How to Find Your Next Business Idea and Establish Yourself as an Industry Leader in 2020 – Five Effective Tips from Top CEOs, Founders, and Business Experts

Last updated October 20, 2019

This may sound shocking, but one of the easiest ways to start discovering your next business idea may be as simple as keeping an open mind and not “overthinking” it. More often than not, putting the wheels in motion for a promising pursuit and adjusting course as needed will get you better results than overanalyzing each and every idea you have.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do your homework and be smart with your decisions. But, if you look at today’s top entrepreneurs and industry leaders, you’ll notice that they were forward-thinking and trusted their instinct. Although these visionaries reached their destination through various paths, one thing they had in common is that they kept moving.

Below are 5 (five) essential tips that you can use to help make the right choices about which business initiatives and career paths to pursue. Follow these strategies to achieve the momentum you need to establish yourself as a changemaker or leader in your respective field.

1: Focus on What You are Passionate About

“Love what you do, passionately, and it will never seem like work.”

Ada Polla, Co-Founder, Alchimie Forever

Great ideas are all around you. You know this. However, the number one determinant of whether you will stick with an idea long enough to see it through, comes down to you. 

Success for any business initiative requires some extent of passion. It requires a strong positive emotion and mindset to retain the strength needed to get through the hard times. Doubt, rejection, getting stuck, and even being ridiculed are all part of implementing a business idea. And this isn’t a bad thing.

“There are so many difficulties and challenges. If you love what you do, you will always find a way to overcome them.”

Alex Assoune, Founder, Panaprium

On the contrary, the ability to navigate the bad times and cultivate the strength to find the silver lining and identify an opportunity when things aren’t going your way is what sets the true leaders apart from those that give up.

So how do you do this?

Well, overcoming these uncomfortable and undesirable stages requires faith, commitment, and confidence. And that’s where your passion comes into play.

Having passion is an essential ingredient that can empower you with the determination to plow through the hard times. It’s passion that allows you to keep your eye on the ball and see the bigger picture.

But let’s not forget one thing. Passion and love for what you are doing make the experience enjoyable and thrilling. People tend to do a lot more of what they find to be fun. This is why if you stop recognizing the excitement or value in what you are doing, it becomes easy to give up. 

Here are some real-life examples:

Ada Polla, Co-Founder of Alchimie Forever, started working in the beauty industry when she was ten years old. Her father had a hard time finding front desk help for evenings, so Ada helped out after school. The inspiration for Alchimie Forever came from what she learned in her father’s practice – that looking good means feeling good, and in turn, that feeling good means doing good. Ada explained to us that ultimately, the vision goes beyond skin. That it is about making the world a better place, by making people feel more beautiful, feel more confident, feel happier.

Her advice to others is that “[b]uilding a consumer brand takes time, patience, resources, and lots of love. Love what you do, passionately, and it will never seem like work.” This mentality and a focus on the “bigger picture” is what allowed Ada to build a super successful plant-based skincare line and ultimately get nominated as one of the top five finalists for “Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneur Magazine.”

Alex Assoune, Founder of Panaprium, has always been an advocate of personal growth. Alex created Panaprium to provide quality products and promote the attitude of healthy living. Alex was able to build one of the world’s leading ethical & sustainable activewear companies through his commitment to continually learning and improving himself- as well as his love for his trade. Alex is clear in what he enjoys: “I love bettering myself, as much as sharing what I learned and solving problems in our community.”

When asked about his advice to others, Alex tells us to “[c]ome up with something you can relate to and be passionate about. There are so many difficulties and challenges. If you love what you do, you will always find a way to overcome them.”

Your Business Idea Action Item 1: PASSION

Here are six (6) pointers from our friends at The Muse for helping to pinpoint your passion(s):

  1. Remember what you loved as a child
  2. Eliminate money from the equation
  3. Ask your friends for feedback
  4. Read through a university course catalog
  5. Identify your professional hero
  6. Think of what you enjoy that you also do well

If you want to start seeing immediate results, then in the next 1-3 days, read this guide on identifying and pursuing your passions (in full) and do everything on this list, and write down your responses to the following questions posed by The Telegraph:

  • What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?
  • What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?
  • What would I spend my time doing if I had complete financial abundance to do anything?
  • Imagine that you are very old. What do you wish you had spent the last 20 to 30 years doing? 
  • What hobbies did you enjoy doing before life got in the way?
  • What jobs, tasks, or subjects do you absolutely loathe?
  • Who do I envy the most due to the work they do?

