Thinking of good business ideas is more of an art than a science. It requires a creative mind and the ability to solve consumer problems. Good ideas are sometimes not obvious; you need to know how to harness your thought process to conceptualize them. Fortunately, there are ways to encourage that light bulb moment in your head.
Mix in Different Circles
Talk with people outside your network who can provide you with perspective and inspiration. People who you don’t normally associate with may have different interests and ideas than your own, which may get you thinking of new ideas you hadn’t previously considered. For example, if you are an architect who is looking for ideas to grow your small business, speak to other small business owners in different industries to discuss ideas that worked for them. Traveling to other provinces or internationally exposes you to people who do things differently; what you consider normal could be totally foreign in other parts of the world. This can inspire you, which can lead to good ideas.
In this modern, frantic world, it is easy to have good ideas pushed to the back of your mind as you juggle other priorities. Dedicate time each week to meditate. This gives you a clear mind to exclusively focus on generating good ideas for your small business. For instance, you may want to open an online store but need some good ideas about what products to sell. You could dedicate two hours per week for meditation in a quiet space, such as a park or near a pond. Visualize a common problem, and then picture a product that could provide an innovative solution.
Talk to Customers
You might think up good ideas after talking with customers. Loyal customers often know your small business well and are happy to make suggestions where they think it could be improved. A suggestion could lead to an idea about a new product or service. For example, if you operate a small accounting business, a client may discuss its need for real-time accounting information. This may provide you with the idea to introduce cloud accounting to better service your clients. Asking your customers about everyday consumer problems they encounter can be an effective way to discover new ideas.
Think of the Future
Good ideas are often generated when you think about the future direction of technology; try to discover where trends are likely to develop. For instance, if you own a small business that sells innovative products, think about growth areas, such as the internet of things, and how this may create a need for complementary products. Attend technology trade fairs and discuss products that are in the research and development phase and creating a buzz. Discuss the future direction of technology with millennials; they are technology-savvy and can alert you to developing trends. Participate in online technology forums to get ideas about what products may be popular in the future.