The notion that great ideas come completely out of the blue, as a lightening strike, isn’t, unfortunately, how the world works. After 27 years of starting businesses with my brother George, I’ve learned that finding and capitalizing on good ideas takes dedicated work and practice. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
Immerse yourself in your industry
I’ve spent my whole life finding solutions, so when the global economic downturn hit, the idea for Swapdom came to me quickly. People were strapped for cash and they needed a new, cheaper way to acquire goods. All my work in optimizing primed me for finding the solution — a site that uses an algorithm to match up user wants and offers in multi-person closed-loop swaps.
The more you work within a field, the more related ideas come to you. You develop a sixth sense. You get to know inherently what’s important and what’s not. If you condition yourself, the ideas will hit you; it’s just a matter of time. You cannot control the when and the how, but if you’ve worked in a field for long enough, the ideas will come.
Find an endorser
Do your best to find someone who’s respected in your field or in the business community to endorse your idea. Often, great ideas are so radical and so different from the status quo that you need someone respected in the field to clue others in to the importance of your idea.
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, for example, might never have gotten recognition if it weren’t for the Nobel laureate Max Planck. When Einstein came up with his theory, he was just a clerk at the Swiss Patent Office, and it took Planck’s endorsement of Einstein’s idea to make others listen. Not only will an endorsement help the general population see the importance of your idea, it will help you find capital.
Recruit a great team
You might excel at many things, but focusing on each and every detail is not only difficult, it’s not fun. Develop a great team of people with strengths that compliment your own to help you see your company to success.
Starting a business is hard work and there’s no magic recipe for success, but hopefully, these tips will help you create something that will, as we hope Swapdom will, change the world.
Petros Georgopoulos is co-founder and CEO of Swapdom.