The following article was published in the February Issue of Entrepreneur Magazine and features Robert G. Allen.
"Flip the Switch" from Entrepreneur Magazine
by Jennifer Alsever
It’s the great “aha” moment every entrepreneur seeks: You’ve come up with an idea that no one else has thought of- one that ultimately gets off the ground and really flies. Everybody has ideas, but how do you come up with those million-dollar ideas that translate into big business?
Open Your Eyes
First, take a good look at yourself. What do you do best? Consider what’s most important to you and what gets your blood racing, says Robert G. Allen, co-author of Cracking the Millionaire Code: Your Key to Enlightened Wealth. If your interest is dogs, for instance, then start a business that has to do with dogs. If your passion is chocolate, do something that dips your life in chocolate. Thinking about your interests will help you focus your brainstorming and give you the staying power to persevere through the tedious parts of starting a business.
To spark more creativity, put yourself in unusual situations, avoiding the humdrum of everyday life. Meet different people, travel, and read. “Put yourself in areas that stimulate your mind,” says Fred Kiesner, chair of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Gathering with small groups of friends to brainstorm and imposing a deadline may also boost your imagination.
Another way to hit on a great idea: Take note of the obvious problems you encounter in everyday life. Not enough people allow an idea to permeate their psyche, even if it’s staring them in the face. Keep a pad of paper and a pen in your shirt pocket, your purse or on your bedside table. Or start a pile of index cards with ideas written on them. Periodically throw away the ones that don’t cut it, and hang on to those that might be before their time, says Rita McGrath, author of MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves That Drive Exceptional Business Growth.
Every edition of your daily newspaper contains at least five million-dollar ideas if you know what to look for, says Allen. In fact, he points out, just about every object around you made someone a fortune–whether it’s a lamp, your computer or the paint on your walls. Dream up ways to improve or rework those same products to create another big idea.
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