Think you have a great idea? What do you do next? Here is how to practically discover what to do with great business ideas.
There are two kinds of people: those with ideas, and those making their ideas a reality. I like to think of myself as the former. Here's how I juggle the seemingly endless flow of ideas rolling around in my head and make them into something tangible.
Related: 6 Tips to Shake Off Startup Stress
1) Write Your Ideas Down
There's no greater anxiety than forgetting a brilliant idea you've tried so hard to remember. Great ideas are spontaneous and sometimes they can come to you in brilliant flashes. During this time you are at the pinnacle of your creativity and it is important that you write down your inspiration, going into as much detail as you can. Have a platform handy where you can let ideas flow into a permanent medium you can refer back to like Evernote, Bandcamp, Google Drive, Microsoft Word or even a digital notepad.
2) Let Your Ideas Marinate
It's incredible how a small but brilliant idea will mature and develop with time. Often a great idea isn't so great after a few days reflection. Face it, you need time to process and prioritize your ideas so they can develop. Sometimes you will have revelation on how to improve upon a new or existing idea. Either way, your idea has been allowed to marinate like a delicious steak. Rarely has the first instance of an idea been the ideal model ready for immediate launch. Bottom line, allow your ideas time to improve and mature.
3) Do A Research Sprint
Research can be a never-ending road leading you straight into the realm of doubt, anxiety and procrastination. It's my belief the more you research, the more reasons you have to NOTpursue your idea. The secret weapon against burnout is the "research sprint". It's basically a 30-minute time limit you set on researching your idea, market and potential. Anything worthwhile or helpful can be found within 30 minutes or less using an online search engine like Google. A 30-minute research window will reveal the most critical information you need, reducing information overload that pollutes your creativity and enthusiasm.
Related: Get help conducting research with a market research software solution.
4) Mark Your Territory
When I have a red-hot idea, I'll reserve potential domain names. It buys me time to come back to the idea and launch as a fully realized product or service without the fear of someone snagging the name or website. If you have a product in mind, try and buy some exploratory materials for a prototype. File a provisional patent if you have the time and resources. Whatever you do, make sure you mark your territory however you see fit to ensure someone else doesn't beat you to the punch on a great idea.
5) Get A Quick Win
Momentum is one of the greatest forces for launching an idea. In the early stages, you want to successfully reach an important milestone early -- whether a strategic phone call, a quote from a web developer or an estimate from a manufacturer. The most difficult step for me in launching a new venture is not the crossing finish line, but taking off from the starting line. Most of my ventures are web-based, so my early wins are wireframes, logo design or development roadmap for programmers. Analyze your project, set early milestones to work towards and GO!
6) Decide: Scrap It, Wait On It or Go For It
Soon after a quick win, every entrepreneur needs to decide what to do with the idea. Do you scrap it? Maybe the market isn't developed enough to profit from your idea. Wait on it? Perhaps your project should just sit because of funding requirements, technological advances or just better timing down the road. Go for it? Set in motion an all-encompassing launch plan to take your idea to market. Regardless of the answer, be decisive so you are mentally focused on a course of action. Otherwise, your brain will be preoccupied with multiple options, shutting out future ideas from emerging.
(Image: smarnad via freedigitalphotos.net)