Want to Diversify Your Business Ideas? Do This First
- October 11, 2017
- by:Serhat Pala
This article originally appeared on Inc.
The more you know about the world, the easier it is to come up with ideas to change the world. For entrepreneurs, a truly world changing idea only comes along once in awhile. But, the more ideas you have, the better the chance that one of them will be that world changing one.
To generate more ideas, you need a broad knowledge base. Reading, watching and listening to a variety of media on a variety of subjects is a great way to diversify your knowledge base. Let’s take a look at some places online that can help you do this.
Books are a good place to start when you are expanding your reading in an attempt to come up with business ideas. Look at what books others are reading via online lists and reviews and choose books from several subjects.
You can find plenty of diverse reading lists just by searching for “Reading Lists.” There’s even a website dedicated to compiling reading lists from influential people, thereadinglists.com.
But, books aren’t the only items to read.
Retail and Industry Magazines
Magazines are great for developing business ideas because they get so specific. The internet makes it easy for like-minded people to congregate online to share their passion about a subject and this has led to a boon in extremely specialized publications (many of them online-only).
It’s not only social tribe-like groups that are forming and being catered to by these niche magazines. Professions are also getting more segmented. No matter what field you’re interested in (or what subcategory of it you’re interested in), you can find several associations and publications catering to it.
A device, method or idea you read in an industrial hygiene magazine may very well benefit your business that serves pet owners. The same problem might occur in two different industries and if one of those industries solves the problem, that solution may be adaptable by the other industry to solve its similar problem.
Often, solutions to issues in an industry will be more evident to people who are not directly involved with that industry.
Finding Magazines to Read
Other than searching for magazines online by using keywords from whatever industry you’re interested in, another great way to find new subjects and magazines to read is by looking at conference and tradeshow directories. You can check the online calendars of some of the conference centers close to you or use general online conference directories like AllConferences.com, tsnn.com, or 10times.com.
Don’t worry if nothing looks like it would interest you, check one out anyway. After all, you might not even know you’re interested in a field until you read something about it.
Once you identify some industries, you can search for trade magazines that cater to those fields. Many publications will be freely available online. When you find an article you like, take note of the contributor’s name and search for more stuff they’ve written.
Ebooks, White Papers, Guides, Powerpoint Presentations, Forums & Groups
You’ve probably heard the term “Content is King.” The term was coined by Bill Gates in a 1996 article titled “Content is King” on the Microsoft Website (one of the first blogs ever). He said: “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting. One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create.”
Boy, was he right. We live in a world where every person and every company that wants to matter is creating content. And thanks to this glut of content creation, it’s easier than ever to add to your list of potential business ideas.
There are hundreds of sites out there to find valuable material to learn from. Here are just a few:
And don’t forget Google Books. There are thousands of ebooks you can find there that you cannot find anywhere else.
With so much information and so many places to look, the challenge is going to be how to best use your time. Just because you can read and learn about anything doesn’t mean you should spend your time reading about just anything. You’ll have to be discerning when picking subjects.
Videos & Podcasts
Another good resource is online videos. Online video sharing services like YouTube give us the opportunity to find and prioritize content by letting us search, check popularity and ratings, and catalog videos for future use. There are also educational sites like SkillShare.com that put a lot of their teachings into video format.
Informational videos or videos of speeches (like TED Talks) can be great “listening only” resources when you are driving. Don’t watch and drive, obviously (at least until cars start driving themselves), but listen and drive.
Lastly, podcasts and documentaries are superb resources. As with books, choose from a wide variety of subjects and be discerning about which ones you choose.
I hope these tips help you expand your reading diversity, which in turn help you expand your capacity to generate more viable business ideas. The more ideas you generate, the more likely you are to have a truly great one.