I love a good idea. I also love hearing other people’s good ideas and then watching them take shape.
Throughout my career, I’ve had many people come up to talk to me about their great ideas.
Now, as you probably have guessed, I didn’t necessarily agree with them that their idea was great, or would even change the world.
I admired their passion and self-belief because you’ll need that in spades to make any new business or project a success.
But no amount of passion can fix a poor idea, and I’m afraid that over the years I’ve come across more ideas that will never work than those that will.
This doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to have bad ideas.
We all have bad ideas from time to time.
In fact, you need to go through a whole heap of bad ideas to uncover the good ones, but to pursue an idea that won’t work is foolish, and often expensive!
So how do you know if your idea has legs?
Well, there are a few common-sense tests you can apply to find out.
1. Ask questions
To work out if your idea is any good, you need to interrogate it.
What does this mean?
You need to pick it apart, see what it’s made of and then make a decision about whether to go ahead.
Try asking yourself these questions:
1. Is there a market for your idea?
2. Could your business idea be copied by competitors?
3. Are there already competitors?
4. Is your idea expensive or high-risk?
5. Are you passionate about it?
How you answer these questions will tell you a lot about whether your ideas is worth investigating.
If there’s genuinely no competition for what you’re selling, then you may be in a good position.
If, however, the market is crowded, then it’s going to be a lot tougher to stand out.
2. Do your research
If your answers lead you to believe that you’ve got a great idea on your hands then it’s time to do some research.
Buy business books, research the industry thoroughly, interview those in the industry and conduct market research.
You may conclude after a few months of research that the idea will never be profitable and that’s OK.
Better that than throwing yourself (and your money) head-first at an idea that will drain your energy and finances, and will never get off the ground.
3. Are you ready?
Sometimes great ideas die because they never found the right person to bring them to life.
An idea is only as good as the person driving it and in order to turn your idea into a successful one, you need to have a few important personal traits.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Are you a hard worker and are you prepared to work long hours for little return for months and maybe even years?
2. Are you passionate about your idea?
3. Do you take responsibility for your errors?
4. Do you accept failure as part of learning?
5. Do you like a challenge?
6. Are you comfortable with change and uncertainty?
If you responded with mostly “yes” to these questions, then that’s a sign that you have what it takes to make a great idea come to life.
Because great ideas need great people to execute them.
But let’s be clear, too: great ideas come after many bad ones.
It’s very rare for entrepreneurs to be successful with the first idea that pops into their head.
The trick is to keep going.
Keep brainstorming and thinking and coming up with a lot of bad ideas until — presto! — you find a diamond in the rough.
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