What Will Your Business Be

Coming Up With a Good Idea

After you’ve determined you are ready to embark upon a new entrepreneurial journey, the next step is coming up with an idea for your new business. The idea for your business venture can come from anywhere; a sudden thought, a solution to problem that you encounter in your daily life, or an opportunity that you come across that you want to turn into a business.

As an example, the inventor of Velcro came up with the idea when he was taking his dog for a walk, and noticed that there were always annoying burrs stuck to the dog’s fur. From that, he developed the idea of Velcro—a concept that is widely used today. Inspiration can be taken from anywhere, so keep an open mind.

The best ideas usually come from innovative thinkers. If you are able to look into the future and create a need for consumers that they don’t know they need yet, not only will you be the first player in that industry, but also you will have huge demand for you product or service. This is innovation that includes inventions like the email friendly BlackBerry.

Your new venture idea doesn’t have to be as complicated as reinventing the wheel, it just has to satisfy these three essential criteria:

  1. The idea must create or add value for the customer. Whether this is a new product that meets a need that has not yet been met, or solves a problem that needs solving, the idea must be providing a unique benefit. The bottom line is that the customer must be willing to pay for this product or service, and if they don’t see value in it, you won’t succeed . Don’t think, “sell what you make”, think, “Make what you CAN sell”.
  2. Your business must have some sort of sustainable competitive advantage that sets you apart from your competitors. Can you make the product faster or cheaper? Can you make the product better? You should also think about protecting your idea legally. If it is possible to get a patent for your product or service, it would be wise to do so. This ensures that you are the only firm to use this idea, and if others (including large companies) want to use it, they have to pay you.
  3. Your idea must be marketable and financially viable. Is the demand enough to generate the profit you require? Is there a lot of competition in this industry? How strong are your competitors? Is the market growing, shrinking, or fragmented?

The best thing you can do at this stage is research. Look around for similar products. Talk to people about your idea, see if they would pay for it, and how much they would value it.  This way you can get a feeling for your position in the market, or if there is one at all. Your first idea might not be your best—it may take a few tries before you find an idea that has enough potential to pursue.