How Entrepreneurs Get Their Ideas

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How is it that some people discover ideas that eventually lead to billion-dollar enterprises?

Every business in the world -- the business your buddy started that failed three months in, the bar down the street, and even the multi-billion dollar enterprises that influence broad economic changes -- starts with a single idea. The strength of that idea alone can't rocket a business to success; for that, you need capital, patience, flexibility, and a good team, but it can establish a powerful foundation for the organization.

Ideas don't come out of nowhere, and most of us would be more willing to start a business if we just had a great idea for one -- so how do most entrepreneurs get their ideas?

I've spoken with a lot of entrepreneurs about this over the years, and it seems to come back to four main sources:

1. Stroke of genius. Though it's not especially practical as a means of generating your own ideas, some entrepreneurs are simply hit with a stroke of genius. They wake up one morning with a new vision, or a spark that leads to an idea, and they have no idea where it came from. This is rare, however, as most ideas can be traced back to some point of origin.

2. Inspiration. It's more common that entrepreneurs see something that already exists and get inspired by it; for example, they might see a unique business already in development and think of an original twist that could bring that model to a different industry or application.

3. Brainstorming. Some entrepreneurs commit to brainstorming as a means of generating ideas, sitting down specifically to come up with a business model after deciding they want to start a business. This brute-force attempt doesn't always work, but it can produce some good starting points.

4. Need recognition. Finally, many entrepreneurs first recognize a need the public has, and then work backward to try and address that need with a formal solution.

If you're looking to start a business with a bold new idea, consider using these four avenues to get there. They're not all straightforward or 100 percent reliable, but they are some of the most common ways entrepreneurs get the ideas they need to move forward.

Bio: Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.