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3 Ridiculously Easy Steps to Creating an Unstoppable Business Idea

3 Ridiculously Easy Steps to Creating an Unstoppable Business Idea

If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say “I want to start my own business…but I just don’t have a good idea”, I’d be so rich that I’d spend my days sipping overpriced cognac and smoking pre-embargo Cuban Cigars and making stodgy, incomprehensible jokes that only rich people find funny (“…and he took $5 million out of the QTIP trust and bought puts on gold! Ha!”), and as such probably not writing this article.

So consider yourself lucky I don’t get paid when I hear that, lest you be unable to bask in the wisdom that I am about to impart.

    My cigar-smoking fantasies aside, it’s actually a bit concerning how many people think it’s really hard to come up with a good business idea.  Veteran entrepreneurs all know that coming up with an idea is basically the easiest part; but you do need to start with an idea.

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    And starting with an idea I shall help you do.

    One of the big reasons you have trouble coming up with a good idea is because “you don’t know if it will work”, right?

    Luckily, in 3 ridiculously simple steps, you can see how good your idea is, and make it stronger.  Here it goes:

    Step 1: Start with a broad idea

    Let’s say you want “a kick ass social network for cereal box collectors”.  I’d say “that’s really weird”, but this is your company, not mine.

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    And by the way, no “I can’t come up with one!” BS.  This is just a broad idea.  Think…think…there you go.

    Step 2: Write down 3 specific reasons your idea might not work

    Not a whine, not “because 90% of business fail!”; be intellectually honest, think about it for more than 7 seconds.  Relate them to your own abilities and relevant externalities.  For example:

    – “I don’t know how to code”

    – “I don’t know if there’s actually other cereal box collectors out there”

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    – “Even if there are other collectors, I don’t know if they need a social network”

    Step 3: Test your reasons

    I don’t want to steal any of Bill Nye’s thunder, but what we’re doing here is bringing you back to 7th grade biology and using the scientific method.  We’re turning your worries into testable hypotheses, and doing some ol’ fashion exploring to see if your worries hold true.

    You go out there and see if there’s a way to make a social network without coding.

    You mercilessly scour the far corners of the internet looking for cereal box collector communities.

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    You identify the “thought leaders” in the community, befriend them, and ask what they need.

    I spent about 12 seconds doing these tests, and here’s what I came up with:

    • You can make a social network without knowing how to code.  There’s quite a few ways to do it, but BuddyPress seems to be the most popular.
    • There are communities out there for cereal box collectors like you (just Google “cereal box collector”).
    • The community seems to be gathered around a few active forums.  Finding the community leaders would likely be very easy.  Just shoot them a quick e-mail with your idea, and ask “what do you think?”

    And voila, your idea awaits!

    What we did here was get specific about your idea.  Whereas most people worry that “their idea would never work”, you actually went out there and did something about it.  You’re now ready to move onto the next step: figuring how to execute.

    Or maybe you figured out your idea sucked.  That’s okay too.  But at least you made an informed decision, and unlike 80% of people, you actually tried to do something about it.

    Your idea’s probably more complicated than something like this, and that’s fine.  But the point stays the same: stop worrying, start testing, and repeat.  Watch your idea develop before your eyes.

    Featured photo credit: five travel about locomotive costing on rail via Shutterstock and inline photo by Tsahi Levent-Levi via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Last Updated on March 29, 2021

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

    The Dream Type Of Manager

    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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    “Okay…”

    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

    The Bully

    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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    The Invisible Boss

    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

    The Micro Manager

    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

    The Over Promoted Boss

    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

    The Credit Stealer

    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

    1. Keep evidence

    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

    2. Hold regular meetings

    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

    Good luck!

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