As a business founder and entrepreneur, it's likely you'll have an eye for a great idea and during your business lifetime, you will be presented with many, if not hundreds of opportunities. They will come in the form of new products, services, collaborations & customers to name a few. But how do you know which ideas will ignite your business and which will consume time and energy resulting in nothing more than a damp squib?
Here are six ways to help you decide which ideas to pursue and which to throw in the bin, or put aside for another day.
How much investment will it require and do you have or can you get the money? Simple really. If you don't have your own skin in the game, others may be reluctant to invest which may stop the idea before it even got started. Start off low and slow. Can it be tested first in a low key way? We call this minimal viable product or MVP for short. It's a lower cost way of trialling a product in the market without going "all in," therefore holding back on full investment of time, energy and money until you have a greater certainty that it's going to fly. Read my blog "Why having no start up cash can be a good thing."
Is it in line with your current brand? Does it serve your current customer base who already know, like and trust you or will it appeal to a new group of customers? If it is the former, it is likely that you already know what makes them tick and have lines of marketing open to them. If it's a new customer base, then you'll be starting from further back the road. This doesn't make it a no-go, but you need to be prepared to invest more getting your product and profile in front of them. Whomever your new product or service targets, can it be sold at a price they are prepared to pay?
Will it be a distraction from your core business? Ask yourself if you regularly find yourself changing tack. A common attribute of entrepreneurs is that they are great at initial ideas, sometimes getting caught up in the chase of something new whilst not always seeing things through. As a result, ideas often don't get the chance needed to take off. Do some soul searching. Is this "another thing" or is it really something new and innovative that is better than what you are doing already? Remember, you have the same hours in the day as Beyonce, but then, Beyonce went on to achieving amazing things so....
How risky is it? Are you comfortable with that level of risk? Risk comes in all shapes and sizes. Take the time to brainstorm all the risks and rewards with a balance and non biased mind. Consult with others who can give valuable insight and reduce the risks whilst effectively quantifying the results.
Why is it not being done already? Sometimes ideas aren't flying in the world because it's been tried, tested and failed. We can't assume that because something doesn't exist that there is a gap in the market. Where possible, try to find out and learn from others mistakes. Google makes this easier than it used to be. But also, innovative ideas arise every day. Yours could well be with of them.
And the best gauge of all. What does your gut tell you? As an experienced business owner, you'll be finely tuned to what your gut tells you. Listen to it.
And finally, if you have a great idea and for whatever reason, can't or don't pursue it immediately, write it down. Save it for later! You never know, what might not be right, right now, might be just right, later down the line. Writing it down gets it out of your head, allowing you to get back to the job in hand, knowing that your idea is in black and white and ready when you are.
But if, once you've run through the pro's and cons you still see the shimmer of gold - GO FOR IT! Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Good luck!