Developing a business idea should be fun and freeing as it is the first step of the startup process. Execution of your idea separates the wheat from the chaff and it is where most people fail. That said, coming up with the right idea will improve your odds of successful execution. Following are the seven steps for developing the new business idea: Step 1: Decide what is your primary objective or motivation Step 2 - Frame the problem Step 3 - Generate ideas Step 4 - Evaluate ideas and narrow down Step 5 - Identify three top ideas Step 6 - Pick the best idea and get started Step 7 - Get your idea validated by an expert Three primary paths to a new business idea 1. The spontaneous idea: It hits you when you’re in the shower, driving in your car, talking with friends, or doodling during a meeting. The dots suddenly connect in a new way and you have an epiphany...your sudden insight is surprising and exciting, and the value of this new idea seems obvious. You can’t believe nobody else has thought of it before. 2. The insider idea: Maybe you’ve spent the last 7 years building enterprise software for airlines and you’ve noticed some voids in the product stack or issues with how your company brings it to market. You point these deficiencies out to your bosses, but there are other company priorities and nothing changes. Or, say your company pays vendors a lot of money to do some work, but nobody ever seems happy with the results....and you see a way to do it better for less. Or, maybe you witnessed your company kill an amazing new product or feature not because testing didn’t show user interest, but for political or organizational reasons. 3. The deliberate idea: In this case, you aren’t starting with a business idea. Instead, you’re starting with a desire to create a new business and become an entrepreneur. You may be ready to quit your job and go for it whole-hog, or just start it on the side of your desk...but you’re looking for the right business idea to pursue (which could be a business related to your work environment or industry, as in #2).