Brainstorming your startup. Step by step guide to brainstorming

6 min read

Suppose you are trying to develop a brilliant new idea for your startup or looking for new ideas to raise more revenue in your existing business. In that case, brainstorming is a great way to generate ideas. In business, brainstorming is often done in groups, and however, even as a solo entrepreneur, you can use brainstorming sessions to generate valuable ideas. Brainstorming has a double benefit: it will not only help you to generate ideas that might not have otherwise been considered, but it can also help you better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your business and where you need to focus your time. There are several brainstorming techniques that you can do on your own that can help you to broaden your horizons to new ideas and strategies for your business. You can use one, several, or all of these techniques to spitballing new ideas. Moreover, in this article, you will find rules for maximizing brainstorming success, as well as helpful tools.


The right questions are the first step to success

A simple way to generate new ideas is by answering a question. If you’re looking for a business to start, a question might be asked what business will help you meet your goals. For example, if you dream about travel around the world, your question might be, “What business is flexible and portable enough for me to travel the world?”. If you are thinking about how to attract new clients or customers, a question might be, “What is the one thing my customers or clients want the most?”.


Apply a Mind Map

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Many successful entrepreneurs have used a mind map. It’s ideal for people who are visual thinkers. You can use different mind map programs for digital devices or just a piece of paper and a pencil. Here are the steps to mind mapping:

  1. First, write down a word, question, or image in the center of the page.
  2. Add a related word, question, or concept, then connect it to the first word with the line. You can specify as many of these next-level ideas as you want.
  3. Continue to develop ideas by adding sub-topics. Draw more lines add words related to the sub-topic.
  4. Continue to draw lines with related keywords once new ideas come to you.

For example, you’re trying to work towards a startup business development idea. You can have as your center topic “My business startup.” Next, you can have spokes out that include “Business idea,” “Customers” and “Business model.” From your “Customers” spoke, you can have “Target market” spoke. From your “Target market” spoke, you can have a “List of target customers and users” spoke. 


Use Word Map

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A world map is another way to brainstorm things related to your business.  For example, you can write down all the words associated with your business or business goals. If you want to start an IT business, you might write “app development” or “bot development.” For each word, write down related words that come to mind. In our example, you might write “Augmented reality app,” “ tracking app,” and “Uber-like apps.”


SWOT Application

If you’ve written a business plan, most likely, you’ve already done a SWOT analysis. The SWOT isn’t just valuable for your business plan. It also can serve as a great brainstorming technique. First, scribble a four-square grid by drawing a line vertically down the middle of a paper, then a line across the middle horizontally. Put “Strengths” in the upper left box and the upper right box “Weaknesses.”  In the lower-left box write, “Opportunities,” and in the lower right box, “Threats.” Write down corresponding words, ideas, and concepts that come to your mind in each box. For example, you’re trying to decide if you want to launch a mobile application. Under “Strengths” you can list all the positive aspects of your application idea, as well as your strengths, such as “It’s low cost to start,” “I’m an expert on the topic,” etc. You want to do the same for “Weaknesses,” such as “I’m not tech-savvy,” “It can take time to generate a good income,” etc. Under “Opportunities,” you can specify “There are many ways to generate income from with app,” and under “Threats” you might write, “Lots of competition.”

Once you’re done, use your SWOT analysis as input for developing or further refining your Product Development Strategy. It should help you focus on priority goals and initiatives. If you need some guidance with this process, then JetRuby has something for you. As we’ve been on the digital market for more than 10 years with many startups, we felt their anxiety and doubts during the initial launch stage. For that reason, we have developed a technological flow that can potentially cast all of your worries away, and it starts from the Product Development Strategy Session. It is a free business consultation where your team and ours will create a general plan covering the future product cycle and an action plan with high-level features for your first steps. Got interested already? Leave your short project description, and we’ll be in contact with you within 24 hours.


Read more: How Your Business Can Fail Without Proper Competitor Research


Take a look at your future business through your customer’s eyes

It’s essential to analyze and make decisions from a business owners’ perspective only. The best ideas will be those that resonate and attract clients and customers, and the best way to do that is to take a look at your business through your customer’s eyes. Don’t think about product features, focus on your customer pain points and how they can be resolved. To do this, you can interview your customers. Working through your marketing, sales, buying, and customer service based on customer feedback will help you generate ideas to make the experience better for them.


Read more: Why Can’t You Skip The Business Plan For Your Startup?


