Chapter 3: Is Your Idea Any Good?
Okay, let’s kick around the concept of a “great business idea.”
If possible, let’s kick it to the curb.
I know this may disappoint some of you, especially after you’ve spent years developing the “big idea.” Don’t worry, it may be helpful later, but when starting out, an idea on paper is, well, a paper idea. However, my very unscientific and proprietary invention, the Good Business Idea Detector, does look at some key data points to assess if there’s an increased chance of success for that sketch on the back of a bar napkin.
In nearly every industry there’s a new idea generated every, oh, I’d say, every second or less. Are some of these ideas better than others?
But only on the cocktail party circuit.
We could discuss the value of a particular business idea for hours, but I rather not. I’ve heard so many they start to sound alike.
The reason for this is that a paper idea is based on unproven value and nothing changes that. There are so many factors that come into play when developing an idea that nobody can tell if it truly is a great idea. (Do you really think you would have invested in the ThighMaster if you had the chance?)
In seeing lots of new businesses make it while others struggle, I do find a few things make even average ideas look as though they had potential.
Here are a few factors that can make your idea a more effective one:
- Do you know more than the average person about the potential market for this product or service?
In hearing years of business pitches I’d estimate that 90% were too heavily product-centric. As much as these businesses thought they were talking and thinking about their customers, they only did so to validate the demand for their product. Don’t do this! Always focus tons of attention on the customer; their behavior may be a good indicator of how they will see your product or service.
Do this: we will discuss better ways to understand your customers down the road, for now, take out a piece of paper or in the notes section of your smart phone, and write down every single thing you know about these people who are going to willingly give you their money.
- How much do you believe in it?
If nobody believes in your idea, it doesn’t matter, if YOU believe in it. How many stories could we insert here about the rejection a musician or architect or product designer faced before making their work a reality?
Do this: write one sentence about why you believe in this idea and include one fact along with all of your gut feelings
- Does your idea explicitly and clearly give more than what the customer already has?
Again this is about adding value. An idea that is creative and great for a target audience may be just that, creative and great, but if it’s not worth the cost, it won’t float.
Do this: make a list of things you pay extra for, laundry detergent, sneakers, and bottled water as examples, and write down why you pay those extra few cents for each. Try to capture the reason in one or two words such as “convenience” or “trust.”
Now do one last thing for today – email me your business idea and I will respond with an assessment. You want me to sign an NDA? No way. Okay next time we discuss the ins and outs of NDAs.
Part 1 – Launching You, Inc.
Part 2 – Get Direction
Jason Veduccio, author of The New American Dreamer: How to Land That Ideal Job in a Nightmare Economy is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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