Where Do Ideas Come From?

I recently attended a seminar on Generating and Developing Business Ideas. One of the questions raised in the presentation was ‘Where Do Ideas Come From?’

The presentation then went on to state:

There are just three types of idea:-

  • A borrowed or adapted idea
  • A genuinely new idea (invention)
  • An idea based on what you know

Coming up with ideas has never really been a problem for me. It’s finishing them off before coming up with another spiffing new idea which is the greater problem. Nevertheless, it was still an insightful look at the idea development process. Some of the points and suggestions made are outlined below.

List your skills

  • What do you love to do?
  • What do you do well?
  • What would you like to do?
  • Do you have any talents, hobbies, skills, passions & experience?

Personal SWOT Analysis

Make a SWOT analysis about you, list:

What do you enjoy doing most – (skills/experience/hobbies, knowledge, personal traits)

What do I least like doing – (ie. no business skills, not good at numbers, lacking in knowledge)

What’s around the corner – (what external factors may help you, what can you learn from others, where do you fit the bill)

What could cause you problems – (how will external factors affect your business or venture)

Recognising Trends
A few of these could be:

  • The growth of the Internet
  • Environmental
  • Working from home
  • Demographic Changes
  • Credit Crunch
  • The Grey Pound
  • The Pink Pound
  • Ethical Trading
  • Social Enterprise

Markets Create Opportunities

  • The specialists (niche markets)
  • A market with some resurgence in demand
  • Products that hold their value
  • The local supplier
  • Meeting a need for which there is only occasional demand.

What are the Problems and What are the Needs?

Ever noticed something which could be done better. Could you do it better?

What’s the solution? Is there an opportunity?

  • Is there a better idea?
  • What is the idea?
  • Can it be developed?
  • What are the operational needs?
  • What are the Technical requirements?

Is there a Market?

  • Will they buy it from me?
  • Why won’t they buy from me?
  • Who do they buy from and why?
  • What do they really want?

Evaluate it!

  • What sort of business could you create?
  • A full-time or part-time operation?
  • A business to fit your lifestyle?
  • A service-based business or product-based business?
  • A ready made business (existing or franchise)?


    • Be clear about your business idea
    • Be honest about your skills
    • Research what support is available
    • Research your customers, competitors and suppliers
    • The “Market”… Know where you fit
    • Parato principle – aka the %80/%20 rule
    • Develop a business plan
    • Always start with all the cash you need
    • Prepare and plan for contingencies
    • Take all the professional advice you can get
    • Create an action plan/lists
    • Network, network, network

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