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2. Play to Your Strengths

“I love helping people find their sweet spot – where their natural strengths and passion intersect.”

Craig Sroda, Author of “Intentional Living and Leadership.”

Being passionate about something, and being good at it are closely correlated, but not always the same. The ideal scenario is to focus on an area you are passionate about and in which you have a comparative advantage. If you get this right and find your “sweet spot,” this will skyrocket you ahead of others.

Craig Sroda, the author of “Intentional Living and Leadership,” is so confident about the power of playing to your strengths and passions that he dedicated a good majority of his life to building people up by helping them to understand their strengths and their “why.” Craig’s view is that you should challenge yourself to live according to your strengths and areas of passion and enjoy the journey of life. 

The obvious challenge is that you need to first identify your strengths and passions and believe in them. Be honest with yourself.

“Put good, hard thought into your own strengths…Figure out what you do well and what you don’t do particularly well and then hire experts in your areas of weakness.”

Celeste Headlee, Author, “Heard Mentality” And “We Need To Talk”

Identifying your strengths requires paying attention, maintaining awareness, and being open to a whole lot of trial and error. This also means taking a bit of risk. You need to think out outside the box and explore. If you don’t try something, you won’t know if you’re good at it or not.

Celeste Headlee, award-winning journalist, professional speaker, and author, explained to us that she is the best version of herself when she is aware of her strengths. Her advice is to put hard thought into what your strengths are and figure out what you do well. Celeste follows her own advice and plays to her strengths.

She explains that she is good at distilling important points from an interview or research study or book and then pulling in other relevant information to create an entirely new perspective on human issues. This awareness and application of Celeste’s strengths is what positioned her to be able to lead a successful career in journalism, including hosting several radio shows and authoring multiple books.

Your Business Idea Action Item 2: STRENGTH

Here are ten (10) super actionable and effective activities to get a better sense of your strengths:

1. Ask five (5) people that are closest to you and that you trust (friends, family, significant others, relatives) to each tell you three things that they think you are notably good at

2. Ask five (5) people that know you peripherally (acquaintances, associates, friends of friends, colleagues) to each tell one-two things that they think you are good at (or have “heard” that you are good at).

3. Identify what comes naturally to you (e.g., what is easy for you that might not be for others? What requires little extra effort or little training to do? What can you do fairly quickly and effectively?)

4. Tap into your instinct and ask yourself what you “feel” confident about doing. This one may seem tricky because it doesn’t need to be based on any specific evidence, but that’s OK. You don’t even have to have done it before. Just write these down. Often, our subconscious knows more than we do.

5. Identify areas of your life where you have excelled or acquired specific skills based on tangible evidence (e.g., promotions, rewards, credentials, licenses, test scores, performance reviews)

6. Recall instances of unsolicited positive feedback or recognition from independent sources, such as employers, co-workers, strangers, even people that may not take a liking to you

7. Take note of the things that you are experienced in or have a meaningful understanding or knowledge about (e.g., what topics, subjects, or fields have you acquired more information about than the average person)?

8. Recall back to when you were most in your element, and note what activities you were doing during those times (e.g., when you felt the most comfortable or were doing something that was engrossing to you)

9. Take a personality test or assessment and identify what is unique to you. There are many different tests, but you can start with these two trusted sources:  The Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and The Disc Assessment.

10. Take an aptitude test to help identify natural abilities. There are many different tests, but you can start with these four reputable sources that test a different variety of strengths and skills:  Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation Career Strengths Test, Emotional Intelligence Assessment, Booth’s 360 Leadership Emotional Intelligence (LEQ) test, and the VIA Character Strengths Assessment.


Note that some of these tips were sourced from these two helpful resources: Elite Daily and Cleverism.

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3. Ensure That You are Addressing a Problem or Need

Once you have identified your passions and strengths and narrowed down what to focus on, you will be primed to identify (or choose) which path is likely to be the most rewarding from a business standpoint.

This means it’s time to think about OTHERS and translate your ideas into reality.

Your passions and strengths were about YOU, but this world is larger than you. If you’re interested in moving beyond a personally satisfying career or initiative and looking to pursue something that is also financially lucrative and/or will establish you as a leader or influencer, then you need to consider external factors, such as the market.

For your idea or pursuit to takeoff, it needs to be something that people want, desire, or need. This involves thinking about what people don’t have enough of. What will make people’s lives better? What problem or inconvenience are you solving for?

