I love enthusiastic entrepreneurs who come up with business ideas. I have patiently listened to many, many different business ideas from entrepreneurs full of hope and energy. Yet many of these great ideas fail to come to fruition. Why is that? I really don’t believe that most are bad ideas; I think that most people don’t know how to properly execute their ideas. Here are my thoughts on how to generate and implement a great business idea.
Write it down
How many times have you been out to dinner, driving, sleeping, or just cruising through life when you have had an idea for something? It could be a new blog post, a new product or service, or a completely new business idea. Pull the car over, get out of bed, or do whatever it takes and write it down on paper, type it into Evernote, or send yourself an email.
Conduct market research. Does anyone want it?
Just because you think it’s a great idea does not mean that the general public will buy it. Do some market research on your new idea. Uncle Google is a great source of information to find out if somebody is already doing it (i.e., the competition). Don’t let the competition stop you, just find a way to differentiate yourself.
Also, just because you have come up with an idea does not mean that people will buy it. Try giving out some free samples or a free trial period to get some candid feedback.
Plan, but not too much
In his book The Lean Startup, Eric Ries preaches about an M.V.P., which stands for minimum viable product. His point is that many businesses fail because they put too much time and effort into making everything perfect. Make something good enough and put it out in the market. Gather feedback and rework it. Your early adopters will help you naturally to perfect your product or service.
Now that you have your M.V.P., it's time to execute on your plan. This is where everybody falters. What if they don’t like it? What if I’m not meant to lead this company? What if I get embarrassed? If any of these are concerns of yours, go work for someone else. Successful entrepreneurs are great at failing and learning from their mistakes. You often have to fail several times before you succeed.
So you launch your product or service and the market doesn’t totally accept it. I know, huge shocker right? Not really. Great entrepreneurs know how to pivot. Take the feedback from your customers, interpret it, and pick a path. Do not sit there and do nothing; pivot and continue.
Stay the course or abort
You now have generated an idea, brought your M.V.P. to market, and made pivots as necessary to market reaction. Now what? It’s go time to support or abort. You need to either support your idea or abort it. It’s a tough and critical moment because entrepreneurs ttend to fall in love with their idea. They become so passionate and infatuated with their idea that they are blind to its imminent failure.
Having a strong team in place—people you believe in—will prove critical when you are faced with a decision to continue or give up on your idea. If your CFO, board, and investors are all telling you to give up, they might be right. It's not that I want you to give up on your idea; it's just that I don't want your passion to blind you.
Want to pursue your business idea? Let’s chat.