How to Find New Business Ideas in Everyday Life

Nadia Goodman| Entrepreneur

The idea for Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom was born on a family vacation. Walt Disney was visiting Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s oldest amusement parks, when he realized he could create a bigger, better version in California. His method is not unusual: Great entrepreneurs find new business ideas by paying attention to opportunities in everyday life. “The world around you is filled with ideas that can be useful,” says Andy Boynton, co-author of The Idea Hunter (Jossey-Bass, 2011).

None of those ideas will come to you by thinking really hard in a vacuum. You have to get out in the world and practice behaviors that lead you to new ideas. “Innovation is not about how smart you are; it’s about the hunt for ideas,” Boynton says. “Behavior trumps IQ.”

Related: 4 Ways to Organize New Ideas and Drive Innovation

By learning to think and act in ways that bring new opportunities to light, you can find a constant stream of business ideas in everyday life. Here are three tips to help you find inspiration in the world around you.

1. Keep a list of opportunities. “At any given time, there’s a job that has to get done,” Boynton says, meaning the world is full of problems that need to be solved. As you go about daily life, keep a running list of jobs that others have abandoned, ignored, or failed to address effectively. Each is a potential opportunity.

“Start with your own experience,” Boynton says. Ask yourself, what bugs me? What could be easier? More fun? More convenient? Your own frustrations will guide you to real problems that can drive a new business idea.

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