Many people have speculated in the past about what makes a great entrepreneur or inventor, and what sets them apart from the rest of us. What does it take to be that special kind of person who can see an opportunity or a solution where no one else can, and to create something that will change the way we interact with the world and make life simpler, easier or more enjoyable?
The reality is, though that these people are usually no different from you and me, they just know how to look for a good idea and have the kind of inquisitive mind that lends itself to exploring ideas and concepts from new angles.
The point then is that entrepreneurialism isn’t really something you’re born with, but rather a state of mind – or an approach even – and that means that it can be learned by the rest of us if we’re willing to put in the time and the work to develop ourselves. Here, we’ll look at how anyone can develop the entrepreneurial mindset and start having great ideas that could potentially earn you some additional income.
Look Behind the Curtain
Every product, artistic work or service that we see or encounter in the world must have at some point been created by another person or company. For many of us, this will never really occur and instead and we’ll simply enjoy using the product or enjoying the creativity of that person as a consumer. If you want to look at this the way an entrepreneur does though, then you should constantly be thinking about the creation process.
How did the writer come up with the idea for that story? What editing software did that YouTube video use? How long would it have taken? And what challenges might the inventor have wrestled with when they came up with that gadget or gizmo?
By thinking about the process they went through to create their offering, you can start to think more about how you could make something similar if you wanted to. And at the same time, by looking at the challenges that that person or team might have faced accomplishing that feat, you can start to think of ways you could make that process easier for them in future. Which brings us on to the next point…
Looking for Problems
Looking for problems might sound like something rather pessimistic, but the opposite is, in fact, true when you’re looking for problems in order to solve them. Being an entrepreneur means having a keen eye for things that could be improved and thinking of ways to do that. And best of all, this means looking for problems that don’t already exist, or that aren’t obvious. While fulfilling a need that everyone encounters is a sure way to have a ready made audience and to be a hit; the products that really change the world are those that we didn’t know we wanted.
A perfect example of this is the iPad – people didn’t know they needed tablets, or that computers were particularly restrictive, but as soon as they were able to enjoy the web standing up or show it easily to friends, they realised what was missing. If you can see the limitations that others don’t and provide something that people don’t know they want, then you can potentially bring about a real paradigm shift.
Read a Lot
The human brain is essentially an input-output machine, and here the quality of what comes out is largely dictated by the quality of what goes in. Entrepreneurs, as a rule then, are thirsty for knowledge which gives them a much greater database of information to draw on when looking for solutions to problems or coming up with new ideas. The more you read, the greater your arsenal will be when attacking a project (and even when it seems completely unrelated – combining fields is a great way to innovate).
Make Thinking a Hobby
If you decide you want to come up with a solution to a problem and the answer isn’t immediately clear to you, then you might be tempted to give up and move on to other things. Of course, an entrepreneur then needs to have a good amount of dedication, passion and resilience to stick at it, but they also need to enjoy actively thinking about their project. If you’re standing in a queue in the bank, or if you’re going for a drive, then don’t do it with an empty head – take the opportunity to think of new ideas, or to work on your existing ones.
An entrepreneur should never be bored, and should always be thinking…
The author, Greg Fisher, is the founder of Berkeley Sourcing Group. He likes writing tech related articles for businesses like silicone injection molding. His wonderful insights and tips on the business development and management have helped many troubled businesses to sail through tough times.