A London cabbie driver was given two tickets to a West End show. He found out a bit about the show and realised it wasn’t for him. He thought that someone else might enjoy the show much more than he would so he left the two tickets on the back seat of his taxi. At the end of his working day, he took a look at his back seat to see if the tickets were gone. What he found was two tickets for the same show placed together with the ones that he had left on his back seat.
This may be another tall story but it highlights the need to come up with things that people really want. A West End show is much a product or entertainment solution as any product you may buy from your local supermarket or from an online retail store.
New business ideas for a start-up or boot-strapped business need to count. A bad idea that is the basis for a new product or service simply isn’t going to make money. But what’s a bad idea? Let’s rather flip that into a more positive statement: what makes a good idea?
1 Give people what they want. This is a tricky one. People may say they want a new product but will they really vote with their wallets? A more realistic approach is to find out what similar solutions people are already buying. If people want an alternative to the sugar-loaded drinks available and you can provide a healthy alternative, you may have a starter.
2 An idea that you have developed. It’s unlikely that the first concept or notion that comes to you is a fully realised master plan for a new business idea. New ideas need to be worked on and developed before you get to the prototype stage.
3 It leaves open opportunity for future growth. A simple example: a tub of mineral salts from the Dead Sea may find its primary market being health and beauty care but when this market reaches saturation other markets such as people with skin allergies may provide room for expansion.
4 The new business idea is different but not too different. An old rule of thumb for investors is that you don’t invest in anything that’s more than 15% different from what’s already available on the market. This may be conservative but new ventures are high risk. A start-up owner won’t have the money to fund an education campaign for a brand new product or service that nobody knows.
5 You are passionate about your business idea. A realistic, well thought through and pragmatic passion is the rocket fuel that propels the development, testing and launch of your business idea. If you can’t give it your all, you won’t get out of the starting block.
When your business idea is in the incubation stage you have a golden opportunity to shape it into something that potential customers may need, want or desire. Skip this important phase and you may end up like the London cabbie driver with tickets for a product that you can’t even give away.