Young Entrepreneurs

Take Charge of Your Ideas in Six Simple Steps

Ideas

Do you have a million ideas for your business?

If you’re anything like me, you have new ideas bubbling up all the time. A lot of entrepreneurs are like this, always trying to think one step ahead. Idea people see opportunity everywhere.

Having a million innovative ideas is a great. One good idea leads to another -- and who knows, your next idea could change the world. However, when a brainstorm hits, it can be tricky to manage all those thoughts so you can take them to the next level and execute them. Finding the right methods to tame your ideas and make them work for you often takes a lot of trial and error.

But follow these six tips, and you'll take charge of your ideas in no time:

1. Need help tracking your ideas? There’s an app for that.

Productivity apps like “Things” and “Wunderlist” make it easy for you to record your ideas on the go. You can move your tasks around, sort ideas into different projects, create lists, add notes, due dates, and more. My favorite places to organize ideas now are EVERNOTE and Penultimate.

2. Some like it hot.

I like to mark my ideas as either “Hot” or “Backburner.” This helps me stay on top of the ideas I want to act on right away -- and get the other ones out of my head so they don't interfere with those I do need to focus on.

3. Test, test, test!

Do some initial research to see if there is a market for your ideas. Survey your audience to see what they think of them, talk to your mentor, or try doing some ad testing. You can purchase ads for the idea you want to launch in order to gauge interest. I've only done this a couple of times, but Tim Ferriss is the go-to guy for learning about testing the market through ad purchases. It may not be worth pursuing an idea if you find that the market is already saturated with something similar.

4. Break it down.

Once you have a handle on your ideas and have prioritized them to perfection, break them down into tasks. You are almost ready to execute. Schedule each task on a calendar. Again, check out the many amazing apps and programs with calendar and scheduling features.

Google Calendar, for example, has customizable reminders that you can receive via SMS/text messages, emails, or pop-ups. On Google’s mobile phone version, you can access your calendar whenever you need it.

5. Cultivate creativity.

To get your creative juices flowing, set your ideas abloom. Read books, blogs, and articles that nurture and stimulate your imagination. Focus on material that lights a fire within. Weed out material and programs that sap your time and energy. They say you are what you eat. Well, I say you are what you read.

6. Take action.

Do one thing this week to start organizing your ideas, be it creating an idea journal or downloading an awesome productivity app. Fiercely focus on prioritizing those ideas so you can take the next step and implement them. As the great director Alfred Hitchcock said, “Ideas come from everything.” Don’t be shy. Now is the time to unleash your brilliance.

Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy Award-winning media entrepreneur, Founder of SheTakesOnTheWorld.com, and the bestselling author of She Takes on the World: A Guide to Being Your Own Boss, Working Happy, and Living on Purpose. SheTakesOnTheWorld.com was featured by Forbes on its list of "10 Best Sites for Women Entrepreneurs."

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

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