You’ve got an idea for a business, and it seems like a good one. In fact, the more you think about it, the more it seems like a great idea.
But how do you know? What determines whether an idea has real business potential? And what separates the good ideas from the truly great ones? Asking the following questions should bring you closer to an answer – and possibly to a new business.
Is your idea based on personal experience?
Very rarely do people pull new ideas completely out of thin air. Instead, most great business ideas come from the inside – what you know and feel passionate about. For example, Henry Ford honed his chops as a mechanic before he developed the assembly line. Bill Gates began programming at a young age. When passion meets experience, chances are you have a winner.
Does it have a unique selling point?
Great ideas stand out from the crowd by doing something new, different or better. Does your idea solve a problem? Does it save time or money? Does it cut out the middleman, making it easier and/or cheaper to buy the product? It’s hard to have a unique selling point when something has been done already. So first check with Google to make sure your concept hasn’t already been taken.
Is it sustainable?
Business ideas that offer an enduring product tend to produce the most successful ventures. Can your idea potentially generate revenue over the long term? Or does it involve a faddish product that’s likely to be forgotten within a year or two? Imagine what your business will look like in three, five or ten years, and then define the size and scope of the market – if it still exists.
Does it have a reasonable price point?
It’s one thing to solve a problem; it’s another to solve it in a way the market values and will pay for. Don’t assume that others see the same value in your idea as you do. Instead, figure out how they perceive the value and what they would be willing to pay for it. Only then can you decide if you have a viable business.
Can you make it a happen?
According to Jessica Buerger, a community manager for Ideator a technology platform that helps people turn their ideas into businesses, one key factor separates the great ideas from all the rest – implementation. Can you turn your idea, no matter how brilliant, into a living, breathing business? If not, all you have is an idea, and not a very good one at that.
“I’ve heard a lot of good business ideas, but most are just that – ideas,” says Buerger. “No matter how creative, a business idea doesn’t become great until someone executes it well, and that doesn’t always happen on the first try. In fact, it often takes more than one iteration to get the implementation right. When you do, that’s when your good idea becomes a great one.”