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An overview into business ideas by Paul Otote

January 4, 2022

I'm Paul Otote, a 8 year plus product manager that has helped grow businesses. As I'm passionate about business in general, here are some early ideas I've used to help people looking to make a start in business. It starts with the idea. In this segment I interview some business owners to ask them how they get their ideas.


David J Schwartz, in his book, the Magic Of Thinking Big, says that the biggest problem is that most people can’t even think big. Why think small, shot for the moon, if you miss you’ll be amongst the stays. You first need to find out what you’re motivated by, what big ideas you have.

Let me ask you a few questions, the first one is, picture yourself 80 years in the future, standing in a hazy room, filled with mourners, criers, family members and friends. The room you’re in is a church, you’re walking closer to the altar but no one seems to notice you, even you don’t really notice you, it’s like you’re not really there but very present. 

As you get to the altar you realise that it’s you at the altar in a coffin, an old version of you lying in the coffin and the pastor at the front is about to give your eulogy. Now, he is going to be every honest and it’s a sobering thought for you, you suddenly realise that you want him to say…….what? do you want him to say you were a good person whose contributions to the world will live on for generations or a good person who drove a Mercedes, do you want him to say you contributed to what field? Figure firstly what you want this person to say and get motivated by working backwards.

After you figure that out, imagine yourself being in a society where you want for nothing and have time on your hands, in this society, you can do whatever you love, whatever your heart is truly passionate about, in this society you had an option of 3 things to do, what would these 3 things be?

If you have answered this two things, now you can start asking yourself, how can I make a business of my passion. Passion in my opinion is the most noble way to make a business, as you don’t realise where the time goes as you’re working on it but you are so immersed in your idea, your business that you can work on it all day long.

Passion is not always key, a lot of people have made million pound businesses just by chasing opportunity, but it’s good to be happy when you are working, so I’d advise you to find out what you’re passionate about.

Fishing for ideas

Ideation is skill that comes from different places. Napoleon Hill believed that we all have access to infinite intelligence where all innovation comes from. These ideas comes in the form of a light bulb moment or sudden inspiration for action. The first thing you should do with each idea that comes to you is write it down, Hill believed these ideas are gifts that require more thought.

Chinasa George from Organise LTD agrees with Hill. He said that the inspiration for his idea came to him in a kids care home he used to work in and that it’s always good to aim to solve a problem you are familiar with. This train of thought is echoed by many. 

Research conducted at the University of Haifa suggests that “Developing an original and creative idea requires the simultaneous activation of two completely different networks in the brain: the associative -- "spontaneous" -- network alongside the more normative -- "conservative" -- network”. The summary of the study tells us that ideas come from collaboratively, that means from networks in the brain, meaning that, people who tend to associate with different groups, read different information tend to see connections between them and formulate ideas. For the idea “to be original, an additional region in the brain works in collaboration with the associative region -- the administrative control region. A more "conservative" region related to social norms and rules. The researchers also found that the stronger the connection, i.e., the better these regions work together in parallel -- the greater the level of originality of the answer.” Your social norms and connectivity/ collaboration of different ideas come together to formulate ideas.

So one way to get ideas is to start doing things you love, hang around clever people of all backgrounds, look for gaps in the world that need filling, ask yourself the right questions. Meditate, most ideas are thought of at random or even in dreams. 

Write down all the ideas you can then ask yourself what are the most passionate about, what are the ones most feasible, what are the ones that motivate you the most.

By process of elimination, get your ideas down to a small list and conduct your research. As Chinasa says “you never know if your idea is the right one and that's the nature of entrepreneurship. Nonetheless you must have that conviction or some may say faith that your hard work must be rewarded.” Finding the one that you have most faith in and potential reward is your next step.

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