Has a product or service ever hit the market and the first thing you thought was, “I totally could have made that!”

And you know what? You’re right. You could have.

But you didn’t, did you?

Someone else beat you to the punch. They come up with a business idea, they came up with a prototype, and then they followed through on building the business and promoting their product or service.

The reason you didn’t come up with it first is you weren’t ready. I firmly believe this. Starting a business takes a certain type of person, this is true, but it takes more than that. It’s all about coming up with the right idea and doing it at the right time. Here’s how you can come up your own ideas.

Be Patient

You can Google “Best Small Business Ideas” all you want. The sad fact is these pieces of content are going to have pretty much the same ideas. And every year, they’ll be updated with a few new items.

It’s not that all of these ideas are terrible, it’s just they aren’t unique. They aren’t specific to what you want to do. They aren’t your idea. And they’ve been done or are being done by other people who read the internet, which is everyone.

If you want to come up with an amazing idea for a small business, you need to be patient. Stop trying to overthink it.

Unless you’re a super genius, the chances of you coming up with something revolutionary are slim. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it is unlikely.

The best thing you can do as a budding entrepreneur is to be patient and wait for ideas to come to you as well as opportunities.

Let the Juices Flow

If you want to come up with ideas, you need to be creative and think outside of the box.

This starts with being a copycat. That’s right. I said. Be a copycat.

What I mean by this is you should look at what other successful people do and you should mimic that behavior. This starts with the written word. If you want to be an entrepreneur, if you want to be successful, you need to read. The average CEO is reading 4-5 books a month.

Aside from books, there are other outlets you should also consider. Podcasts, newspapers, and blogs can all have valuable information you can use to make yourself smarter and be more creative.

While I’m at, there are several habits that you can mimic besides being creative. The most successful people in the world get up early. How early? Before everyone else. They get up at 5 or six in the morning, meditate, exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, and they’re in the office before everyone else.

They know how to start the day. This early riser mindset gets them ready for anything life has to throw at them.

When you wake up and stumble into work half-asleep, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Get up, get your act together, and get ready to face the day with a smile and a winning attitude.

Keep a Journal

You would be surprised at just how much you can learn from yourself by keeping a journal. Write down everything that happens during your day, both your workday and your off days.

When I say everything, I mean everything. This includes the food you eat, the drinks you drink, and every detail. This shouldn’t take any more than twenty or thirty minutes a day.

After keeping your journal for a while, include goals for your day. Do you want to eat healthier, work out more, or come up with small business ideas, it can all start with a journal.

You should also write down your productivity goals. When are you finding yourself to be the most productive? Are you eating specific foods around this time? Is there a certain habit that helps you to be more efficient? A journal can help you find out.

As far as business ideas, this can give you the opportunity to write ideas down as they come to you. If you look back on previous ideas, you may be able to expand or flip the idea into something awesome.

Hang Out With Like-Minded People

I’m not telling you to stop hanging out with your friends and family. But you should look into meeting other entrepreneurs or people who are also looking for ideas for businesses.

Most cities have various meet-ups for professionals in different demographics. I’ve seen online events for everything from blogging to real estate.

Speaking of going online, social media is a great place to find and interact with other entrepreneurs. Social media also offers other opportunities. You can find Facebook groups and mastermind groups all over the web.

The Takeaway

Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. Creating something from nothing is one of the hardest things you will ever do. However, the reward makes all of your hard work worth your time.

But at the end of the day, you don’t have to create anything new. You can take something that already exists and make it better. You can take a product or service and make even more products and services that pair well.

Use your imagination. Be creative. And follow your passions. These are how every business gets off the ground.