Everyone has business ideas.
But it’s probably not a stretch to say most of them aren’t so great.
“It’s relatively easy to sit and come up with a list of random ideas,” writes Ramit Sethi in GrowthLab’s “Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Business.” “But without the right framework, you can’t tell if these ideas will ever hold any weight.”
Get started generating ideas with real promise using GrowthLab’s questions below:
1. What do I already pay for?
“I lead with this question because a lot of us can’t even fathom the idea that someone would pay them for something,” writes Sethi. “But when you think about it, we already pay other people for tons of random stuff.”
Maybe you pay a house cleaner, or a stylist, or a dog walker, or a personal trainer. You pay them for a service you need — why shouldn’t someone pay you? Begin by listing the services you pay for personally, to “open your mind” to the possibilities.
Now list: 3-5 services
2. What skills do I have?
“Remember, there are no bad ideas here,” writes Sethi. “Your list of skills can include anything you want.”
Now list: 10 skills
3. What do my friends say I’m great at?
“If you find yourself thinking, ‘Ramit, I do not have any skills,’ go ask your friends,” Sethi says in the guide. “It might seem a little weird, but I bet they will give you a list of at least 3 things you’re amazing at — right away.”
After all, you can create a business centered around the skills that come easiest to you, like building Excel charts, giving relationship advice, picking the perfect gift, organising anything, or even being charismatic in a crowd. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean everyone can.
Now list: 3-5 ideas
4. What do I do on Saturday morning?
Sethi took this question from his interview with writer and entrepreneur Ben Casnocha, who says what you’re reading, watching, and doing on the weekend before anyone makes demands on your time provides a good hint at what you could do on the clock.
Now list: 3-5 activities
By this point, you should have at least 20 ideas, which you can evaluate further using GrowthLab’s free “Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Business.”
And if you’re finding your business ideas aren’t panning out, don’t beat yourself up over it. Not every idea is a winner. Sethi writes that the process of finding a killer business idea starts with a simple truth: “You have permission to come up with ideas that suck.”
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