Tuesday Top 10: More Opportunity Selection Techniques

Topic: Exploration, Startups, Top 10|

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Good morning Startup Students! First off, I’m pleased to announce a new partnership with Mind Petals, after just one week of blogging! My posts will now be aggregated onto their homepage daily. If you haven’t visited them in the past, I highly recommend it – there’s some real inspiration to be had around that site.

Now take your seats, because class is in session. I’m starting a new weekly segment entitled Tuesday Top 10, and to kick things off it’s going to be a Twofer Tuesday. Yesterday we discussed methods for spotting opportunities in your daily environment. Today we’re going to take those opportunities you’ve spotted and work to narrow them down into viable business opportunities.

Here’s 10 pointers to help you do just that:

  1. I mentioned early last week that life and business tend to overlap and that is especially true for young entrepreneurs. Don’t worry if your personal and business objectives mesh – it’s actually a good thing.
  2. So you’ve got a few good ideas, now would be a good time to briefly learn more about each industry. Don’t dive in too deep, that’ll come later. Lot’s of you readers are still in college, and that is fantastic because your library (hopefully) gives you access to expensive databases. Hoovers‘ free section should be good enough for this bit of homework however.
  3. Again, I don’t want you diving in too deep, but put a few of each industry’s segments in the back of your memory banks, they’ll come in handy at a later date
  4. Can you see any potential problems that the industry is overlooking? If so, do they seem like something you could capitalize on?
  5. Do any of the solutions to those potential problems mesh with your personal and business objectives?
  6. This one is kind of a given, but start concentrating on the most promising opportunities.
  7. Find a couple blogs on each industry and subscribe to their RSS feed for a week or two.
  8. If you get a chance, try to interview a couple leaders in those industries. You’ll find that people love talking about how great they are.
  9. Subscribe to some industry related magazines. Every industry has at least one – and they’re usually free to subscribe if you meet the qualifications.
  10. And that leads us to point #10, it’s time to Brainstorm!

The previous points aren’t meant as an exact guide, but should offer a nice stepping stone towards narrowing down your “idea bank”.

Wait! Sit back down Startup Students, it’s a Twofer Tuesday remember!

I’d like to give you a few pointers to help you with brainstorming:

  1. This one is important – never ever say No once the session starts – just write it down!
  2. Don’t critisize anything, get down everything that pops into your head
  3. All ideas are good ideas (at this point).
  4. Go somewhere quiet, and keep the distractions to a minimum
  5. Use your resources only after you’ve exhausted your brain. No browsing the net just yet!
  6. Create a Mind Map while you’re at it
  7. Once you are completely out of ideas and have exhausted your resources, continue writing for at least another five minutes.
  8. Have some structure to your madness. Try numbering each idea – you’ll feel like you are really accomplishing something.
  9. If you’ve got the time, take each idea and make a scrapbook out of it. Magazine clippings, blog posts, newsfeeds, if it is at all related clip it out and put it in the binder. Remember, ideas breed ideas.
  10. Merge your ideas. Decide if two or more can be accomplished with one solution or if some need to be placed on the backburner.

Today was a little bit more “schoolish” than usual – but hey, you are startup students!

Ok, class dismissed.

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