“…most creative people can easily determine the problems that consumers encounter every day by using a simple method: observation.”

Stephen Key, Co-founder of InventRight

If your ideas or skills are aligned with something that is in high demand, then economically speaking, people will pay more for it. That payment could be in the form of money, time, or support – all of which are important.

The path to ensuring that your efforts are adding value to the market requires making sure that you are addressing a problem or a need and sticking with your mission until you come up with a solution. So how do you validate and confirm that your pursuit is marketable?

A simple starting point is to listen to Stephen Key, renowned inventor, author, speaker, and co-founder of InventRight. Stephen explains that “[l]arge companies spend millions of dollars on market research trying to identify consumer needs and problems. However, most creative people can easily determine the problems that consumers encounter every day by using a simple method: observation.” Stephen’s view is that the more attentive you are to the world around you, the more likely you are to notice opportunities. His suggested tactic is to “study the marketplace, look for holes, needs or wants not being filled and come up with ideas to fill those holes, needs, or wants in the marketplace.”

Here are some real-life examples of leaders that have put this into practice:

Co-Founder and CEO of Savvy Coders, Elain Queathem, was working in sales at a small software company when she recognized that there simply weren’t enough qualified coders to meet the demands of the company. She quickly discovered that this was an industry-wide problem and made the decision to create a business that could help fill the gap.

According to Elain, “I saw a need to educate people to become software developers in a manner different than the status quo.  At the time, I was in sales, and we couldn’t get code written fast enough to meet release dates that offered new functionality.” The solution ended up being a coaching and training company that helps people, without traditional education in technology, become talented coders.

Adam Fields, Founder and CEO of ARTA, is another example of a leader building a business around solving a pervasive problem: “I previously worked for an e-commerce company called Artspace, which sold art and design objects from leading galleries, museums and institutions online. As we grew and became more global, it became apparent that we didn’t have an effective shipping solution for the types of objects we were selling—goods that oftentimes couldn’t be sent via common carrier (FedEx, UPS, etc.) due to the specialized nature of the packing, handling, customs, etc.”

Adam further explains: “As I continued to investigate the shipping and logistics space, it became obvious that there was a major gap in the market for items that could not be shipped via FedEx, and the lack of an efficient solution was becoming a sales blocker for both online and offline transactions. I realized that if there were a way to make specialized shipping easier, global commerce for these types of items would inevitably grow. This was a very exciting prospect, and I left Artspace to start ARTA.”

Your Business Idea Action Item 3: PROBLEMS & NEEDS

So, in a world of seemingly endless problems and needs, how do you find one that you can devote your life to addressing?

Here’s a good starting point:

  • Think about some of your biggest pet peeves or frustrations. Now think of ways to fix them. Perhaps it is an update to the ever-frustrating cereal packaging or a mobile app to help you find a parking spot, you get the idea!
  • Focus on things that you can “make better” and improve instead of starting from scratch and reinventing the wheel. Amazon made online shopping better. Netflix made watching TV better. What basic activity could you make better?
  • Find out what people are searching for the most online using tools like Google Trends.
  • Discover popular content online that illustrates a potential window for your business idea to thrive. Tools like Alltop help you identify popular stories, as well as subjects (and ideas) that continue to make news.
  • Leverage social media (e.g., Facebook and Instagram polls) and the internet to find out what people want using questionnaires, surveys, focus groups, forum conversations, etc. You can set up free surveys for light audience research using tools like Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, and SoGoSurvey.
  • Use digital insight tools like Followerwonk and Topsy to find, analyze, and optimize social content based on your big idea.
  • Follow thought-leaders and influencers in the industries you are interested in and see what they are posting about on social media, what topics of content they are sharing, and how much traction (retweets, comments, likes, etc.) their posts get.      
  • Look around your own community and zero in on local problems that need a solution. Attend local city council meetings, participate in small business networking events, join local community groups on social media, or see what neighbors are discussing on apps like NextDoor. Your small area can serve as a good test ground for a business idea before you tackle a larger market.
  • Plan for the future. Perhaps your great idea is going to solve a problem that doesn’t even exist yet. Innovators like Elon Musk thought ahead to what the world and humanity would need down the line. What might be a problem people encounter when self-driving cars become the norm? Or drone delivery? Your next great idea could be the product of good foresight.

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4. Don’t Do it Alone – Maintain a Support Network to Build your Credibility, Open New Doors, and Strengthen Your Idea

“Strong relationships are the underpinning of most successful entrepreneurs and business owners . . . your network is your net worth!”

