How Do You Know If Your Idea Is A Good One?
Coming up with a business idea is easy. Coming up with a good business idea is the real challenge. How can you tell if your idea for a business is worth pursuing? You need to do your homework to determine whether and how you translate your idea into a viable business. Here are a few questions to help you determine whether your great idea is worth moving forward on.
Does It Solve a Problem?
If there is a problem that affects you, your friends, family, co-workers, etc., then the chances are high that it affects many people you don't know as well. If you see a problem others don’t see and you know the solution, you just may have a great idea. You're better poised for success if your business improves on what's already out there – a novel response to a recognized need.
Is Anyone Else Doing It?
It might seem obvious, but if no one else is doing what your business proposes to do, you could have a good idea. A particularly good indicator is one question people keep asking once they hear about a great business idea — “Why does it not exist yet?”
Is It Easy to Understand? Does everyone “get it” right away — or not. When you create that which does not exist you can’t fault people for not seeing. In fact, when they look and don’t find, it’s an opportunity for your first pitch. How did they respond? Were you able to communicate the value and did the light bulb eventually go off? Either they’ve heard it all before, or perhaps you’ve won your first customer.
Did You Get Enough Feedback?
Feedback from one person is not particularly useful, but feedback from lots of people is invaluable. Don’t confine yourself to industry experts and trusted advisors; talk to people who don’t know anything about the industry as well. Sometimes the feedback from the least informed (which is also usually the least biased) person is the most useful. When discussing your idea with these people, don’t just listen to their words; pay attention to their tone and body language. Sometimes what people say isn’t as important as how they react.
Can You Defend It to People Who Hate It?
Your friends and family may love your idea, but putting it in front of people who want to poke holes in the concept you believe in will help you make it stronger.
Is There a Large Enough Market Niche For It?
Without a large enough market, your idea may never get off the ground. You need to determine if a niche market actually exists for your idea. How can you tell if a niche market is, in fact, a market? It's a mix of research, gut instinct, and personal preference: overall industry trends, the amount of investment activity that's taken place in the space recently, and whether you’ve heard people talking about it.
Will People Pay for It?
An idea is just an idea until you have a paying customer attached to it. Anyone can discredit a simple idea, but no one can discredit paying customers. It's paying customers who validate an idea and determine which ones have the greatest chance for success.
Have You Tested It?
Once you’ve got a minimum viable product out there it’s time to test it out! Get real people using it and use it yourself. Does it work? Can it be improved? How? Testing your idea and answering these big questions will help you decide if your idea is worth pursuing.
Do You Trust Your Gut…and Your Head?
Do I believe in this? Is there passion there? One of the keys with any new idea is really to be honest with yourself. If you have a flash of inspiration followed by a handful of nagging doubts, it’s easy to set them aside because they don’t fit with the version of events you prefer. You need to be honest, though. Conviction is important, but blind conviction is dangerous. Once you've gathered data, you need to analyze that data, and the analyzing process has to be free of emotion.
Are You Willing to Suffer For It?
You know an idea is worth pursuing if you're willing to give up years of your life for it. To spend your time on an idea you don't love or you don't feel optimistic about is just plain foolish. Don't go after a dream unless you are willing to put in the late nights, sacrifice your weekends and chase that dream to fruition.
How Passionate Is the Response to Your Idea?
Do people get excited when you tell them about your idea? Passion is a great predictor of success so start assessing it early on to get a good idea of whether your idea is worth pursuing and how the level of passion among users is changing over time.