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good-idea

Article Contributed by Cameron Johnson

Striking out on your own to create a new product or service is an excited and sometimes frustrating venture. It requires careful planning, hard work, and a strong understanding of your industry. Most importantly, it requires a unique business idea. Coming up with this idea can at first seem daunting, but there are a number of ways to find your million dollar concept. Try these 5 tips to help get your creative juices flowing:

1 – Consumer Research

If necessity is the mother of invention, then find out what the people need and give it to them. Finding out what makes people’s lives easier is one of the best ways to brainstorm a new product or service. First, you’ll need to do a little bit of general marketing. Send out emails and surveys to prospective customers asking them what general problems plague their days (i.e., getting the kids to school on time, keeping their schedules in order, remembering to buy toilet paper on a regular basis, etc.).

Then, start brainstorming ideas to find out what kind of products would help them achieve their goals, like an app that sets an alarm a certain number of days after the user has purchased toilet paper to remind them to buy more. The best part of this route is that since the customer is always right, you’ll never go wrong with their answers.

2 – Collaborative Brainstorming Sessions

Whether you’re looking to branch out in a new trade or simply modify the career path you’ve been on, collaborating and brainstorming with people you trust can be an invaluable step in creating a new product. Ask your friends and family members what type of projects they think you’d be suited for. You might get mostly terrible ideas (circus trainer, magician, actor or politician when clearly you’re someone who enjoys data entry), but you’ll still get your creative juices flowing.

For every 10 bad ideas, there’s always at least one good one. This one is similar to the consumer research idea; however, the biggest difference is that you’re asking your friends and family for advice and not the general public.

3 – Filling in the Gaps 

If you already enjoy working in your current field but think you could provide customers a more comprehensive service, look for gaps where your current company fails to deliver a quality product and fill them in. Say you are a software engineer and the company you work for has built a product that lacks a few key features you think would help the product sell. You’ve told your boss, your boss’s boss and all your co-workers, but for some reason (usually time or budget constraints) your ideas go unnoticed. Why not create a product that you feel would serve the customer better?

The nice thing about this option is you can start building this product on your own time while you are still at your current job. As long as you do not violate any copyright laws or steal your company’s ideas, you could probably even poach some of your coworkers to help you enhance your idea.

4 – Do What You Love

Instead of coming up with a whole new idea for a startup or new business model, stick with what you’re good at. If you’re sitting around at your desk at work, wishing you could be doing exactly what you’re doing—but on your own time and in your own space, consider going freelance. Whether you’re a customer service representative or a tax accountant, striking out on your own isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Freelance websites connect employers with freelancers and even offer customer service and data entry jobs that you can do from your own home. If you are a tax accountant, you could consider working for a large company during tax season and keeping a string of freelance clients on hand for the rest of the year.

5 – Give it a Rest

When all else fails, go for a walk, take a shower or do the dishes after a massive brainstorming session. Giving your mind a chance to rest will allow your subconscious mind to take care of your idea for a little while. Some of the best ideas come to us when we least expect them to. Brainstormers also need to give themselves a little bit of a break and not get too upset if they feel frustrated or feel like all of their ideas deserve to end up in the trash bin.

If you feel like your ideas keep bombing, remember: don’t get discouraged. Inventing a new product and service isn’t easy—otherwise, everyone would be doing it.

About the author: Cameron Johnson is a business consultant and entrepreneur. Over the course of his career he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international business conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.


 
 
 

 
 

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