Use Five WS questions 

While brainstorming, you’re seeking answers to questions, but sometimes you’re not sure what questions to ask or asking the wrong questions. The 5 Ws conception includes who, what, why, when, where, and how can help you generate ideas to improve your business. You can just list these questions, but you can sketch them similar to a mind map, called a starburst, if you’re a visual person. When starbursting, you draw your main idea in the middle and then connect it with your basic questions of who, what, why, when, where, and how at the end of each point.  Using each of these basic questions, brainstorm more questions related to your main idea. For example, let’s say you want to make money by creating a mobile entertainment app to earn money. You’d put “entertainment app” in the middle. The “How” can contain the questions like “How the entertainment app can be promoted?” In the “Who” section, you can ask, “Who is the ideal user of my application?” Write as many questions to each spoke that come to mind. Once you come up with the right questions, you can generate answers that should lead to ideas and help you focus your development business tasks.


Tools for Brainstorming

When it comes to brainstorming, a piece of paper and pen or pencil is all you need. With that said, because it’s a creative endeavor, you need the tools that will help you generate the best ideas in a way that you can assess and use later. Here are a few tools you can use:

  1. Brainstorming session notes: Keeping your ideas all in one place is a great way to refer back to previous brainstorming sessions. Then, once you finished the brainstorming session, you can continue to keep notes with you to jot new ideas as they spring to your mind.
  2. Pen or pencil:  you can use several pencils of different colors, which can help you sort out and organize your ideas.
  3. Mind map apps: There are many mind map apps online that you can use on your devices.
  4. Whiteboard or piece of big paper: This is often used in group brainstorming sessions but can be helpful even if you’re alone. Large writing surfaces can help you avoid the constraints of writing in a smaller space.
  5. Sticky notes: sticky notes can be easily moved around on a larger surface.

The goal of brainstorming is to generate as many different ideas as possible to decide which are best for your purposes. The human brain has a specific feature – it filters, judges, and evaluates arguments. There is a high probability that you will not write down some pictures because you think they are dumb or unattainable. But this is a big mistake. Here are the rules you need to follow to have efficient brainstorming sessions. 


Rules for Brainstorming

The goal of brainstorming is to generate as many different ideas as possible to decide which are best for your purposes. The human brain has a specific feature – it filters, judges, and evaluates arguments. There is a high probability that you will not write down some pictures because you think they are dumb or unattainable. But this is a big mistake. Here are the rules you need to follow to have efficient brainstorming sessions:

Rule number 1. Write down all ideas, whether you like them or not. 

Rule number 2. No evaluation. Brainstorming is simply the generation of ideas. Whatever the idea, write it down. Brainstorming is not the time to evaluate ideas. Evaluating ideas comes later.


Validating and Scoring your different Ideas

For some thoughts on how you might want to validate or score your different ideas, try the following starting points:

  1. Are well suited to this particular opportunity. Do you have some unique domain insight or technological background that makes you uniquely well suited to tackle this opportunity?
  2. Is there strong enough customer motivation (pain in the case of a B2B sale) to get the customer to buy and use your product?
  3. Market size: are there enough customers that have this strong motivation to make a big company?
  4. Competition: are there entrenched competitors who would be hard to dislodge?
  5. Does this product truly solve the customer problem (without introducing some new issues in the process of adoption)?
  6. Are there substantial barriers to entry that can be sustained over time? (Ideally, the differentiation should be strong enough to allow you to beat significant players who may decide to copy your idea and benefit from their brand, distribution, customer base, etc.)
  7. Can you build a viable business model around this idea? (Specifically, is it going to be possible to acquire customers for less money than the profit you can make from selling to them?)
  8. How long and how much capital is required to complete the solution?
  9. How significant are the risks involved?

You may also wish to add your validation/scoring ideas to this list.


Read more: Why Can’t You Skip The Business Plan For Your Startup?


A common problem: Technology without an exact customer

It is pretty common to see entrepreneurs with technical backgrounds figure out some very cool new technology and want to start a company around that. They have only one of the two requirements for a successful startup idea. To be successful, they need to get very specific about which customers have pain that this technology can solve. They should then allow those customers’ needs as a group to drive the definition of the product. That is also why so many of the startup schools recommend a team of two founders: one with the business brain to figure out who will buy, what they want to buy, and how they will buy, and the other with the technology brain.


Want to be next on the list of unique ideas but are afraid to choose the correct tech pattern? 

Or are you afraid to fall with your vision and end it like that? Put your sorrowful worries away and call JetRuby today! We are an experienced and professional digital agency that supports and assists various healthcare startups. We guide them through the development process from point A to point B—breaking down every step. Our team discusses the development priorities and supports their innovative idea. So what’s holding you back? Leave a short description of your unique idea or a project on our first and free development step: Product Development Strategy Session. And we’ll contact you in no time!


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