About a year ago, I thought I had a novel idea. It seemed lucrative and promising. After reading several blogs and ebooks, I decided to convert the idea into a business plan.
Initially, writing a business plan was affirming and engaging. I enjoyed defining my product and identifying target customer segments. I ran into problems when I had to determine how I would make money. I learned that would not be able to raise money without committing to an adequate match from my own pocket. To make matters worse, the idea of reporting to investors was not appealing to me. I would be giving up so much power to create value for someone else. I soon decided that I would need to refine my approach.
I am sure many of you have faced the same dilemma. Generating creative options is important but we can’t invest in everything. So, throughout my studies, I compiled a list of questions to consider when I have a new impression:
1) If the idea is expanding on something I already like doing, am I willing to accept that that my interest may decline? For example, if I like working out and then become a trainer, am I able to acknowledge that it may no longer be as fun?
2) Am I willing to put my money/name/time on the line for the idea?
3) Have I considered execution? (Sometimes, execution can be tedious and boring).
4) Is there a market for my idea? Did I test it with potential customers?
I know this approach takes the fun out of our thought process but, on the bright side, it adds structure to our cognitions. Keep in mind that very few companies, projects and/or life changes are born exclusively from a good idea.
How do you evaluate new ideas?