There are a million books and blog posts on how to get startup and business ideas. Many people think the biggest road block to successful entrepreneurial life is having that one great idea. Once you get even a modicum of success, lots of people will start asking you about how you got an idea like that, and for any tips and tricks on how to “come up” with a similar idea.

The concept is extremely tantalizing and sounds so imminently teachable that it’s a favorite tool of lifestyle business spammers everywhere. 7 Step Guide to Profitable Business Ideas. Join My Webinar on Finding Your Dream Business Plan.

But this is entirely the wrong way to think about it.

First of all you should be coming up with at least five possible business ideas every day. This part should be basically effortless. People trying to sell this part are scamming you.

If you are going to be a successful entrepreneur at all you should innately be looking around you at your life and the lives of others, thinking what are their problems. What are their desires. What do they spend money on. Which of those things are broken or could be done massively better or cheaper or faster. You should be constantly thinking this way. It should annoy people who spend a lot of time around you.

If you’re not doing that, you’re probably not going to be an entrepreneur… sorry. It’s okay. There are lots of other great life paths but this one isn’t for you.

There is one common exception to the rule. You might be hung up on one idea, and that stops the process of thinking of new ideas. It’s cool, you just need to build yourself a better meat grinder.

The secret to coming up with a successful business idea is putting hundreds of ideas through the meat grinder.

The process goes like this. You see a problem. You quickly sketch the outline of what a business that solves that problem might look like. Then you put that business through a brutal meat grinder of questions. You’re actively trying to poke holes in the idea and stress test it. Beat it up. Be actively trying to discard it and move onto the next one. You need to refine the meat grinder, get really good and fast at obliterating ideas.

And then move on to the next one. If it fails even one part of the meat grinder, ditch it. The worst thing you can do is hold on to that one idea, which is actually fatally flawed, and talk about it with your friends for decades never actually getting to the one that you could have actually built and launched.

A note: the meat grinder is not useful if you are looking for genuine moonshot ideas. If you want to build the next Facebook or Tesla by all means ignore this list and chase your dreams. But just know that unless you are currently well-networked in Silicon Valley, the time of getting VC funding for “just and idea” is over.

If however you want to build a profitable, successful business that could replace your job, build a lifestyle, help a lot of people and potentially grow into a big sustainable and impactful business, use the meat grinder.

Here are some of the basic questions in my meat grinder for business ideas.

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Can I make this?

Like literally can I make this. Me, just me. Or failing that, me and a friend with some skills that I know I can conscript for a weekend with guilt and promises of free beer. If the idea is a great one but requires building 3D-printed prototypes. And you don’t have the first clue how to do that. And you don’t know anyone who does. Move on.

If you start getting dozens of ideas that require building 3D-printed prototypes. Then do a deep dive and learn how. Or go to 3D printing Meetups about it and meet someone who knows how and wants to help. Then start over on those ideas.

This is one reason why I’m a huge fan of building a first version software-ish business without writing any code. Everybody has one great idea for an app but because most of them can’t code, they get stuck waiting around for a software developer to fall into their lap. If you can figure out a way to build a crappy version of your “app” without actually coding, you can get past this first hurdle. If it involves facial image recognition algorithms and you can’t even write HTML… Next!

Are people currently spending money on it?