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Logging Your Business Ideas

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Idea threads


Bronze Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
I'll start with my own rather primitive system.
Basically it is the notebook.
I carry it around with me everywhere,
jotting down ideas and trends I see happening.

Then when the notebook is full
(usually go through at least one a month).
I'll look over the ideas
and judge whether or not an idea will go on my list
(my top 25 ideas).

What puts it onto the list
(which pushes others off)?
The resources needed,
if I have the skillset/interest,
the timeliness of it (do I need to do it NOW?),
the size of the idea,
the capital required, etc.

Having this list has helped me look out
for the resources I need to bring the ideas to life.

In corporate, I would add them to concept/idea screeners.
This not only had the ideas being consumer tested
but brought them in front of the executive team.

In personal, I'd keep an eye out for partnerships
to fill in the gaps I usually have.

: )

MJ DeMarco

I followed the science; all I found was money.
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Jul 23, 2007
I carry a little memo notebook around, about the size of an IPOD.

The places I am most likely to come up with ideas:

1) The car in traffic
2) At the gym on a treadmill/elliptical
3) In my sleep


Bronze Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
There are actually studies
showing that exercise stimulates creativity.

And if I have a big problem/decision and can (timewise),
I sleep on it.
I'll think about the problem before I go to sleep
and often when I wake up,
I'll have at least one good solution.

My theory is it cuts down on all the other noise.
Whatever the reason is, it works.
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Bronze Contributor
Jul 24, 2007
I have three close friends who all use each other (the four of us) to bounce ideas around. At least a few times a week, one or more of us will send an email with the subject line, "Idea of the Day," and include a couple sentence overview of some idea they have.

The others will then either shoot it down (with rationale), ask more questions about it, or suggest that one of us throw together a one-pager document that lists the idea summary, brief market analysis, business model overview, competitive landscape, etc.

After throwing together the one-pagers, we'll chat more and decide whether one of us should write a full business plan. Once we have a business plan, we'll decide if we want to go for it, or whether we want to give it to someone else who is looking for an idea (and they will in turn give us equity back). We always keep a list of people looking for ideas to jump on, allowing us to farm out good ideas that we either aren't interested in ourselves, or aren't suited to our skills.

We probably pursue about 1 in 500 of the ideas, but it doesn't stop us from coming up with them at a rate of several a week.

In the past 10 years, we've used this system to start a consulting company that has over $1M in annual sales, get VC seed funding for an Internet idea (unfortunately this was in March 2000, days before the Internet bust), write a couple books, create an affiliate business that generated nearly $100K before Google shut us down, and incubate a couple other businesses that are still around in various stages of success.

We haven't hit the big jackpot yet, but it's amazing how much you can learn from failure and semi-success...
That's a great idea. Also, it's pretty cool to have a circle of friends that are interested in business to do this with. It's hard for me to find kids my age with the same interests as me though...:smx8:


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Aug 13, 2007
Northern VA
had a one subject notebook, black, that i used to witre one page for each idea. now i dont have much time to write new ideas. always keep it in a safe place. I dont write every random idea as it would be a waste of paper. I write down ideas that i would acctually be intrested in pursuing. Therefore everything in the book is realted to something i have done am doing or intrested in.


New Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
I do the notebook thing, too, then once I flesh out the idea a little, I research it. Online is generally the easiest way; is it already made, is it viable, is it practical?

I have friends who work in manufacturing, so I can talk ideas over with them, as well, both about their viability and their construction.
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Bronze Contributor
Aug 27, 2007
Hey Yankees338,

Hard to find friends your age that will shoot business ideas with? That's a signal that you're ahead of your years! Stay the course and when you're my age, 28, you'll be well ahead and out of the rate race!!



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