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Creating The $1,000,000 Idea
By Sue Barrett

Every week new start-ups are making millions because of their simple ideas that take the world by storm. Success definitely involves effort, but sparking your creativity and coming up with profit-producing ideas may be easier than you think.

Of course, creativity can result in a profitable start-up business idea. But have you considered how important it is to other aspects of you business as well? Creativity is an effective way of improving your company's quality of service, reducing production costs or generating a new product line.

Brainstorming

You can use brainstorming to developing creative solutions that may seem overwhelming and impossible to solve. Creativity can speed up business developments and can be used to adapt, streamline, reorganize or change the direction of your business for the better.

By focusing on a problem and deliberately coming up with as many off-the-wall ideas as possible, you'll be surprised at what innovative solutions you'll find. Stretch your imagination by thinking like a child where the sky is the limit.

Sparking Creativity

So how do we turn off our own judgment so we can be more creative? Here are some basic brainstorming rules that will enable you to be more creative.

1. First, realize that everyone can be creative. You may not believe that you are a creative person, but the difference between a creative person and the rest of us is that the creative person commits to their creativity to overcome limitations imposed by others. They take chances.

2. Second, forget for the moment that you live in the real world. Avoid judgment of any kind until after you've finished your brainstorming session. Judgments can constrain and often squash creativity altogether.

3. Third, be aware of your own defenses. If you are brainstorming by yourself as opposed to within a group, finding a place or doing an activity that you enjoy can sometimes spark your creative thinking. While you are brainstorming, you want to be as relaxed as you possibly can and let go of your defenses.

4. Lastly, no idea is "bad". Well, that is until you come out of your brainstorming session, judge your idea and squash it.

Breaking it Down Into Steps

There are certain steps to follow when brainstorming. Whether you want to come up with a business plan for a start-up or develop a time-saving strategy within your existing company, it all boils down to solving some sort of problem.

When you brainstorm, remember to break down preconceptions about any limits. The objective is to open your mind and list as many ideas as possible without stifling creativity.

You can even merge two average ideas into one very unique one. Understand also that any new ideas we develop can only come from the ideas we already know. Brainstorming encourages our minds to combine ideas and produce innovative solutions.

 

1. Define your problem or what you want to accomplish. Be concise.

2. Give yourself a time limit. Start with about 20 to 30 minutes. As you become more experienced, you will be able to judge the amount of time that works best for you.

3. Start your brainstorming session, thinking of as many ideas as possible. Make sure to write them all down. Don't criticize, evaluate or worry about how you'll even make your ideas work at this point.

4. Once your time is up, select the 5-10 ideas that you liked best

5. Decide on 5-6 different criteria for judging your ideas. Start the criteria with 'should'. (it should be more profitable, it should gain more attention, it should be more cost effective, etc...)

6. Score your ideas on a scale of 1 to 10 using your criteria. The idea with the highest score will most likely be the best solution to your problem.

Ask Questions

The quickest and most direct way to stimulate creativity is to ask questions. By provoking answers, questions automatically lead to resolution.

The more questions you ask, the more ideas you'll be able to come up with. When problem-solving, try and see things from a different perspective, like the average Joe walking down the street. He has never heard of your company and may not even know about your product either. Look at your own business situation through his eyes.

Ask yourself questions that encourage making a change to an existing idea.

 

1. Modify:
(i.e. How can you modify the product?)

2. Minimize:
(i.e. In what ways can you minimize the time of delivery or cost of production?)

3. Substitute:
(i.e. Where can you substitute parts or services?)

4. Re-arrange:
(i.e. How can you re-arrange the layout or work schedule?)

5. Reverse:
(i.e. Which processes or formats can you reverse?)

6. Combine:
(i.e. What products or services can you combine?)

7. Put to other uses:
(i.e. How can the ideas you use now be put to other uses?)

 

Get in the habit of brainstorming on a regular basis, and you'll benefit even more. Without a whole lot of effort, you can train yourself to automatically investigate, question and analyze every business situation, which can result in finding and resolving a conflict before it turns into a major crisis.

This proactive approach can save you a good deal of time and money. As you become more aware of your business operations and the endless possibilities are available, your flexibility will enable you to adapt to outside influences and quickly make changes when needed.

Creative brainstorming can help create more options for your business, but also can help to eliminate stress and fear through heightened awareness and control. You'll find that your business can run much more smoothly while you stay one step ahead of competition.

Sue Barrett works for HomeBusinessCenter.com and has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs successfully start their own home-based businesses. For more information about resources in this article, visit www.homebusinesscenter.com, email Barrett at editor@homebusinesscenter.com or call 877-678.6571.

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