So you want to start a business but have no idea where to start, at all.  And certainly, no original idea for a product or service.

Depressed? Don’t be!

This may sound counterintuitive but not having an idea may benefit you in the long run if you follow the process that I will describe in a minute.

So many entrepreneurs are out there to prove their idea is right, rather than to make a successful product. But not you! Because you are out there to solve people’s problems!

And I tell you what: This is it. This is the most important skill I’ve ever developed. Really. Ever.

Before you dive into Idea Extraction

There are a few things you’ve got to have nailed already before you even consider starting the idea extraction process. You need to have:

  • Chosen your market.
    • Sometimes it is easiest to pick a market you are already familiar with. Look at the market in terms of profitability, spending power, and size.
    • If you are unsure about how to proceed here, please check our other articles and videos on the topic!
  • The right mindset.
    • Mindset.Is.Everything.
    • Mindset is all about the way you view Idea Extraction. The mindset you take into Idea Extraction is directly related to the results you get out of it.
    • You want to have fun with this process. You want to enjoy the time you spend getting to know your potential clients as well.  
    • If you still find yourself making excuses every time you have to call a prospect for idea extraction, then go back one step and work again on your mindset.

Now you have your target market chosen and it meets all of the required criteria, and you are ready and looking forward to getting started with idea extraction. Awesome!

These are the 4 skills you are going to need during the process:

  1. Knowing how to be present and in the moment.
    You are 100% here right now for the customer.
    To be successful, you must get out of your own way. You are out there to solve people’s problems.
    Don’t think about anything else but that. Not even about what you are going to answer or ask next!
  2. Asking the right questions.
    This is the Big Kahuna.  So be over-inquisitive. When it comes to gathering information, nothing is overkill.

    • What does their average day look like?
    • What tools do they use?
    • Who is their customer?
    • What is their work environment like?
      Without being creepy, do whatever you can to immerse yourself in your customer’s life.
  3. Listening.
    • Without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood and communication breaks down.
    • What gets in the way of listening? Not being present.
    • What keeps people from being present? Having an agenda. Assuming the answers before spoken.
    • What supports listening? Having a genuine interest in your client.
  4. Understanding.
    This is the important checkpoint where you should be able to explain the problem better than your customer. This is about making sure that the other person feels understood.  And Just like you defined the problem, now you want to define the solution.

Develop an insane obsession for your customer and their problems.

Gather as much information as possible.

And FIND.THE.PAIN.

 You are looking for a very concrete problem that you can define in one sentence.

Once you have this down with confidence, you can begin thinking of a solution. This is done best by letting your best customers come up with the solution for you!

After your research, you should fully understand the problem and have collected many different ideas to solve the problem from your customers.

Once you have this, you are ready to validate the idea you just extracted! Validation is a whole topic on it’s on.  Make sure to check our articles and videos for more on Validation.

While performing idea extraction, there are a few ninja best practices you should take into account…

We found they helped us a lot when we started implementing them:

  1. Program your mindset every day. It is the only way to make sure you keep yourself accountable.
  2. If you are stuck, reach out for help! We would be happy to be your sounding board, but if not us, even a friend can give you a new perspective.
  3. Record your idea extraction calls and then devote some time to go through them again. What could you improve? What have you learned?
  4. Be creative and don’t limit yourself to just one technique. Try phone, e-mail, Skype, questionnaires, LinkedIn, keep trying different methods of contact.
  5. Give value. Find something you can give as fast as possible. A white paper, an infographic, a PDF ebook. Give it away in the emails you send or as a thank you.
  6. Don’t give up. Go back to steps 1, 2 and 3 and try again! It’s difficult, but it can be done, but it’s difficult, but it can definitely be done.  

Got it? Now go and extract some awesome ideas!!!

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