You have been thinking about this for a long time, and now you are ready to get serious about starting your own business. Many people know they want to strike out on their own before they have a solid idea. There are so many different directions you could go, so many ideas out there. How do you know what is the right one for you?
Sure, some entrepreneurs have inspired “eureka!” moments that give them that big idea, but even more follow a method of generating successful ideas. Rather than waiting for the lightning bolt to strike, there are some tried and true strategies for arriving on your best bets for a business.
Here are some of the things you can do to set yourself up for the win when planning your new venture:
Focus on your strengths.
Create the parameters of your business based on the skills you already have available either from yourself or your team. Exploit those skills and be clear about what you want to create. Do you want a small lifestyle business or a fast-growing company that could go public eventually? How much money do you have available for the startup? How long can you go without income? What are your goals? What is your vision for your life as a business owner?
The answers to those questions will help to determine your next steps.
Even if you have a few potential winners on your list already, be sure to go through the process of brainstorming, especially if you are involved with partners. Have everyone on your team brainstorm separately and provide their ideas. Save the lists for future endeavors. Give yourself plenty of time to percolate as this process could take months or longer.
Think about things that frustrate you and that you could improve upon. Look for needs you can fill and problems you can solve. Oftentimes you can make improvements on already-established ideas and create a business around that.
The best idea wins.
Based on the guidelines you created in answering the questions about your strengths, go through your ideas and rule out any that don’t fit within the parameters you have established.
Next, begin conducting market research on several of the winning ideas. Do an Internet search and look at prices, competing products and how large the market is. If your idea is inventive, do a thorough patent search and even hire a patent attorney to be sure you don’t invest too much in one concept.
Now, seek feedback from trusted advisors such as experts in the field, mentors and fellow entrepreneurs. Meet one-on-one or in a group and present your ideas, asking for insights and criticisms as well as any questions they may have. You can also ask them to tell you which of your ideas they think will be most successful and narrow the list to their favorite three.
At this point you should have a good sense of your most promising idea. Don’t forget to make sure it is something you are excited about and will enjoy.
This process of finding an awesome idea for your new business will be worth investing your time and energy into. After you have chosen your big idea you can begin to take steps toward its creation. Creating a new business is one of the most exciting adventures you can take.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.