Praise for the waste paper basket

PainA guy I know came to me the other day with what he thought was a brilliant idea. Before talking about this idea, I must give you total assurance that all ideas discussed with me remain strictly confidential. In this case the idea was so general that it has no proprietary value. It came out of a general discussion not a private consultation. It is also an idea in the public domain that would only become proprietary if a specific piece of software, system or offering was developed.

The idea was the same that hundreds if not thousands of consultants are peddling to both commercial and residential buildings. The problem with such a broad idea is that it will take many hours of work before it can reach something that is commercially viable. The original form of the idea needs to go through several iterations before it can be shaped into something worthwhile.

One of the first things to ask is who in your target market is feeling the pain. The incentive to buy is with the person with the most pain. Usually the person with the most pain is paying for a costly but not that effective solution.

The problem with shaping an idea is making your target market equal to the total market. The total market for private residential rental accommodation is huge, for instance. You have to think about segmenting the market and even boring down to a specific niche. A much more fruitful exercise would be to find out how many segments there are in the private residential rental market – this may lead you to exploring a possible segment that you could match your idea with.

Let’s take bed and breakfasts, for example. A bed and breakfast owner may have more incentive to implement solutions when their accommodation is situated in areas that attract the more eco-conscious local and international visitors. The bed-and-breakfast owner may still not pass on the potential cost savings to guests but they may be incentivised to promote their bed and breakfasts as being eco-friendly.

Many tools and techniques are available to help you take your idea and turn it into a viable product or service. But it requires smart business thinking and a strong focus on your value proposition and your potential customer target.

For more information on idea generation, evaluation, development and implementation, subscribe to Idea Accelerator.

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