“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come” – Victor Hugo
Literally I get ideas every single day and this has been going on since Grade School. When I say ideas, I mean ideas about everything. In fact you also have ideas every single day. It could be a Chiddush in the Gemara your learning or it could be an idea on how to use your Shabbos leftovers to create a new dish your kids will actually eat. Idea’s happen every day to everyone, but what you do with them is another story.
Let’s focus on business ideas. An entrepreneurs mind is trained to look for different business opportunities. So when I’m reading an article in a business magazine or I walk into a store, ideas are always popping into my head. I would say that 98% of the ideas I get I disregard in about 2 minutes. When an idea comes in, the immediate questions I ask and then answer myself are:
- Is it an idea that can earn money?
- Do I have the resources?
- Is it worth the time and effort to put in?
- Is there something similar out there already?
- Is the idea big enough?
If I can answer those questions correctly then I will write up a brief summary of the idea and place it in my “Idea File”. My “Idea File” is basically an email account I keep where I just sent my ideas to. Then when I’m looking for a good idea I just go through the list. Very often going through the list will bring up and generate other ideas.
One of the ways I know if an idea is a “good” idea is if that idea keeps coming back to me through the days and nights that follow. Do I start to get excited about the idea? Is it keeping me up at night? Etc.
So how do you find good ideas?
Here is a list of some of the ways:
- Find a real need that does not yet have a solution
- Read Business Magazines and Books
- Follow Blogs that talk about StartUps such as Mashable and TechCrunch
- Copy a successful idea, but put your own spin on it
- Look at great solutions for one industry and see if you can apply it to another industry
- Get some friends together and brainstorm different ideas
- EUREKA!! – Sometimes they just come to you!
The absolute best ideas come from finding a real need that is not being fulfilled. There are thousands of stories of everyday people that find a real need and then end up creating a solution and making money from it. If you yourself find a need, chances are there are others out there as well. One of my favorite stories out there is from a woman named Tiffany Krumins and her creation Ava the Elephant:
Tiffany’s passion for helping sick children has been evident through her years of experience working with kids, including special needs and childhood cancer patients, which brought Ava the Elephant ™ to life! She realized no product on the market resolved the common problem of giving children medicine. So she took matters into her own hands and created the first Ava from clay!
She found that it was not necessarily children’s dislike for medicine that made it so difficult. After all, they can make it taste like BUBBLEGUM these days! The process was the scary part.
Realizing this, her first goal was to hide the medicine dropper completely! Her second was to make the child smile or laugh, hence the sweet voice! Last, but not least, she wanted their new little friend to praise them for a job well done! (http://avatheelephant.com)
Tiffany created a medicine dispenser for children in the shape of a friendly elephant! Just simply put in the syringe with the medicine and you now have made giving medicine to a child a much easier process. Besides the fact that it is a great story, the other half of the story is that she did something with her idea! How many times have you come up with an idea that you just let slide? This reminds me of a great quote I just saw:
“In the dictionary, the word “idea” is a noun. “Idea” should actually a verb, because an idea is only real if you actually do something with it.”- Jeff Haden
Oftimes my question is “Can I take someone else’s idea that he has been successful with and also be successful with it?
This is in fact another way to get “ideas” for starting a business. Of course you may want to tweak it a bit or take the idea and use it for another niche, but it is definitely a great way to generate ideas.
Success though has nothing to do with how good of an idea it is as there are so many factors that go into what makes a business successful. You can take the best idea in the world, but if you are not able to execute the idea then your chances of success are zero.
But since this is an article about ideas let’s take a recent example in the business world of copying a successful idea.
Everyone by now I’m sure has heard of Groupon. Groupon is one of the fastest growing companies ever to hit the internet. In fact they have went public at a value of between 20 to 25 Billion Dollars! Not bad for a company that first launched in November 2008, just under three years ago.
But with their huge success came thousands of companies that took their ideas and either created similar sites for their country or for a specific niche like business products or children’s products. In fact they have spawned a whole new industry with even Google (who failed at buying them for $6 Billion) getting in on the game. Some of these “copy cats” actually were bought by GroupOn for millions of dollars.
In just Israel alone there are more than 30 of these types of sites! You can check them all out in English at AngloDeals.co.il. In the States there are many Jewish versions of the site getting in on the action with KosherKouponz.com showing some recent success.
But for all the successful copy cat’s there are thousands more that did not succeed. Was it because the idea was bad? Absolutely not, as we see the idea is amazing. It is the implementation of the idea that went wrong. Just because an idea fails, does not mean it was a bad idea.
Share in the comments, what inspires ideas for you?