What difference would it make to your business, if you could tap into a never-ending source of new business ideas? What if I told you that you already had such a source that is always throwing new ideas at you? All of us have a phenomenal gift – our brains. Our brains will come up with an answer to any question we ask of them. They are always creating new ideas (business ones included!) but often we either don’t pay attention to them or dismiss them.
In addition, we can train our brains to notice and and create more ideas, but that’s a topic for another post. The trick is to capture as much of the information our brain is throwing us as we can.
A great way I have found to do this is to keep an Opportunity Journal. All this is, is a notebook where you can record ideas that come to you. This works for coming up with ideas for new businesses as well as generating ideas for your current business. You can record your ideas in whatever way works for you (although I have found, having done this with hundreds of university Entrepreneurship students, that handwritten seems to work best.)
An opportunity journal works for several reasons:
- You have a written record of your ideas so you don’t forget them. This has the added advantage of getting them ‘off your chest’ and freeing your brain to think about other things
- You get what you measure. If you are looking out for things to write down, your brain will automatically come up with new ideas for you.
- Your ideas are often synergistic. I find that I will have an idea that keeps coming back in different guises (time to pay attention!). Or that an idea I had 3 months ago can tie in with and improve an idea I am developing now.
- You can look back through the journal and it will remind you of ideas you wanted to implement instead of forgetting about them.
Action: Start an Opportunity Journal to capture your new business ideas
So, how are you going to do this? I suggest buying an unlined notebook (I like A4 visual diaries – lots of room. Coloured pens or textas are good too.) This isn’t for show so don’t worry about making it pretty. You can record new business ideas however you like:
- cutouts from magazines or newspapers
- sketches for product ideas
- mind maps
- and of course text
- New business ideas you have
- cool stuff you see
- advertising or marketing you think works well
- interesting things other businesses are doing that you might want to use
- analysis of new business ideas
- develop new business ideas
- notes from great how-to articles you read
- journal how you are feeling about your business right now
- statistics and market research
- whatever else you like
Join the Conversation
How do you keep track of your ideas? What medium works best for you? Have your say in the comments – or use them to create a little bit of extra motivation and accountability to get your action task for today done. Or join us on Facebook or Twitter. Image used under Creative Commons license courtesy of jah~