Angelou Ezeilo, Founder and CEO of Greening Youth Foundation

Few things in business are as powerful as a personal reference — whether it’s a trusted friend recommending a business partner for you or a colleague recommending you to a potential business associate. Building and maintaining a trusted support network goes hand in hand with establishing your credibility, and neither magically happens overnight. Like most things, it takes hard work, being savvy, and a fearlessness to put yourself out there.

Your network of friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and business contacts play a critical role in growing your business. Whether it’s finding customers and making more sales, or securing strategic partners and scaling up development, the success and impact of your entrepreneurial adventure may largely come down to who you know. Entrepreneur.com shares 5 lessons to building stronger networks – their tips include:

  1. Focus on the openness and size of your network even if this means widening your scope beyond the narrow industry or market your business is in. Seemingly weak ties can still pay off in the long run; plus, in addition to diversifying your network, you
  2. Build real relationships with people outside of trying to sell yourself, your product, or your business. Networking is less about making sales and more about community and connections.
  3. Invest in relationships with your time, energy, and your own connections. You won’t always get something in return, but if you are honest and trustworthy, and make an effort to put other people in touch with good contacts, people will remember it.
  4. Keep it authentic with the people in your network. Treat everyone like the unique individuals they are, practice gratitude by thanking people when they help you, and personalize your approach to the relationship based on things like shared interests, passions, work history, etc.
  5. Look outside of work too. You never know when you might meet a person who transforms your life for the better. At the gym, when volunteering, in the grocery store . . . stay open-minded and always be developing your network.

Networking is cyclical, as Angelou Ezeilo (quoted above) found out when building the Greening Youth Foundation (GYF), a nonprofit dedicated to engaging underrepresented young people with the environment and green economy careers in conservation. Ezeilo explained this concept when describing how connections play a vital role in growing GYF.

She shared, “Relationships with different colleges and universities have propelled GYF onto a national platform. Once students became aware of our offerings, they spread the news to their peers. Engaging more students gives us the justification to create more opportunities with new partners – great cycle.” When being part of your network feels good and offers something meaningful to a person, they will, in turn, reciprocate with their own connections.

“You don’t get where you’re going any faster by going it alone.”

Emilie Aries, Founder & CEO of Bossed Up

Experience has taught Emilie Aries, speaker, podcaster, author, and CEO of Bossed Up, that going at it on your own and working yourself to the point of burnout is detrimental not just to your health and happiness, but to your career outlook as well. After her “dream job” turned into the pursuit of pleasing and performing for everyone else instead of working towards her own sustainable success, she decided it was time for a change.

Aries found inspiration in the idea of cultivating a community for women where they could network and learn the tips and tools that could help them incorporate more balance, collaboration, and wellbeing into their careers.

Aries went on to create a platform to share their stories and eventually write a book. She has since devoted her life’s work to building a community focused on personal and professional development.

When it comes down to it, networking isn’t just about making contacts that will benefit your business or career trajectory. It’s about genuinely connecting with other people, sharing experiences, and seeking out support as you find your footing in the fast-paced world of business and industry.

Your Business Idea Action Item 4: NETWORK

Want to grow your network? Try these 11 essential ideas:

  1. Attend in-person networking events like conferences, trade shows, social networking meetups, etc.
  2. Join online forums and social groups that share information and connect people in a specific industry or space.
  3. Utilize social platforms for businesses like LinkedIn and engage with your audience on other channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to answer questions, post surveys, and get feedback.
  4. Reach out to people in the same space who you admire and follow. Even touching base via email could open doors you didn’t know existed.
  5. Ask the people you already know to connect you with helpful contacts of theirs that may be good allies or mentors in business.
  6. Organize your own events and programs geared towards broadening your network and getting more eyes and ears to learn about you and your business.
  7. Share your own thought-leader content online (e.g., articles, studies, surveys, etc.) so other people have a way to find you, hear about you, and follow you
  8. Promote your achievements – share them with stakeholders to increase credibility, humbly post them on LinkedIn, include them in your content bylines, on your website, and in emails with your audience/customers.
  9. Ask for testimonials and endorsements from key business contacts with whom you had a positive impact and productive relationship.
  10. Connect with your college alumni network
  11. Get involved. Whether it’s volunteering, serving on a board, participating in a community organization, simply getting involved with causes you care about will immediately connect you with like-minded people who can end up being good resources as your business grows.

