By | Christopher Rannefors | www.entrepreneur.com
A majority of professionals claim they want to start their own business, but an extraordinarily small percentage actually do. Excuses include family obligations, bad timing, risk aversion, not enough savings, etc., but the most common excuse I hear is that they’re just waiting for the right idea to “come to them.” We have a cartoonish fantasy that one day a lightbulb will flash in our heads as we strike pure inspiration for an idea so original or so nuanced that we feel utterly compelled to become an entrepreneur in order to bring it to market. While lightbulb moments may exist for some select entrepreneurs, for most great product or business concepts out there, you need to be highly intentional in how you chart a path to uncovering them.
I founded an innovative and profitable small business that took me all the way to Shark Tank, Forbes 30 under 30 and over $1 million in revenue in just a few years. The idea didn’t just come to me. Instead, it took four months of highly organized and intentional time to find it. If you want to find your startup idea, here are the steps to follow:
1. Commit to an intended outcome, a schedule and a timeline
Start by making your ideation process have a beginning and an end, along with a specific schedule of working sessions. My business partner and I committed to a six-month period of meeting at least twice a week in the evening for 5 hour blocks on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our intended outcomes were a product concept with a strong enough G2M plan that we felt confident enough in to fully commit to. If we still didn’t have our idea in six months or weren’t feeling confident in the one we had, then we would scrap it and call it quits on this round. If you don’t set a strict end date, you risk losing the sense of discipline that comes hand in hand with urgency.