Updated on 03.04.15

Three Tips for Creating Profitable New Business Ideas

ship your enemies glitter

Great ideas are out there if you get in the habit of creating regularly. Photo: Ship Your Enemies Glitter

It seems like everywhere you look, someone is creating new business ideas and making a fortune.

Just recently, a young entrepreneur sold his website for $85,000, and all he did was help people ship envelopes of glitter to their enemies. If that’s not creativity (or maybe just dumb luck), I don’t know what is — but I sure would love to do something similar with my online ventures.

After five years of running my own business, starting multiple websites, and engaging in a number of creative pursuits, I’ve come to realize that new business ideas are just a part of having an entrepreneurial spirit. What really matters is taking those ideas and actually doing something with them. I do believe there is a little bit of a formula when it comes to making a business work: a good idea, a lot of hard work, and a bit of luck all contribute to it.

As for the first step, here are some tips to help you create new business ideas and find one that really works for you:

1. Write Down 10 Ideas a Day

James Altucher is a well-known entrepreneur who says one of the best ways to come up with profitable new business ideas is to write down 10 of them a day. He explains that when you go through the creative process of constantly writing down new ideas, it keeps your mind sharp, open, and alert.

Most of your ideas may be terrible, but some of them might be brilliant. Some of them might generate a high income, but they don’t excite you at all. Some of them might seem pretty simple, but could in fact change a lot of lives.

You don’t have to pursue every idea you create. You’d go bankrupt if you did. The important thing is to keep flexing your mind, to keep pushing and trying until something, someday, finally clicks.

2. Walk Through the Mall

My husband and I stick to a pretty strict budget, but in the winter months we stroll through the mall with our kids. We don’t buy anything, but we talk a lot about the various businesses represented there.

There’s a stand in the middle of the aisle with someone selling local New Jersey organic honey. There’s a really annoying guy trying to convince me to let him straighten my hair. There is an unbelievably long line in Louis Vuitton because somehow, somewhere, people believe a $1,500 bag will make them cooler.

We take all of this in during our walks, and we talk about the design of the stores, the branding, the names, the looks, the lights, and what we would do differently. This just serves as inspiration, and it shows you what customers are buying. One walk through the mall just to look and not buy can easily give you dozens of new business ideas.

3. Reinvent the Wheel

Don’t always assume that you have to come up with brand new business ideas. After all, the regular, run-of-the-mill paper clip came before the adorable paper clips shaped like pink flamingos, right? You can always improve upon something that already exists. You can invent new cars like Elon Musk did with Tesla. It can be something small, like the slew of new baby sleep sacks that have come on the market, or something huge like the Apple Watch.

There are many great business ideas in the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create something familiar but better. When Pinterest came out, everyone groaned that there was yet another social media site… but now it’s a major player in the digital space. This isn’t a cop-out: Some people would argue that it’s actually harder to convince customers to buy a similar-but-better product than a brand new one.

Overall, when it comes to creating new business ideas, what really matters is that you get in the habit of creating regularly. On top of that, the actual execution of your idea is far more important than dreaming it up. Many people have had moments when they think of a product or business concept, but they never actually pursue it. Do yourself a favor and when you hit that million-dollar idea, go out and actually make it happen!

How do you come up with new business ideas? 

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