From my research and the 50 in-depth interviews of successful Corporate Crossovers, there are four ways to create a business idea:
1. Follow My Passion
2. Solving my problems
3. Leverage my skills and experience
4. Have an epiphany!
1. Follow my passion
When we are passionate about something, we find it easy to talk about, we love leaning more about it, and we are happy to spend time thinking and being involved with activities related to that passion. Chances are we also have a great deal of knowledge about that subject.
An easy place to find an idea for your business is to consider what you are passionate about. Is it sailing, cooking, neuroscience or something else?
Are there things you used to be passionate about when you were younger but since you have been heavily involved in your career, or family or both, these passions have dwindled and become dormant.
Or maybe it is a new found area that lights you up, that sparks your energy and makes you feel happy and touches your potential?
2. Solving My Own Problems…..
Many of the business ideas evolve from a need that the founder has. They need a service or a product and realise it doesn’t exist. Interestingly the women that I spoke to saw the need when they entered a new lifestyle stage…parenthood. Conversations with other people like them support the need for the idea and voila! A business is born!
How often have you been frustrated by a product not performing as you had hoped, or wonder why someone hasn’t created a particular gadget to make your life easier? Or maybe you had that flash of inspiration when you were in the shower, creating a product to solve your problem but you didn’t do anything with it.
The benefit of creating a solution to your problem as the basis for your business idea is that you are intimately aware of he issues that you are trying to solve. There is a high probability that you will also know other people with the same problem, enabling you to get to an even greater understanding of the issue and how you will solve it successfully.
3. Leveraging Your Experience
Identifying the business idea that will fuel you to leave can also be based on doing what you are already doing. Continuing in your profession but instead of doing it for a corporation as a paid employee, doing it for yourself. You build on your experience and network to create a new business, as a freelancer, interim or consultant.
For many this can seem like the low risk option because you have the skills and experience required to make it a success. You may really love what you do but be disillusioned with the environment within which you are doing it. Transplanting and repackaging your existing skills and experience is what many freelancers, consultants and interim professionals do.
Confidence and contacts are already established when you start your business using this approach. It is an effective way to quickly gain traction with your new business. Giving you more critical quick wins to fuel your self belief and business success.
The aha moment. Elusive when we want one, abundant when we shower! That moment of clarity, insight culminating in a bright idea that you just know is the right idea for you to build your business on.
It may come to you through observation, as it did for Joanne at Linen Loft, or by trying out a new experience, such as Galia’s raw chocolate making class.
If you are short of an idea and you feel that epiphanies elude you, it is time to freshen up your thinking. The easiest way to get fresh thinking is to change the stimulus reaching your brain. Quite simply, it’s about doing some things differently and trying new experiences.
Epiphanies happen as your brain churns through information. They can be triggered by new pieces of information that can unlock the solution to a problem that you have been churning through in the back of your mind.
If you commute to work, try taking a different route. Drive a new way, take a different bus or get off a stop early and walk longer. Simply changing your set routine means that you will no longer be on autopilot and you will have to focus on where you are and where you are going. Your brain will be more engaged and observant. You will see things you haven’t seen before and then start to think different thoughts. It’s the different thoughts that lead to an epiphany!
Likewise trying new experiences, a new class, a new restaurant, a new sport or hobby forces your brain to work in different ways. So not only are you experiences new activities but again, you are making your brain work harder. As your brain takes in all this new information it has to input it into your long term memory. Once it is in, your brain will have fresh new stimulus to get to work on. It is when the brain makes sense of all the new information, that moment if insight, or epiphany will come Don’t force it, just get out there and get stimulated!