Coming up with a new idea is tricky, choosing the right idea is even trickier and then making that business work is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. So why even start?
If you nail the business idea – one you’re proud of and that makes a difference in the world – it will make you feel alive.
Some days will be stressful, especially when things aren’t going as they should. But when you’re in the flow, there’s no better feeling. To keep going, you’ll need passion and you’ll need to believe in what you do – and that all starts with the right idea.
Where do you start?
Most of my best ideas arrive when I least expect it and never when I’m at my desk.
Every day presents different struggles and most of these I used to ignore or find ways to work around. The moment I became present to these struggles, they became opportunities. Try it, just for one day. Instead of getting stressed or triggered by something that happens see if you can think of an idea that might solve the issue, however small.
Practising mindfulness has helped me stay present throughout the day, opening a world of possibility.
Shore Ride came about because I found taking my paddle board to the water a frustrating experience from where I lived. I hacked a version together for myself originally, but then noticed others had the same issue. You can read Shore Ride’s Member Spotlight here.
Kids come up with new ideas naturally every day – my little boy must come up with about five different ideas a day. Most are mental, but others could become something with a bit of development.
Amazon also contains a wealth of new business ideas. Could you improve upon anything you’ve recently ordered from Amazon? Reading the Amazon reviews often includes insights into the product or what the customers are after. Is there anything available in the US which isn’t yet available in the UK?
What should I do with this list of ideas?
Sit with your ideas for a week, maybe two. Stay present. How are these ideas making you feel? Is there one in particular that gives you the goosebumps, and are you still excited after two weeks?
If you’re still feeling the passion, then it’s time to see which of these ideas has legs.
Which ideas have legs?
It’s time to research your ideas to see which will make it, and which you have to throw out. If none make it, then don’t stress. It’s much better to be patient and choose an idea that genuinely works for you, rather than to choose something that isn’t right. By selecting the latter, you’ll struggle to find the energy to get through the tough times.
Finding your ikigai will make this easier. Borrowed from Japanese culture, the concept of ikigai is a fabulous way to better understand our reason to get out of bed in the morning, our reason for living.
The image above is from The View Inside Me. Marc says that “your ikigai lies at the centre of those interconnecting circles. If you lack in one area, you are missing out on your life’s potential. Not only that, but you are missing out on your chance to live a long and happy life.”
Thinking through the questions above and making a list of everything that lies in the centre of the circles will help you to keep or throw out your ideas.
Take a moment to watch this video from Simon Sinek to understand your company’s ‘why’. He developed the idea of the Golden Circle and why some of the best companies start from ‘why’ they exist rather than ‘what’ they do. Before starting any new project, I always watch this for a dose of inspiration.
How competitive is the landscape? Take a look at Wordtracker to check your ideas have a market, and that the market has search volume. You’ll also be able to tell if your budding business maintains consistent demand throughout the year, or if it’s seasonal, leading to pockets of profit.
When developing a new idea, I also find the business model canvas to be a great option. A full business plan can stifle, but the business model canvas helps me to clarify my ideas.
Let’s test the idea
There’s always the first step, the first way you choose to test the idea in the real world.
It’s likely that this will be starting as a side project first. Don’t quit the day job until your idea is proven! Few people have all the time and money in the world to create a new business, so let’s make the test a small one. Keep every test lean and concise.
With Shore Ride, I found a local Fab Lab and made my prototype. I then took that to local meetups to get feedback from my potential market. From there I made ten and went to a local festival, then I made 50 and then I made some more.
Every step was designed to provide feedback, so I could feel confident that when I invested the big bucks in stock, I knew there was a good chance of the product succeeding.
Don’t be afraid to change the test or pivot into something new at any stage. You’re early in the cycle, so changing things at this stage is more straightforward than if you’ve spent £10,000 on stock or on developing a site.
The power of support
Lastly (and perhaps most importantly) is having people around that can help.
I’m blessed to be part of several business groups that have helped me grow. Those guys are there for me through the good and the difficult (especially the difficult)!
Throw yourself into excellent podcasts from people that have done this before. Secret Leaders is a great listen. Use Pocket to listen to articles you’ve saved on the subject.
Good luck! The journey is hard, but so worth it.
Who am I?
My name is Andy Mindel, and I’ve been making things online since the early days of the internet. I love to create and put things into the world that are useful and not already available. More importantly, I love to make things that enable others to follow their passions.
I founded wordtracker.com in 1999, and since then have helped to create onboardhq.com.
I hang out with my little kids as much as possible and take them for travel adventures whenever possible.
I live near the coast where I spend as much time as possible kite surfing, paddle boarding and biking. Moving to the coast inspired me to make a board carrier to get my board to the beach without using the car. You can find my web home here – andymindel.com. Come and say hi.
Find me at andymindel.com if you ever want to chat!