because working with something you love will provide the passion necessary to power through the initial startup days and subsequent challenges you may encounter after incorporating a company.
What businesses or markets fit your interests?
Now it’s time for more research. What businesses, products and services match your interests? Is there an existing market for your interests, or could this be a cutting-edge opportunity? Who might be your customers, and why would they want your product or service? All are important factors to take into consideration during the early stages of new company formation.
There’s always a need to incorporate businesses in existing markets, especially if there’s a differentiator that improves upon the already available products or services. If you find the market saturated, it’s time to give the customer something a little different. If not, there may be an opportunity to provide easier, more convenient access to the product or service.
Figure out a way to stay active and love your work
This is where passion plays into entrepreneurship. Your business will have ups and downs. You’ll need to be passionate about your business idea to stick with it during tough times. Once you become disillusioned or disinterested, you may as well shut the doors and count your losses. Look for positive outcomes in every situation, and continue to drive forward. Be sure about your love for something before setting out to start a business and plan for the long haul.
The end justifies the path
All successful entrepreneurs have those moments when they think, “I am so glad I did this!” With each challenge confronted and conquered entrepreneurs become better business owners. As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to learn to be flexible and adapt to the market. For most entrepreneurs, it’s not only the end result that provides satisfaction – it’s the adventure they undertook to achieve their dreams. At first, focus on the little things – progress is incremental. After it’s all over, those will be the moments you’ll look back on with the most pride.