Put your idea to the test before you invest

IMG-20150105-00181 IMG-20141230-00151In these times when two incomes don’t always cover your monthly living expenses, more people with an entrepreneurial flair are starting new products and services and other income-generating activities.

But here’s the thing: you need to know whether there is demand for your product or service before you start investing money in it. It also not advisable to give up your day job, your main source of income, because it’s much harder to get a new product or service off the ground than most people think.

So what you do? Have you tried out something like this before? What have you found to be the best way?

Any sort of start-up needs to prove its business model. In fact, a successful entrepreneur and entrepreneurial coach said that a start-up is really a business in search of a viable, sustainable business model. It may take you one year to establish the success of your start-up or even longer. During this time you would need to perhaps change direction from your original approach as you try to seek demand for your product service in the marketplace. Continue reading “Put your idea to the test before you invest”

Don’t invest in things you don’t understand

The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans
The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw a movie on the weekend called “Third Person” which left me puzzled when I left the theatre. The story, if you can call it, was a mishmash of subplots that didn’t tie in together, the locations jumped around all the time and the characters didn’t seem to have strong motivations.

The question I ask is: how did movie investors finance a film that is so unclear that perhaps they didn’t even understand it? Maybe the screenplay for the initial synopsis was clear but the execution was certainly not. Perhaps they were led to believe that this lack of clarity would be artistically valuable and would be an attraction for theatregoers.

The problem with a movie like this is that it doesn’t have a clear story spine and afterwards makes you wonder what it was all about. Rather give me a straight-forward movielike X-Men “Days of Future Past”, “The Dark Night” or even a classic that’s absolutely clear such as “Chinatown”. No wonder movies like this draw cinema fans and rake up big winnings in the box office. Continue reading “Don’t invest in things you don’t understand”

The spirit of free enterprise

English: The historical centre of Simon's Town
English: The historical centre of Simon’s Town (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My father would go down to the small bay in Simon’s Town, down from the high sand dunes in the palm trees, to the strip of beach where before the early morning sunrise he would cast out his throw net from the shore. On those mornings he was there to net harders and other small fish that he could use for bait when he went out on his ski boat to catch yellowtail off the Bullnose and kabeljou and geelbek off Strandfontein or Cape Point. Continue reading “The spirit of free enterprise”

Make your idea happen (even if you don’t think you’re ready)

IDEA (Photo credit: mlinksva)

What does it take to get your new business idea off the ground? How do you make your new business idea happen? How much is it going to cost?

The challenge about starting anything new – and I’m not talking about inventors here – is that you need to be fairly high up the food chain to make your new business idea into reality. What I mean by this? I mean that you need to have the skills, time, motivation, contacts and money to make your idea happen.

Continue reading “Make your idea happen (even if you don’t think you’re ready)”

Warning: think again before you launch a new product

Good Grips
Good Grips (Photo credit: dominiccampbell)

Very few businesses launch new products. Yes, they will say that their product is “new” but it’s really just the same but different. The problem with products that have never existed before is that it takes deep pockets to develop and promote them and lots of time to educate the consumer or business-to-business customer.

Take the bagless vacuum cleaner that James Dyson came up with in the 1970s. It took him at least two decades to get it manufactured and accepted by the market. What average small business owner can wait that long to make an income from a new product?

Continue reading “Warning: think again before you launch a new product”

How do you choose which ideas to ditch and which ones to develop?

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.
A man and a woman performing a modern dance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sadler’s Wells dance group, which runs three theaters in central London, pursues its innovation in dance through a careful evaluation process.

It scouts for promising dancers, invites them to develop ideas for new productions. The dance company gives them studio space and a small budget to develop an innovative idea and test it.

The next stage: artists, producers and theatre managers evaluate the raw idea in the studio. If they believe it has strong potential, the company gives more money to develop it into a show and it premieres in their smallest theatre. Should the show become a box office success, the company puts it on in their main theatre. This dance company innovation pipeline for selecting new shows is exactly the same as for evaluating ideas for new products and services. Continue reading “How do you choose which ideas to ditch and which ones to develop?”

A feast of crows

Jungle Crow Corvus macrorhynchos scavenging (feeding)) on a dead small shark at the beach in Kumamoto, Japan.
Jungle Crow Corvus macrorhynchos scavenging (feeding)) on a dead small shark at the beach in Kumamoto, Japan.

A couple started a game lodge in Botswana 10 years ago. It required building the place from scratch, financing it, advertising, making improvements. After five years the business was on its feet and now 10 years later with the growth in tourism in the country, business has picked up – in the winter season, the game lodge is booked out solid one and a half months in advance.

An overnight business success?

Hardly. Continue reading “A feast of crows”