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5. Stay the Course and Trust Your Instinct

“All the schooling, reading, and conversations [aspiring entrepreneurs] have will only take them so far – the rest is up to instinct and the ability to stay true to your heart no matter what anyone around you says.”

Hilary Laney, Owner and CEO at Evia Events

If your business strategy revolves solely around your smart ideas, marketable skill sets, and diligent work ethic, you might be missing the most important component of all . . . your instinct! In addition to your passion, your natural intuition can serve as a superpower that helps direct your decisions and guides you through the challenges and roadblocks you may come up against.

Listening to your inner voice and cultivating your raw instinct will play one of the most significant roles in helping your business succeed.

Hilary Laney, the Owner and CEO of Evia Events, a digital event and media distribution company, started her career out at 24 as an Administrative Assistant at her father’s company Tri-Digital. Over time, she worked hard and climbed the ladder to Project Manager and eventually team leader and President before Tri-Digital became Evia Events. In addition to her dedication and non-stop work ethic, Laney attributes much of her success to personal introspection and listening to her instinct. In an interview, she advised new entrepreneurs to “. . . Spend some time soul-searching [your] desire to be absolutely sure it is what they really want. Pursuing this path will challenge anyone in ways they could never imagine or prepare themselves for.”

Remember too, recognizing your instinct and actually trusting it aren’t always the same thing. Developing trust with yourself is a must when running a company, no matter the size. Your confidence in yourself as a leader, teammate, and entrepreneur will equip you with the fortitude you need to make tough decisions and learn crucial lessons.

Jen Kramer, Founder of Jenerosity Marketing, tells us that her greatest business lesson to date stemmed from an encounter with a client who wouldn’t honor a contract for payment. She shared, “What I learned from this experience was to always listen to my inner voice. I felt [the client’s] hesitation in our initial discussions and perceived that this could be a challenging client but, I ignored my gut instinct. I don’t do that any longer.”

Kramer, who has worked with some of the largest, most powerful companies in the world recognizes that instinct is one of our most basic and valuable tools. Best of all, it’s available to everyone. All that is needed to tap into this secret weapon, is a little bit of awareness, trust, and practice.

Your Business Idea Action Item 5: INSTINCT

Your natural instinct is like a built-in navigation system. All you need is the ability to access and listen to it. Try these simple yet effective ideas for mastering your sense of intuition:

Engage in mindfulness-cultivating practices – With meetings, phone calls, notifications ringing on your laptop . . . you might not experience a moment of quiet until your head hits the pillow at the end of the day. In addition to being great stress-relievers, practices like yoga and meditation offer an accessible and impactful way to spend time in a quiet space and practice mindfulness or that state of being more in touch with your body and your mind. The more in sync you are with your thoughts and feelings, the more aware you will be when your gut tells you something.

Sign up for a yoga class at your local gym or stream free online yoga and meditation tutorials online. You can also download meditation apps like Headspace, Calm, or Glo to your mobile device that gently guide you through daily meditations.

Write in a journal – If you are feeling lost and struggling with recognizing (and trusting) your own instinct, consider the mighty pen. Even taking a mere 20 minutes a day to write down your thoughts, goals, and plans can help you give them an order and structure to the frenzy of thoughts in your head and improve your peace of mind to help grow your business.

Some journaling methods, like the Bullet Journal method, are specifically designed to improve focus and bolster productivity by hyper-organizing the various areas of life (personal, client, business, day-to-day, etc.) into different lists, grids, and layouts. Other methods, like business journaling, can encourage you to actively check-in with yourself and your progress each day when it comes to helping move your business forward. BizJournals contributing writer, Bryce Sanders, recommends asking yourself basic questions at the end of each workday, like:

  • What good things happened today?
  • What other things happened today?
  • What did I do to drive (e.g., important business action, such as sales, content, outreach, etc.)?

Keep your business journal in the cloud (on an app like Google Docs or Evernote), or on a device you always have with you, no matter where you travel, so that you never have an excuse not to write in it.

Pay attention to your gut and your energy levels – You know that feeling, a sinking lump in the pit of your stomach? Your body has a magnificent capacity for relaying danger, worry, concern, and fear to you, and it often happens in the form of a feeling in your gut. In fact, scientific studies have shown that like your brain, your gut contains neurotransmitters like epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin that all play a role in maintaining gastrointestinal homeostasis.

Physical sensations, including those in your gut, that manifest during times of excitement, nervousness, and trepidation, can serve as your internal barometer for gauging whether a business decision is a good idea or just doesn’t feel right.

