How to search and evaluate business ideas
The world around us is the most reliable source of business ideas. People themselves will tell a budding entrepreneur where to put the effort. We, of course, agree with businessmen who are confident that business ideas lie under their feet. You just need to learn to see them, "fill your hand" and "sketch your eye." Almost anything can become a new business - the main thing is that your proposal either meets the existing demand, or be able to create a new one.
These are fundamentally different approaches - let's call them “traditional” and “innovative”.
As part of the traditional approach to finding an idea, we will assume that the main value is the ease of launching a project. This is a great value, since in most cases, the starting conditions and resources of a private entrepreneur are extremely limited.
Most small businesses are either manufacturing, or trade, or services. In other words, an entrepreneur has to either produce something, or sell something, or do something. Formulate three main questions - what can I produce, what can I sell, what can I do. Write down the answer options in three columns, exclude the objectionable ones, highlight those that you like more.
Try to develop each of the ideas. At the same time, I prefer to draw a mindmap, and in Russian - "intellectual map". Roughly speaking, this is a block diagram in which each cell expands due to the associations it causes. Draw a map by hand, on paper - this will allow you to develop it faster, not lagging behind thoughts and not slowing down the associative array.
Write down everything you know how to do and write down associations. Do you know how to drive a car? Businesses can be taxi, delivery, mobile advertising, cargo escort, sales representative services, and so on. While working in a taxi, you can simply connect to Uber, work long distance, carry small loads, offer zootaxi or taxi services with child seats, take people only to the airport or, for example, meet them from the hospital.
Each of the ideas can be developed further and further - you can branch your mind map for months, including after you have already launched. New ideas are the best fuel for business and a guarantee of dynamic business development.
While developing your mindmap, try not to think - this is the only way to move from the efforts of memory to creation. Let ideas be raw or stupid - it's more important that they come up at all. It is at this moment that the magic begins and the opportunity arises to move to an innovative approach.
An innovative approach
With the approach that we called innovative, our task is to come up with a new service or product, to offer the market something that has not been offered before. There may be no demand for an innovative product or service, but often creating demand is simply a matter of marketing and timing. The main thing is that potential buyers have a need for what we offer.
Most aspiring entrepreneurs are obsessed with finding fresh, original, creative business ideas. And many people working "for an uncle" sometimes dream of their own business, but do nothing just because they do not consider themselves capable of coming up with a worthwhile plan to create their own company.
I judge by myself and my friends. Most people far from entrepreneurship firmly believe that an honest profitable business can only be built on a cool idea that no one else has thought of. In fact, of course, this is not the case.
Why a creative idea for business is not the main thing
It's very simple. Here are just a few arguments:
- Every day, quite mediocre, but profitable enterprises are created in the world. People set up ad agencies, open stores and gas stations, making well-earned profits just as well as out-and-out startups.
- The new always makes its way with great difficulty. It is much easier to take out a loan or attract investments for a traditional company at the initial stages than for a project created by a special creative.
- Investors, that is, people with big tight wallets, almost never give money for a plan or presentation. They give them primarily to specific people - energetic, competent, burning enthusiasm to implement their project.
- Very often, it is not the first start-up (founded by the authors of the concept) that "shoots", but the second (founded by professionals who saw a healthy grain in a failed business).
Personally, my conviction about the relatively low value of ideas developed after one simple business game. It was a very valuable experience.
At first, those present at the meeting jotted down a few dozen words (completely random) on a flipchart. Then, splitting into teams, they again randomly chose a couple of words. After that, the presenter suggested coming up with a concept for a new project, which is based on these two words. Come up in five minutes.
So what? During these five minutes, each team really came up with some good, truly original ideas. That's it - quickly and without any difficulty, in the game mode.
Ways to find ideas
By the way, the above "two-word startup" method can be used to find real ideas. Especially if you slightly modernize it - take in one of the words the name of a trend that is starting now or an object that is important to your target audience or to you personally. Second, you can take anything.