3 Ways to Get Creative Entrepreneurial Juices Flowing

I met a fellow entrepreneur this weekend at a forum on BYU campus. He is an aspiring individual, and is one of those future CEOs that has an ability to light a spark in the people around him. He told me about an idea he had. He was awesome, and his idea was crap.

His idea was, admittedly, 4 years old. Now, I know that some ideas take that many years to catch on and get some traction. But the truth of the matter is that, as he described it, his idea hadn’t evolved over that time, and it showed. He needed to get brainstorming… Heck! He just needed to be open to thinking!

Openness, conversation, and listening

I can’t tell you how many times I had an idea that I was sure would revolutionize “the industry” as we know it. I would plot and stew and consider how my master plan would unfold, and then after two weeks of discussion with other humans, would find out that it wasn’t really all that good of an idea. That meant it was time to move on or change that idea.

At first, an entrepreneur wants to rectify, justify and fortify his or her idea. That’s fine as long as you are sure it’s what your market wants, but to be clear… Josh James started with MyComputer Inc. and then sold it for $1.8 billion as Omniture. We all know “The face book” started as a tool for students at Harvard. Currently the website used more for friendly connections and social interaction (I don’t remember ever using it for school) is valued somewhere between $5 billion and $15 billion.

These companies wouldn’t be where they are today if they weren’t open to change. There are 100 more examples like these.

Distractions, gone

Phone calls, emails, meetings, family events and church callings are necessary. And often our time is filled with these. Then we try and squeeze other things like blogs, news, movies, social media, and recreation -- it can be overwhelming.

You just need to realize that these things, blogs, news, and media are only there to give you seeds. If you stock up on idea seeds but never plant them, you will have a weak harvest, if a harvest at all.

Just turn off the radio sometimes and drive in silence. Ignore your RSS feed, or Twitter stream every once in a while. Give your brain a chance to nourish what’s there already, rather than continuously stuffing more in.

Pull out some writing tools and quietly ponder.

Stay alert and up-to-date

You may think this last piece contrary to the second, and I hope it becomes clear exactly why it is not.

Oftentimes as I ponder on my ideas, I start running circles in my own realm of experience and vision. While you ponder and create, you may wonder what is out there already. You may wonder how far you can stretch your idea.

As long as it doesn’t become a distraction, research is a wonderful tool to keep your ideas fresh and powerful. Now, nothing can replace quiet contemplation. But if you want to make an idea work, you need to study, and search the world around you for how that industry has evolved since you thought it up.

Especially if it’s been 4 years.