(By Michelle Alerte)
“To start with, never fight against the insanity in your mind. You will survive the avalanche much easier by staying calm, waiting for quiet, and carrying on. The first tip is therefore to go ahead and jot down every single idea you have. Don’t feel irritated with yourself for having so many. Don’t shake your fists at the heavens. Instead just make a list and get everything in your mind out. This way you can look at your ideas and get a concrete sense of exactly how many options you are truly working with.“
After all the articles I have written about small business ownership from common mistakes to avoid to the most low-investment yet lucrative industries it is somewhat surprising that I could have left any stones unturned. But a question I received in response to one of my articles assured me that was not quite the case.
A reader asked the following: As someone with a lot of business ideas, how do you narrow your ideas down and figure out which ones are worth pursuing? This prompted a list of tips to help the over-creatives out there, who can easily get buried beneath an avalanche of ideas. Let’s hone in on a starting point.
EMBRACE THE CRAZY
To start with, never fight against the insanity in your mind. You will survive the avalanche much easier by staying calm, waiting for quiet, and carrying on. The first tip is therefore to go ahead and jot down every single idea you have. Don’t feel irritated with yourself for having so many. Don’t shake your fists at the heavens. Instead just make a list and get everything in your mind out. This way you can look at your ideas and get a concrete sense of exactly how many options you are truly working with. Writing down your ideas will also help you to ground them. Sometimes after making a list you may realize that a few are just plain futile as others become clearer.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
Starting a new business will always take money. You’ll need investment capital in some form or another. But a good way to establish which idea may be best is listing your ideas from most investment required to least. This way you can quickly begin taking things out of the running. Be honest about how much liquidity you have to put towards creating your product or providing your service. If you know you’re living paycheck to paycheck, floating (not drowning but still) in debt, and you don’t want to or can’t qualify for a seed-money loan, then cold hard cash will help you realize you’re not quite as limitless as you once believed.
EASY IS AS EASY DOES
Getting a business up and running is hard enough as it is. There is absolutely no reason to start with the idea that requires an advanced degree in calculus, chemistry, and bio-molecular engineering if you don’t have it. Going the easy route is nothing to be ashamed of. Choose the idea that will take the least amount of time and that you know with absolute certainty you can do. Whether it’s the baked goods that you have the space and talent to produce or the windshield washing service that you already have the rags to provide, you will go a long way by sticking with idea that you can get started as painlessly as possible. In this way you’ll be confident about the idea and can have several business successes behind you when it comes to tackling the more cumbersome choices later on in your CEO career.
FOLLOW YOUR MOUTH
Order your list of ideas by the ones you find yourself talking about the most. Go ahead and get wild. Look at which idea you wake up talking about and go to sleep dreaming of. Having a business will require a great deal of passion and perseverance so working the one that makes you giddy every morning will be a great help. That chipper, excited attitude will be a safety blanket getting you through the guaranteed “dark days,” when absolutely nothing seems to be turning up right.
THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR
You’d be surprised how many ideas seem great until spoken out loud to an objective audience. Run through your list of ideas with someone you trust, people you know will give you honest and helpful feedback. Capture their reactions from: “Wow that is totally something I would use/buy” to “What else you got?” An idea that seemed very easy, inexpensive, and realistic to you may be exactly what the majority of your friends think would be a waste of time. You may even discover that a friend already uses or bought something incredibly similar and that your idea isn’t so unique after all. Sometimes the best solution is simply getting out of your own head and into someone else’s.
You can’t do all things at once. That’s how people become a Jack of all trades, master of none. Owning a successful business will naturally require a bit of mastery after all. The next step should be picking the top THREE ideas from your list that are calling your name. Now start jotting down your thoughts for how you would get these businesses off the ground.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU GETTING YOURSELF INTO?
Research is necessary if your plan is to keep your idea from getting out of the gate and tripping over a mound of dirt, landing you and your newfound business flat on its face. Taking the time to research the three ideas you’ve picked will help you remove any lingering fantasies from the business plan. Did you think you’d open up a lingerie shop and Romeo-types would float in to strip your walls bare, grabbing items for their darling girlfriends? Investigate how many lingerie shops are in your neck of the woods and see how much business it really generates. Speak to other business owners or your local Chamber of Commerce. Look up demand for your product or service. Ask customers who already use or buy something similar to your idea what they wish could be different or better. However you can, get the information you need to make an informed decision.
AND THE WINNER IS…
The time has come with all the facts you’ve gathered to pick which idea leaves you feeling the most confident. The final choice should be the one that gives you the least amount of doubt, anxiety, and fear. Naturally starting on a new enterprise you’ll have these feelings to some extent, but the time you spent in research should have clued you in to which idea can truly manifest into reality.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: THE TRUE VIRTUE OF PATIENCE
Now that you have selected a winner STICK WITH IT! Do not question your decision! Do not revisit the list! All the hemming and hawing was done during the decision making phase and it is now time to commit. Work steadily toward developing and implementing the idea and only after it has been completed (can stand on its own) should you then begin work on your next brilliant business.
Source – Madamenoire
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