How to Come Up With a Great Business Idea: What does it take to come up with great ideas? Is there a road map to ideas?
The age of business leaders when they got started, such as, Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook, Bill Gates with Microsoft, Steve Jobs with Apple lead people to believe that only young people can come up with great ideas. These innovators are exceptions to the rule. Most entrepreneurs start their companies in the mid years with their own savings and a passion for an idea that motivated them to start a business.
Interestingly, our research indicates that the average age of successful entrepreneurs in high-growth industries such as information technology is 42 and twice as many successful entrepreneurs are aged over 55 as under 25, and twice as many over 60 as under 20.
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How to Come Up With a Great Business Idea
Most successful businesses start with a great idea – an idea that fulfills an unmet need that others haven’t thought of addressing. Most of the greatest ideas start with very simple premises and often are discovered by accident or evolve without a concerted effort of the entrepreneur to steer the business in a certain direction. An example, is Google. It started as a research project in January 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford University in Stanford, California.
Unlike conventional search engines that ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, they came up with a better system that analyzed the relationships between websites. The question most of us ask is what does it take to come up with great ideas. Is there a road map to ideas?
Arcus interviewed 245 successful entrepreneurs who started their successful businesses in the past five years and have grown at substantial rates since launch. The findings are surprising and counter intuitive. Most entrepreneurs say they came up with ideas while obsessing over a problem they were trying to solve. In Google’s case it was about finding a better and more intuitive way to search the web. For Steve Jobs, it was about designing more interactive interfaces for computers.
Start with themes that resonate with you
Each of us is different in some way. Certain things appeal to us more than others. We gravitate towards these things. The key to great ideas is to be curious about things you enjoy.Most successful entrepreneurs enjoy their pursuit of great ideas. They are immersed into thinking about new ways to solve a specific problem.
A process of discovery
When asked about their views on what make some ideas more successful than others. Most say its about their belief system. They have a relentless approach and unusual focus on a specific issue over an extended period of time. Arcus calls it the “drip strategy” of peeling off layers of information to discover a gem of an idea that can be developed into something powerful.
Seek out the unusual
The most innovative minds are also among the most curious. They constantly seek out the unusual. They constantly pursue ideas and concepts that intrigue, surprise, excite and engage. They are explorers. They don’t always start with a clearly defined end in mind. The concepts and themes they explore generally define the direction their business ideas take them. They are also extremely flexible and are willing to throw away concepts that don’t work and can repeatedly start from scratch without getting demoralized.
The five critical questions
- Do you have a belief system that you can articulate?
- What excites you?
- Do you enjoy solving problems?
- Are you obsessive and relentless about pursuing ideas?
- Do you have the patience and passion to follow through on your ideas?
Remember, Edison executed the first of his 1,093 successful U.S. patent applications on 13 October 1868, at the age of 21. He filed an estimated 500–600 unsuccessful or abandoned applications as well.
If you are interested in discussing a business idea that could transform your organization, please contact our managing partner, Merril Mascarenhas, by phone at +1 (416) 710-2727 or Email.
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