After people have read my mini-book on how I turned $200 into a 6-figure business, they often email me and say “I’m stuck. I have so many business ideas and I just don’t know which one to choose!” First of all I think it’s great that there are so many creative, innovative thinkers on my list – it’s super exciting and motivation to read their stories. But the multi-passionate entrepreneur stuff – where people just can’t decide which idea to run with – is really frustrating.
Being paralyzed with too many ideas only creates a way to keep from moving forward with any of them. It’s a self-limiting belief that prevents a lot of people from ever becoming entrepreneurs. It’s a way to manage risk: by refusing to decide which idea to pursue, you avoid fear, you avoid risk, and you avoid embarrassment.
What that also means is that you avoid the energy and excitement of the entrepreneurial journey. You avoid having memorable experiences that can change your perspective and even your life for the better. You avoid doing things that might make you truly happy.
All because of idea paralysis.
If this is you – if you’re reading this and you are one of the people who has “too many business ideas” and can’t pick one of them – well I’m about to kick your ass into start-up mode. So get comfy.
3 Reasons You Can’t Choose Just One Business Idea
- You’re scared you’ll fail. You know what? You just might. As many as 80% of new start-ups fail within 18 months. You have to accept that this is a real possibility, and put something in place to manage your worst case scenario. In other words, have a back-up plan, yo.
- Your ideas all suck. A lot of business ideas are really, really bad. If you’ve watched enough Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den, you know this. But even a bad idea can be turned into a good one, so ask around and get honest opinions on your ideas. BE COACHABLE. Get feedback. Improve on your ideas, talk to people and the best ones will emerge.
- You lack focus and self-discipline. See #2 – allow yourself to be coached. If you have shiny object syndrome, first admit it, then find out what helps you focus, so you can pursue one idea with everything you have.
3 Ways to Narrow Down Your Business Ideas and Pick One Idea for a Business Plan
- Talk to someone. Talk to a mentor. Talk to a business networking group. Talk to me. Sometimes all it takes is verbalizing your thoughts and it becomes obvious which idea you’re most passionate about and which idea has the greatest chance of success (assuming outstanding implementation, of course).
- Do some research. Think about what kind of person would buy the product or service you have an idea for. Then get off your computer and go talk to people like that. Ask them what they would buy. Find out their preferences. Write down and organize the results. Look for trends in their responses and use those to refine your ideas, eliminate others, and narrow your focus.
- Analyze the risk. We all want to avoid failure, but starting a business is risky and there’s nothing you can do about it. However – knowing your personal tolerance for risk can help you choose a business idea that sits well with you and that you can pursue with minimal worry. If one of your ideas costs $4,000 to launch, and another costs $450,000 – and your risk tolerance is low – you might be better off risking less capital. If you fail, you can learn from that before you try again, and your bank account won’t be decimated.
Is idea paralysis keeping you from pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams? Let’s chat about it in the comments.