How to Brainstorm a New Business


How can startups and product organizations take a kernel of an idea and evolve it into a fleshed out business concept?

In this video I describe one of the processes I use to help teams think through the different elements of a successful business model. The goal is to get your business concept documented with just enough detail to validate with real customers and prospects.

While I like to use the business model canvas for brainstorming a new business, you can achieve much of the same result with Word, sticky notes, or even a large whiteboard. Here are the basic business elements to document:

  • The problem you are solving
  • The customer who has the problem (the more specific you are with the customer segment, the better)
  • The product’s primary features (a minimum product that solves the problem)
  • Why your product is better than others (and why the customer would care)
  • How you’ll reach your customer and sell to them
  • Price and or Revenue model

If you have the opportunity to work with a co-founder, team, or advisors during this process, the collaboration is invaluable. Plan at least four hours for the brainstorming. Give everyone an opportunity to write down and present their thoughts about each element of the business model. Then find common areas for discussion.

If you’re like me, ideas for new businesses or products cross my mind or come up in client conversations nearly every day. A handful are worthy of exploring further, and the video shows one way to get the concepts in a format that you can discuss with real customers.

You can learn more about developing business models in my online course at