How to Create a Million Dollar Idea

Part of the Kenno's Blog series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, You Can Learn Series
Updated:
January 13, 2008
Are you looking to make more money this year? What is holding you back? Is it implementation or ideas? This article will give you a way to be more creative. We all need to have a system in place where we force ideas. The great minds don't leave this to chance. They have a strategy.

Imagine you are sitting at your kitchen table and saying, why can't I be as successful as (pick a name?) They are always coming up with great ideas to help people out. Look at Steve Jobs and Larry Page. What do they have that I don't have? I am as smart as they are.

Here is a system that will help you come up with those terrific ideas.

Find Out What the Market Needs

First thing you need to do is come up with a problem or question that needs to be solved. What can I sell on eBay might be an appropriate problem. What can I create as an Affiliate program? What problems do these people have that I can solve?

If you have access to a specific group then ask them. What would make your life easier? What is your number one problem? What don't you like about your current job, exercise routine, gardening tool, or travel issues?

If you don't work directly with them, then you might be able to visit forums and ask these questions. The key here is to get feedback. Talk with people on the front lines and find out what is causing them the most frustration. Ask the question and then sit and listen to the answer.

Write a question, then write twenty answers to that question

Once you have some feedback then write down the question on a sheet of paper or computer. The next step is where you can get creative. Start out with easy answers based on the input you received from your "market research" phase. The goal is to write down a minimum of twenty answers to your question.

Why twenty answers? Because truthfully the first 10 are going to be easy ideas that everyone else has already had. It is only by stepping up and reaching 15, 18, 20 and even shooting for 50 answers to the question that you come up with ideas that work. Totally new and creative ideas that have never been touched.

It is when you are stretching for numbers 20 and 25 that the trully original ideas begin to happen. These are the weird combinations that come together in a new way based on technology changes and new manufacturing techniques. But, remember for every new off the wall idea that is super big, there are tons of simple little ideas that will bring you a ton of cash.

As you are writing down your ideas think of these questions when you get stuck.

Put some ideas together

Let's say you have two answers on your list. One answer is do something with gardening. And the second is do something with travel. Now these are two very high level ideas that you need to get a little lower in the idea chain. But, they are a place you can start.

You are sitting and wracking your brain trying to come up with some new things to put on your list and you think. What if I were to put gardening and travel together? Maybe a website that deals exclusively in gardens around the world that people can travel to and visit. Now all of a sudden you are excited again. You might want to start a whole new list just for this combination.

It doesn't matter what combinations you combine try these ...

What is the funniest combination you can put together?

As you are combining ideas what would be the funniest combination? A poodle with a Rhinoceros would be a funny combination. Isn't that an old child's game you used to play? Experts claim that between the ages of 1 and 6 we are our most creative. It is only when we have been socialized that we begin to lose our creativity.

These funny combinations may not lead anywhere. But, they could lead to a great new market never before imagined. So, write it down. Let's face it most of the ideas on the list you are just going to throw away. So, don't get too excited about an idea just yet. Write it down and we will see where it takes us.

What would be an outrageous solution?

This is where you can think up solutions that are disgusting, abhorrent, weird and just plain gross. But, it is okay to think of the possible solution. How outrageous can you get. What would make your spouse or best friend say, "eeeewwww" that's gross? That is the kind of answer this question will drive.

You might want to go over the top on the issue. You might say put a satelite in orbit and instead go over the top with a planned trip to the planet Mars. You might start out at a tv the size of an iPod and go tiny, tiny, tiny. A tv the size of a diamond ring. Why do you need something that small? Could you make it that small? If you did what other uses could you find for it? Small, large and outrageously over the top. Isn't that what the tTV show Fear Factor did? They went over the top and gross.

What would your Dad do?

How would your dad solve this problem? All dads are different. Some work with cars. Others know technology. Some aren't allowed to touch a screwdriver. It doesn't matter. You can invent the new technology or you can just have it manufactured for you. When you ask this question you begin to see the answers from another viewpoint. Remember this is just a game. You are being creative. There are no right or wrong answers. So, write it down.

How would your Mom solve it?

My wife and I are completely different. Whenever there is a problem around the house we look to solve it in absolutely different ways. By the way, her way is always the best and requires less anguish to everyone. And if you don't believe me just ask her. :) But, when we think about our Mothers we know that they will always have a different take on things than our fathers. They each have unique backgrounds and have seen problems resolved in different ways.

What would your favorite mentor, blogger, entrepreneur do?

Take a moment and put yourself in the head of your favorite mentor. What would they do today to solve this problem. How many times have you discussed an idea with your mentor and they say, "well, this is how I would handle this problem?" Take a moment and get inside the head of your favorite blogger and see if they would come up with something different?

What is the opposite answer?

Okay, you are on number 13 and you've reached an impasse. What do you do? Go back to question number one and say, "What is the opposite of this?" Now all of a sudden a whole new world opens up to you. You see a chance to get to twenty. Your excitement comes rushing back to you.

Now not everything has an opposite. What is the opposite of coffee cup? But, it doesn't matter. Some do and some opposites will launch you into a new industry or product line. What is the opposite? Hmmmmm.

What is the Technological Answer?

As you are putting items together and looking for new ideas think about the surge in technology over the years. How can you put the power of a computer into the functioning of a coffee cup? Think about these flash drives everyone carries with them all over the place. It is just a reintroduction of the old 3.5" floppy disk combined with new technology.

I have to tell you these ideas can be a lot of fun. It doesn't take much to make something new, in fact ...

It Only Has to be 10% New

Look at the iPod and iPhone. These ideas are only a little new, but they are creative solutions to problems people have expressed. The iPod if you think about it is really a new take on the old Walkman. If you don't know what a Walkman is then I am getting old. :) The Walkman was a device which you could place a music cassette into and then you could take it with you to listen to music. They even had ear buds.

The iPod is the same thing only upgraded to new technology. In fact, it is only a little bit new. (10%) Think about it. You have songs in there. Same as a cassette. You have the ability to change the songs. Same as a portable CD. The only thing that has changed is the storage device. From cassette to CD to memory stick.

So, combine new technology with old things people use and make it 10% new and you have a million dollar idea.

Now What?

After you make the list then you have to choose one to pursue. What are the advantages to the idea? What are the disadvantages? Can you build a prototype? Do you have to retool a manufacturing facility? Can you make it in your basement? Can you market it yourself? Does it require a lot of money to get it started?

At some point you have to take action. This article is really just getting you to think of market changing ideas. This is the first step to help you become a genius. You know we all are geniuses. We just have never been taught to think like a genius. They don't teach you those things on TV. :)

Now get out there and be creative. Let your mind come up with a list of 20 to 50 possible creative ideas and then do something.


A Secret To Blogging Success You Don't Want to Hear - How Long is It Going to Take You to Strike It Rich in Blogging? That is a good question right? All these successful bloggers you are trying to imitate did not become full time successes overnight. It took some time.

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