Sometimes the problem we face as entrepreneurs is not “I need an idea”, but rather “I have too many ideas and can’t decide which one to do!”. Is that you? I know that I have transitioned towards this issue over time. Initially, my idea-spotting muscles were pretty new and finding an idea worth doing was a challenge. Now however, I keep seeing ideas, writing them down, and sitting on them while I wait for the right time to do it!
When the time comes that I can think about starting something new, I often am stuck between a bunch of different ones that I am excited about. This is when I break out the idea ranking chart that I share with my students in The Simple StartUp Challenge.
How It Works
Make a list of all the ideas you are considering at the moment and number them (no particular order). In my chart above there are 6 spaces, but you can have as many as you’d like.
Then place them on the chart by ranking them on the two axis: ‘excitement’ and ‘ease to start’.
Excitement refers to how energized you feel about doing this business idea. If you are not excited about it and it doesn’t fill you with energy and glee, then you may not be able to hold the internal motivation needed to get this business going. The further away from the origin of the chart, the more excited you are about working on this idea.
Ease to start measures how much time, effort, and money it will take to get the idea going. Not every idea has to be something you can start today, but if this is your first or second business, it makes more sense to choose something quick and cheap to start so that you can start making money quick and learn in a risk-free way. Once you have built up some money and experience, then come back and start considering some of those more expensive and time-intense business ideas! The further away from the origin of the graph, the easier it is to start the business.
Choose An Idea
You can recreate this chart anywhere. Some do it in a notebook. Some on a white board. Others will put tape down on their living room floor or chalk lines on their driveway. Write your idea numbers down on pieces of paper on directly on the chart, but place them in the appropriate spot based on your excitement level and ease to start.
The ideas which are near the top right of your graph are the ones to focus on initially. You are super pumped to work on them and they don’t take a lot to get started! Once you have a bit more experience in starting businesses, you can change the axis for excitement and profitability, or some other measure that is important to you.
Usually I rank my ideas A, B, and C. If Plan A ends up not working out, I can transition straight into plan B, and then again into Plan C if needed.
Do a Mini-Experiment
Once you have picked your idea, give it enough time and attention to see if it is something you really like doing and has the potential to be profitable. Read my post on doing mini-experiments to see more about this!
Please share your top ideas and how you picked them in the comments section of where you are seeing this.