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Idea Generation

Questions All Young Entrepreneurs Should Ask

These days, ideas mean business. We examine three questions you'll want to ask yourself when approaching your ideas as an entrepreneur.


As you approach your ideas as an entrepreneur, you’ll want to ask yourself three questions:

With each venture, are you getting closer to your true interests and potential?

Of course, statistically speaking, most ideas never happen and most new business ventures fail. When you pursue a new idea, it is impossible to know whether it will be able to attract a team and become a viable business. However, at the very least, every experience you take should move you closer to your interests. Any move that accomplishes this end is a safe one to make; what you want to avoid doing is following an endeavor that fails to move the developmental needle (or worse, sets you back). A fledgling idea that is completely unrelated to your core interests is risky because if it fails, it will offer no circumstantial benefits. By contrast, if the idea is related to your passions in life, the experiential education gained in its pursuit will be valuable for future projects – whether or not the idea ultimately happens.

Can you be comfortable with the unconventional and mine the circumstantial?

While the conventional approach in business is to plan extensively, most entrepreneurs that we’ve interviewed –  and even established companies that consistently innovate – take bold leaps and perform quick experiments in the pursuit of new ideas. These approaches require a willingness to mine the circumstantial opportunities that may present themselves along the way. New innovations like Twitter and others resulted from unexpected deviations in somewhat unrelated businesses. They succeeded because their leaders were comfortable going off-plan and exploring the unexpected when their gut told them to do so – even if they didn’t have a clear end in mind.

Can you let others own your ideas?

By sharing ownership of your idea, you can empower your team and increase their commitment. At the same time, shared ownership – and shared credit upon success – also serves as a form of non-financial compensation. When you embark on an idea, you won’t be able to afford great partners and employees unless you are able to share ownership. Ironically, if your idea is too sacred and dear to you, it may suffer as you try to motivate a team. The need for momentum in the early days of idea execution requires that you unleash control and, at times, compromise your singular vision to make room for the visions of others.

Comments (6)
  • moulicohen

    Excellent advice for all entrepreneurs, not just young ones.

  • Lee Washington

    The only thing I would add is be careful about sharing! While it’s all well and good saying that shared ownership of an idea is great, when it comes to monetizing it, the very act of sharing can prevent the IP from being protected. Just make sure that you trust the people you share it with and can maintain confidentiality!

  • Jonathan Patterson

    Well written and succinct article. I’ll also add to the second paragraph, twitter deviation is not the rule, rather the exception. My guess is that when you deviate too radically or far then you become unfocused. But I completely agree, you have to be open to other ideas so your original idea can grow.

  • Young business entrepreneur

    This is a great Article! I am a young entrepreneur and one thing that you can never get enough of is advice! As the article mentions, it can be very costly to learn business through trial and error, but some people don’t have connections to quality mentors to give them good advice. This article provides great tidbits of advice from a broad background of entrepreneurs. My personal favorite is the advice about getting practical experience in some form of accounting software at the early stage of your business. Does anyone else have a favorite piece of advice or favorite take-away from the article?

  • Leonidas Anagnostakos

    Great piece.
    I would only add, along the process of creating your idea always be asking yourself “what problem am I soving”.
    Entreprenuers are people that solve problems through innovation.
    Not solving any problems? You may want ot rethink your idea.

  • Azura Rising

    Great wisdom, very timely I have received it as well! Thank you!

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Mike Perry