“I’d love to start a business, but I just don’t know what I would do.”

-Budding entrepreneur

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It’s not uncommon to hear someone say they would like to start a business or launch a product into the market, but they can’t quite seem to nail down which idea they would like to pursue. They are attracted to what they think entrepreneurship is, what it can offer them in the way of lifestyle and freedom, and they tend to picture themselves at a point after launch where things are smooth sailing.

What some budding entrepreneurs fail to visualize is the ideation stage, the product testing, the market fit: they forget to imagine the work that goes into launching a company. After all, aren’t we told to imagine ourselves succeeding and we will? Or some other self-fulfilling prophecy crap which leaves out the hard work and dedication part?

One of the hardest parts of launching a business is choosing a good idea. Hard work on the front end of your business launch can pay off, but only if you have a good idea. There are a number of ways to go about finding a business product or service you can turn into a profitable business. Here’s five ways to get your brain moving and shaking so that you can get on with it already!

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Get outside and take a walk. Look around your community and ask yourself what problems do these people experience on a daily or weekly basis? Is there a product or service that could help people in your community live a more organized, wealthy, healthy, or fun life? Plus, a nice walk will help you clear your head and exercise is good for the heart.

After your walk, find a spot under a tree and scan your smartphone: what do you look for in an app that isn’t already out there – sure, there are literally bazillions of apps – but we’re still early in the age of app life and there’s probably something you can do to improve or combine services. The smartphone is, afterall, just a backpack filled with anything you’d ever need tucked neatly into your pocket. How can you improve that even more? Is there an organization in your community that isn’t on the tech bandwagon yet? Could you reach out to them to talk about joining forces?

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Take a look around your office or work site. What’s happening on a day to day basis that makes you nuts? Seriously – every workplace needs to improve at least one area of their operation. Is there something you can create that would solve that problem?

When lunch time rolls around, head to the local food court at the mall. Do some people watching: you’ll see moms and babies, teenagers, dads and sons, elderly folk – everyone goes to the mall. The food court offers you several perspectives: what are people eating? Where are the longest lines? Why are people willing to wait in line for one meal over another? Which restaurant has no one standing in it? Try to answer the question why is no one at that restaurant – is there something there you can do?

After work, when dinner is on the table, ask your family about their ideas. What do they imagine or dream about? What do they wish was better in their own lives? Ask your friends about their ideas – maybe one of them would be interested in forming a business with you. Noone said you had to do this alone!

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Did you spot the theme in these five suggestions? It’s problem solving. The best business ideas solve a problem for someone – maybe even a problem they didn’t know they had. But the ringers are the business ideas that solve a problem that has been shared amongst many and the more you can identify that problem in your community or workplace, the more likely you are to hit a homer with your launch.


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