Jodie Cook

February 21, 2022

A hundred million dollar idea

After selling my marketing agency and taking some time to decide what’s next, I began a phase of idea generation with my husband, Ben. After deciding I wanted to get back in the arena, the plan was to come up with a hundred million dollar idea that we could throw the kitchen sink at.
 
Each of those thought processes is explained in its respective blog. But the real question is, how do you come up with a hundred million dollar idea? 
 
For us this involved two exercises. The first was where we defined the parameters of our future business, the second was where we thought of ideas within said parameters.
 
Without parameters, coming up with business ideas is a minefield. Without focus or direction, concepts are sporadic. They fulfil different purposes, they target different audiences, they don’t align with a specific mission, expertise or desired day-to-day. 
 
For our idea generation phase, affectionately titled the “summer of ideation,” the parameters for our next business were as follows:
 
1.   Must be location-independent
2.   Must have the potential to become a $100million company
3.   Must fit within both of our zones of genius
4.   Must be able to run successfully with a (relatively) small and close-knit team 
5.   Must be good for the planet
6.   Must have a target audience of entrepreneurs
7.   Must be within the field of human capability
 
Once the parameters were agreed, the next step was to think of business ideas that fulfilled these parameters. This involved several steps:
 
Expanding our minds
 
New ideas don’t come from having the same routine, seeing the same people and discussing the same topics. If nothing changes, nothing changes. To think of new ideas, we made changes. We went out and explored new places, mixed up our scenery and routines, tried out new activities and met new people. We followed the “Yes, and” rule of improv comedy where suggestions are never shut down, only explored further.
 
Conducting thought experiments
 
Thought experiments involve throwing constraints such as time, money and physics out of the window to imagine what might be possible. They spark new ideas by looking at everyday concepts and business ideas in a different way. Here are seven that we tried that you might enjoy too.
 
Writing the ideas down
 
Every plausible idea we thought of was written down in a spreadsheet and expanded upon. Into the spreadsheet went the idea, the target audience, the business plan, the route to market and the next steps should we go ahead with it. Only ideas that fit within the seven parameters made the list, otherwise they were simply discarded.
 
Refraining from research
 
With every idea it’s easy to jump onto Google and see what already exists, but we didn’t let ourselves do this. Finding out what’s already out there puts limitations in too early. You either see nothing relevant and think there’s no demand, or you see something similar and become side-tracked. It doesn’t matter if someone else is running with the same idea. Besides, we don’t care about what is, we care about what could be.
 
Staying in the ideation phase
 
This was important. Until we had completed the exercise and agreed upon a route forward, we didn’t make any moves to start a business. No purchasing domain names, no sharing ideas publicly, no drafting landing pages or thinking up taglines.
 
Choosing one
 
After a few months of this ideation phase we had twenty-seven ideas in the spreadsheet, but there was one we couldn’t stop thinking about. This was when the next phase began: testing its viability, assessing demand and feasibility, and working out a plan for the way forward.
 
The winning idea? Idea twenty-two. 

I’m working away behind the scenes and can’t wait to share it with you soon.
 

 
P.s. What about the others? When the time is right, I’m happy to share them. I’m not going to turn them into businesses but if someone else wants to they can be my guest. 😊

 
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