60-Second Guide to Coming Up with a Powerful Business Idea


You’re all set to start a small business. You have the drive, the desire, and the commitment to make it work. You lack just one thing-an idea for the business itself. Don’t worry. Even successful entrepreneurs sometimes have difficulty deciding their next move. In just 60-seconds, we’ll show you the steps to come up with the idea that will get you started on the road to small business success.

It’s All about Attitude

A positive, optimistic outlook is the foundation for achievement. You must accept that everything you do-research, asking questions and good old creative brainstorming-is both necessary and worthwhile to reaching your goals. Be willing to learn and, if you can afford to, experiment. And always use mistakes or failures as learning opportunities. Trade Places

Your powerful business idea may be related to something you already do or are familiar with. Put yourself in the place of a customer and consider what aspects of the product or service you like and dislike and what elements might add value.

Seek Out a Sounding Board

Friends and family are good sources of feedback, but their experience and emotions may cloud their objectivity. You want expert advice from a person who will ask the right questions, and not feel guilty about offering criticism. Many current and aspiring entrepreneurs find that consulting with a SCORE volunteer counselor guides their thinking and alerts them to hidden considerations and risks.

Research, Research, Research

Learn everything you can about areas or types of businesses that interest you. The more you discover, the easier it will be to spot a trend or need that a small business like yours can fill. Sometimes, investigating one idea will lead you to another one that is more promising or simpler to implement.

Follow the Wingwalker’s Code

In the early days of the airplane, daredevil men and women would perform acrobatic feats on the wings while soaring above their amazed spectators. They had a simple rule for survival that’s just as applicable to entrepreneurs: don’t grab for something unless you already have a firm hold on something else. In other words, conduct your small business exploration around your current career responsibilities. There’s no pressure for hasty decisions or investments and your mind stays free to think through ideas.

Put Your Research into a Plan

Incorporating your research and ideas into a business plan is a good exercise that helps you assess possibilities, contingencies, opportunities and limitations of any business idea, whether you decide to follow through or not. The small business experts at SCORE will take you through the steps of building a business plan and help you read between the lines.

Source: SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business,” 2004

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