Every successful business starts with a great idea. Some ideas were simple, while others proved to be revolutionary. Industry titans like Facebook and Google along with startups like Fetchr and Patreon all started out as an idea.
But a brilliant idea is more than just something you’re passionate about. A successful business is all about channeling a brilliant idea into opportunities. Once the avenues are discovered to create a viable product or service that creates or adds value to its end user or buyer, then you have a business.
Not every idea becomes a successful venture.
Before you set on the path of entrepreneurship it’s important understand the criteria necessary to make a brilliant idea into a thriving business. Here are five ways to know when to take that innovate leap with your brilliant idea.
1. Does your idea solve a problem?
From industry titans to startups, every great company does one thing exceptionally well; solve problems that matter. Google exists as a tool to organize “the world’s organization.” Facebook serves to bring people around the world closer together. Uber simply wants to make “transportation as reliable as running water.”
Great ideas solve problems.
The critical path to a successful business is understanding what problem requires a solution. Your idea should provide solutions to making life more convenient or efficient. Or it should build something that solves your own problems. Chances are, there are future consumers seeking the same solutions to similar problems.
2. Conduct competitive research
Between the scribbled notes on a cocktail napkin and applying for your trading license, your idea needs to go through the analysis process.
Every good idea is subject to idea hacks. Conducting competitive research and understanding where your competitors stand is crucial for any business. With the wealth of data available via the Internet, studying your industry will give you insight on how you can offer your product or service in a unique way.
Conducting competitive assessments allows you to understand what your competitors are doing. This allows you to beat them at their own game. Knowing what your competitor’s market share is will allow you to carve out a niche space for your business venture. Conduct a SWOT analysis of your ideas to analyze strengths and weaknesses.
3. Invest in the right market
No matter how brilliant your idea is, if it’s situated in an overly saturated market, it will fail. It’s important to garner business ideas out of your strengths and weaknesses. But don’t always venture into the tried and true.
Rather, seek out your niche in proven categories. Successful entrepreneurs are individuals who think beyond the box. In fact, some enterprising individuals have built their market share around the unusual.
Vitality Air, a Canadian firm, sells cans of air. The air is sourced from the Rocky mountains and this novel business enterprise is seeing high demand in China, where urban air pollution is a serious problem. It’s a rather niche market, but Vitality Air understood that an environmental problem required solving and provided a successful enterprising solution.
While you may not venture into the world of the unusual, you can still ensure your business idea is invested in the right market. Seek out solid information from your potential customer base. Conduct surveys, talk to friends and family, seek out people who want to poke holes in your idea, create focus groups. By performing due diligence, you can map out where there is high demand and limited competition.
4. Check your idea’s sustainability
An idea is only as good as its sustainable growth.
A business’ sustainable growth is dependent on certain factors. Is it an advantageous product or services due to current fads or trends? How unique is the business model? Can it be copied with subtle improvements? And more importantly, has someone else thought of it before you?
These types of questions must be answered when testing the entrepreneurial waters. This will ensure you prevent future failures while creating a product or service that meets market demands.
Your idea must also be scalable to continue yielding returns. Your idea must be able to adapt to allow your business to expand into other markets to make money. If it can only thrive in its current form, it can be a challenging business model to scale when demand plunges.
5. Plan around timing
Until a business idea has conducted competitive research and gone through the planning processes, it requires no commitment.
The best time to transform your idea into a business depends on your readiness to become an entrepreneur. There is no age limit to becoming an entrepreneur, nor is there a time frame for success. Rather, what’s important in regards to a successful venture is your devotion to it. That’s not to say that an idea can’t be successful as a part-time start up. Rather, much like anything else, a business will flourish with attention and focus.
With that being said, there will be certain factors that will play a role in determining if the timing is right. Your financial situation, the family dynamic, and your personality will all contribute to determining the right time to start a business.
For budding entrepreneurs, taking that first step is a mighty leap. It’s a challenge to move to the direction of the unknown. The exact timing will never come. Entrepreneurship will always involve risk and you’ll never be comfortable with your experience or capital. The chance to fail will always be there. But so will the chance to succeed.
In a speech given to the Pepperdine School of Business, Eli Broad distilled all his years of knowledge about business in one sentence: “Ideas – more than money – are the real currency for success.”
In today’s competitive global climate, your brilliant idea can help you weather whatever storms stand in the way of your entrepreneurial goals. But a brilliant idea is only the start of your business venture. Successful ventures require more than just an idea.
The emergence of a startup culture means ideas will continue to flourish. What’s important is understanding which of your many ideas are worth pursuing. Brilliant ideas must be transformed into the phases of business development. The five key points listed above define the necessary ingredients to turn your brilliant idea into a business.
Serial Entrepreneur and Business Strategist Henri Hazougi is the managing Director/Partner of Business Setup Consultants DMCC. The company offers a broad range of expertise in corporate services assisting companies and entrepreneurs in setting up and expanding their business in the UAE.
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