Do-It-Yourself Business Planning Idea Blender
When it comes to business planning, the best thing about creativity is that no one holds a monopoly on great ideas. You may not become a creative genius overnight, but with a little time and effort and by following a few basic steps, you can become a lot more creative than you may have thought!
To see what you can accomplish on the creativity front all by yourself, put the idea blender to the test. Take the following easy steps:
Draw or use a computer to create a table similar to the one shown.
Fill out the first table as follows:
In the first column, list your personal strengths — for example, I work well with people, I’m very detail-oriented, or I’m not afraid to try something new.
In the second column, list things you like to do. Include hobbies like playing videos, listening to classical music, skydiving, refinishing antiques, or reading.
In the third column, list cool products or services that you enjoy using. Maybe you’re really into iPhones, personal organizers, doggy day care, GPS devices, or personal training.
In the fourth column, make a wish list of the things you’d do if you won the lottery and no longer had to worry about making a living — things like moving to a tropical island, buying your own private jet, traveling, or going back to school.
Create a second table with two columns to blend the items from the first table’s rows.
Choose an item in the first column, such as Creative, especially when it comes to software design.
Choose an item in the next column. You can simply choose randomly or pick an item that seems to fit with your first choice, such as Explore new Internet sites.
Do the same thing in column three: Select an item that corresponds and circle it. Say that you choose Computer-based music programs. Don’t worry if you don’t see an obvious match. We encourage you to make connections, even ones that feel offbeat. The process will get you thinking out of the box and allow you to see yourself and your prospects in completely new ways.)
Select an item from column four — What I’d do if I won the lottery.
Look over the items you’ve chosen. Use them to brainstorm three business ideas. Be creative. Entertain ideas you’ve never considered, such as starting a nonprofit organization.
Bright ideas often sound a bit peculiar when first expressed. (Think of online auctions and mood rings, for example. And who would’ve jumped at the notion of a pet rock?) Yet many creative ideas emerge by combining familiar pieces of the world around you in new and different ways. (Think of TV dinners, car radios, and MP3 players, for example.)
Try to pull at least three promising business ideas out of this process.
In this case, the combination of an ability to do creative software design, a love of playing piano, and interest in teaching music suggest three pretty good ideas for business ventures. Not bad for a first run.
Try combining different items from the first table. Choose random combinations to see where they lead. Not all blender concoctions will be winners. Work well under deadlines, Hybrid cars, and Retire to Hawaii may not lead to a great business idea (although who knows, maybe you could start an environmentally-friendly car rental agency on the island.)
But Not afraid to try something new, Love to travel, and GPS devices may be just the inspiration you need to create GPS-based tour guides of leading tourist destinations.
The idea blender is a great way to get an idea for a new business. But it can be equally effective at dreaming up new products or services for existing businesses. Some people we know have used it to find direction as they contemplate changing careers.