The same goes for your energy levels. You might feel a rush of energy when discussing exciting opportunities with a business partner while feeling drained after wading through a mire of unsolicited advice from a different associate. Tune into your body and make note of when you feel your heartbeat speeding up, your stomach-turning, a headache coming on, tension in your jaw, and so on.

Sleep on it –While acting swiftly on your intuition makes it that much more powerful, when it comes to big complex business decisions, a little extra time and space can make a meaningful difference. Let your mind relax and release yourself from forcing a decision.

Entrepreneurship seems to move at lightning-fast speeds sometimes, but it can be the immediacy of it all that mutes your instinct and leaves you little space to listen to your mind and your body. If you have a big or complex decision to make, try taking 24 hours to allow for some breathing room. Then you can revisit the decision or idea. The extra time can help ensure you’re contemplating with a clear mind and have the opportunity to tune into your intuition. If your gut feeling is the same as before, then this is telling you something.

Takeaway

Here is a convenient summary of the key things to remember from this guide if you want to see noticeable results in the pursuit of your business ideas:

How can you find your next viable business idea?

1) Focus on what you are passionate about;
2) Play to your strengths;
3) Ensure that you are addressing a problem or need;
4) Establish a support network to build your credibility, open doors, and strengthen your idea;
5) Trust and cultivate your instinct

How can you identify what you are passionate about?

1) Remember what you loved as a child;
2) Eliminate money from the equation;
3) Ask your friends for feedback;
4) Read through course catalogs;
5) Identify your professional hero;
6) Think of what you enjoy that you also do well

How can you quickly and effectively identify your true strengths?

1) Ask 5 people that are closest to you (and that you trust) to tell you 3 things that they think you are notably good at;
2) Ask 5 people that know you peripherally to tell 1-2 things that they think you are good at (or have “heard” that you are good at);
3) Identify what comes naturally to you;
4) Tap into your instinct and ask yourself what you “feel” confident about doing;
5) Identify areas of your life where you have excelled or acquired specific skills based on tangible evidence;
6) Recall instances of unsolicited positive feedback or recognition from independent sources, such as employers or co-workers;
7) Note the things that you are experienced in or have a meaningful understanding or knowledge about;
8) Recall back to when you were most in your element, and note what activities you were doing during those times;
9) Take a personality test or assessment to identify what is unique to you;
10) Take an aptitude test to help identify natural abilities

How can you ensure that your business idea is addressing a problem or market need?

1) Think about some of your biggest pet peeves or frustrations. Now think of ways to fix them;
2) Focus on things that you can “make better” and improve instead of starting from scratch and reinventing the wheel;
3) Find out what people are searching for online using tools like Google Trends;
4) Discover popular content online that illustrates a potential window for your business idea to thrive;
5) Leverage social media (e.g., Facebook and Instagram polls) to find out what people want using questionnaires, surveys, focus groups, etc.;
6) Use digital insight tools like Followerwonk and Topsy to find, analyze, and optimize social content based on your big idea;
7) Follow thought-leaders and influencers in the industries you are interested in and see what they are posting about and how much traction (retweets, comments, likes, etc.) their posts get;
8) Look around your community and zero in on local problems that need a solution;
9) Plan for the future by thinking about solving for a problem that doesn’t exist yet, but that is likely to occur

How can you establish a support network and obtain credibility for your business idea(s)?

1) Attend in-person networking events like conferences, trade shows, social networking meetups, etc.;
2) Join online forums and social groups that share information and connect people in a specific industry or space;
3) Utilize social platforms for businesses like LinkedIn and engage with your audience on other channels like Facebook and Twitter;
4) Reach out to people in the same space who you admire and follow;
5) Ask the people you already know to connect you with helpful contacts of theirs that may be good allies or mentors;
6) Organize your own events and programs geared towards broadening your network;
7) Share your own thought-leader content online (e.g., articles, studies, surveys, etc.) so other people have a way to find you;
8) Promote your achievements – humbly post them on LinkedIn, include them in your content bylines, on your website, and in emails;
9) Ask for testimonials and endorsements from key business contacts with whom you had a positive impact;
10) Connect with your college alumni network;
11) Get involved: Volunteer, serve on a board, participate in a community organization…

How can you learn to trust (and strengthen) your instincts?

1) Engage in mindfulness-cultivating practices;
2) Write in a journal;
3) Pay attention to your gut and your energy levels;
4) Release yourself from the situation and take some time