This is a really great period for starting your business. The startup ecosystem is bubbling with innovation, and even customers are more receptive to adopting newer technologies and products.
If you've already started a business, bless you. You're on the path to entrepreneurial success. And for those who want to start a venture but can't find or channel their passion, all it takes is figuring out that one idea that makes you restless and to start with that.
If you're like me, though, identifying that one idea you want to go after can be challenging at times.
Over the years, having started many companies, I've realized there is a common thread to the times when an idea struck that I would pursue to build a business. It's worked every single time, including my current venture, Arkenea.
So I'm sharing with you the strategies that work, and the ones that don't, for finding your next big startup idea.
Stimulate ideas by going offline
If you want to stimulate an idea, you need to give your brain time to go offline. Ideas generate best when your brain is at a lower, more relaxed, state called the alpha state.
Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School discovered that people who access this state tend to demonstrate superior performance on both physical and mental tests.
Typically, when we are awake and engaged in our daily lives and chores, our brain is producing beta waves. These are much faster than alpha waves, and result in faster thoughts, the ability to multitask, and, potentially, anxiety and stress.
So if you're a workaholic or always busy doing something (spending time on social media included), you're harming your brain's ability to come up with creative ideas and solutions.
And so it becomes extremely important to give your mind the space to go into the relaxed state and let your creative juices flow. This is evidenced by thousands of stories of people coming up with a breakthrough idea when they weren't expecting it and their mind was elsewhere.
So here is a simple way to get your mind to relax and think in the direction you want it to--do something that lets your mind wander. It could be bathing, walking, or running without headphones, or just sitting in an idle state, or meditating.
Execution trumps ideas
The only way to test your ideas or for them to have any impact is for you to execute them. Nearly every successful entrepreneur advises you to put an idea out in the market by creating a minimum viable product and judging whether it is something your audience wants.
But what do you do when you have multiple ideas and can't decide which one to test?
Think about each idea and note how you feel, and then you will choose the right one. Trust your feelings; people who have previously failed but keep pushing forward are most often the ones who subsequently come up with the most important, breakthrough ideas.
Some of the most successful products I have created were chanced on merely by the feeling they would incite. Call it intuition or passion, it led to building a successful business.
Brainstorming is a terrible way to generate good ideas
How do you bring other people onto the same plane for an idea you have in mind? It's extremely difficult to communicate at the idea stage; the other person can very well interpret your idea in his or her own way.
The generation of ideas happens within individuals, at random times, so you cannot expect to put individuals together and instruct them how and when to be creative and come up with brilliant ideas.
The fact that brainstorming sessions have a time limit and require the focus of a group means the brain doesn't have the relaxed state needed for creative thought, as mentioned earlier (alpha state).
Keep at it, and you surely will come up with your next big startup idea. Of course, it only works if you're in it for the long haul.