Got a good idea? Don’t rush to execute. Instead, stop, drop your excitement and roll out these steps to know if it’s good or meant for the garbage bin.
When you’ve got a new idea it can be incredibly tempting to run with it. It just fills you up with joy and you can’t possibly see how it could ever fail. The thing is, more often than not it does, because of some oversight, because there is already plenty of competition or because the market turns out to be far smaller than you might have thought.
For that reason, you really need to be able to separate the good from the mediocre. The million dollar question is obviously how to do that. That’s what we’re going to look at today. Here are some methods that you can apply to see if your idea actually has a chance or whether it’s better to wait for the next one to come along.
Let it stew
Now, this strategy won’t always work. If your idea is time sensitive or you’re afraid somebody else is very close to executing it, then obviously you don’t want to wait for the execution. When that is not the case, however, it can sometimes be a good strategy to write it down, think it out and then to sit back for a little while.
If you then return to it a few weeks to a month later and the idea is still fantastic, act on it then.
You can even turn this into a full on plan. Simply make it a practice to write down your plans in a notebook and then when you’ve written down whatever plan you’ve thought up this time, leaf back a couple of pages and read something else that you wrote. Does it excite you more than your current plan? Then it’s probably a good idea.
Talk about it
So many people are scared that you’re going to run off with their idea and therefore guard it jealously. The thing is, the having of the plan isn’t the hard part. It’s the execution that’s the hard part. Besides, not everybody is an idea thief. There are people out there that you can trust. So discuss it with them.
If they get just as enthusiastic as you do, then you might very well be onto something good (And you might even have found somebody to do it with). If they don’t, well then you’ll need to take that into account.
Of course, that does not mean that you should just dismiss an idea. Sometimes you just caught somebody at a bad time. Sometimes they’re not the right audience for your product. Still, their reaction can be a good indication of whether your product is a good idea and whether it needs refinement.
Check out the competition
The next thing to do is to find out if there is anybody out there who’s already done anything like what you’re considering, how well it is going and whether you can deliver a product or service that is better than theirs.
This can even serve as a new opportunity to hone your idea and execution as seeing how somebody else carried out an idea can give you valuable insights. Similarly, you can check out the reviews that other people have written about the other company’s execution to find out if a part of the market is not yet satisfied with the product on offer and what features you can introduce that aren’t available yet.
To give you an example, Apple back in the 80s did this by developing computers that weren’t for people who wanted to put them together but instead just wanted something they could plug and play. This made them incredibly useful to students and that was how they were able to compete with other brands.
Could you do something similar with your own brand?
The next stage is where the rubber really hits the road. Market research is often a long drawn out process and can, in fact, be quite expensive if done correctly. This is where you find out how big your market segment would be and how interested they would actually be in your product.
It would also mean understanding where you would market your product, what values you would push and how you would actually engage your audience. You’d probably want to engage in thin slicing this is where you cut your market segment down to a small enough segment that you can actually dominate that market.
The better your market research, the more certain you’ll be if your product would actually sell and how to sell it if you decide to go ahead, so yeah it’s not fun, takes time and can be expensive, but don’t skip this part.
The business plan
The next layer is the business plan. This is where you try to write something that you could approach investors with. Don’t skip this part, as the very act of writing down your plan and working through such ideas as monetization, market segment growth, and running costs can you work out if your idea is fundamentally workable.
So even if you’ve never written one of these before, figure out how it’s done. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either. If you’re not sure where to go, try some writing companies as they can help you a great deal without being too expensive. Here are some writing company reviews to check out.
The next step is to do a trail run. These are easy, nowadays. Just find the right words, put a post upon on social media and see what kind of response you get. Send them all to a page where you explain the idea and get people to sign up for a newsletter.
Then see how much interest you get and how that compares to average click-through and engagement rates. Basically, if your rate is about 2% you might be on to something.
This might sound like a waste of money, but it is anything but. You see, by running these kinds of ads you will not only start building up an email list, but you’ll also have some figures that you can bring in to show investors or partners when it’s time to start looking for funding and help.
What about giving your idea away? Yes, there is a risk that somebody will go ‘hey that’s a good idea’. At the same time, you’re already so much further along the road than they are at this point and have so much more information, that unless you really allow things to slow down, you’ll be to market long before they will be.
What’s more, you’ll have a huge amount of information that they still need to gather.
Done all of that and gotten positive results all along the way? Well, then it’s time to execute as you can now be sure that your idea wasn’t just some sort of brain fart, but actually, something that can be executed successfully.
Yes, that is a lot of work, but trust me if you don’t take these steps then there is a damned good chance that after six months or a year of investing all your effort and time you’ll come to realize that you’ve been going about this all wrong, that you’ve made some kind of mistake or that your idea should never have been executed in the first place.
And that’s far more expensive than running through these steps even a dozen times.