Thinking about your Business Idea
- November 25, 2018
It was a rainy morning and my waking thoughts were about how to reach more people with my business training. I saw a handful of people ‘get it’ and take their ideas forward in a planned and deliberate manner. How could I reach more people especially Africans who couldn’t find this information so easily? My mind was already ticking over with new ideas and courses I could design…and I hadn’t even had my morning coffee!
People think that coming up with a new business idea is the most difficult thing in the world. In fact it’s not. New ideas are all around us. The most difficult thing is to figure out if your idea is any good! And by ‘any good’ I mean does it have real and solid possibility? Does it have potential to become a viable business? Could you pay the bills and make a profit if you took action on your business idea?
See there are lots of ideas around. Some are a bit wild or different and it’s clear there would be some risk involved to make them happen. Other ideas are a bit too ordinary with the biggest risk that it has been done the same average way for far too long.
My starting point is a belief that nothing happens by accident. Ideas are inspired and they usually perfectly match your skills, experience and personality. Ideas are often divinely inspired. If you think that is an extreme thought, think about that idea that keeps coming back to you. Yes, the idea that catches you in your waking moments as you start your day. You have been tossing that idea around in different shapes for a long time.
I believe the fact that the same idea keeps inspiring and urging you forward is a big hint and one you shouldn’t ignore!
Ideas are not accidental, random thoughts.
Ideas usually come to you for a reason. Imagine that you have been chosen to be the one to take your idea into action. Probably you have the skills (technical capacity, natural ability and aptitude), experience (training, work experience or hobby interests) and personality (creativity, tenacity, patience and resilience), that are needed to make business ideas happen.
Is there an idea in your mind that you just can’t forget or walk away from? Is there a business idea that makes you too excited to sleep, or is the first thing on your mind every morning? How would your world look if you put it into action?
I don’t think a radical and amazing idea will come to you while you’re sitting in your comfort zone, but it might, and if it does, the danger is that you will be tempted to push it aside and keep watching DSTV. In contrast, it might not be smart to chase a radical idea and step right out of the box to make it happen, just because you suddenly have the idea.
The challenge for us as creative and courageous entrepreneurs is to understand the mix between staying comfortable and being daring.
On one hand you might put energy, effort and money into a business idea that is doomed to fail, or on the other hand, you might miss out if you don’t out energy, effort or money into an idea that has potential.
How do you figure out the balance? How can you know if your business idea is worth pursuing, or not?
There are no easy answers to this question, but there is a process.
You need to think like a scientist who is testing his or her theory. You wouldn’t want to sink all your resources into creating the newest cure for malaria and be told by your friends that “it works” when they were really just being nice to you because they couldn’t tell you that your medicine didn’t cure anything. No. You would want to see tests, factual responses and results before you invested too much.
Every idea should be tested – validated – by real people. Yes, that means conversations with real people. You need to find people who might be similar to those who would be interested in the product or service you would be offering. Real people are more likely to tell you what they really think than your mama, papa, if you get what I mean.
It’s not easy but testing your idea with real people and documenting the results is the best way for you to test your idea. Like a scientist, with the facts and outcomes of your ‘tests’ or conversations with real people, you will be able to make an informed guess and decision about the potential of your idea. As we all know, nothing is guaranteed in this life, but doing your research and idea validation will help you judge for yourself whether your idea has real and solid potential to become a viable and profitable business.
Finally, ideas are all around us. Not all ideas must be put into action immediately today and you are not obliged to act upon every idea that crosses your mind.
However, some ideas are not random. There are some ideas that keep you awake in the evening. If I hadn’t acted upon my waking thoughts that and several other rainy mornings, I wouldn’t be writing these words today.
So, the ideas that match your skills, experience and personality are the ideas that you should pay attention to. Those are the ideas you should test and validate. Those are the business ideas that you should consider taking from idea to action. It is worth thinking about!
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