We all have ideas. Good ones, bad ones, occasionally great ones. Sometimes, they come to us throughout the bright day, other times it’s in the deep, dark night of inspired insomnia that an infectious idea pops into our head. We lie there, as our mind mutters and mulls over it, playing out possible scenarios and opportunities. Some of us simply roll over and go back to sleep, while for others, this is the start of something great.
You see, a good idea is infectious and contagious. Once it takes root in the mind, it grows and spreads. So, if you have an idea that you can’t seem to get out of your mind then maybe it’s a sign to take it further… you might just be onto something!
The conception of an idea is one of the most difficult stages however, it’s still a long way to go from here before a good business idea can manifest into something real. So, what exactly is required to take a seemingly abstract concept, something formed only in your neurotransmitters and fleshy neurones, and turn it into a successful, tangible business model and product?
1) Take yourself seriously
Often when we come up with a great idea, we don’t take ourselves seriously. We may think that our idea is great but, we are somehow infected and plagued by self-doubt which can cause a lack of commitment (even subconsciously) on our part. There’s a fine line between hobby and business start-up and it’s important that you don’t mix the two and treat your valuable idea like a part-time hobby. We need to take ourselves seriously, if we don’t, no one else will. Apply the same enthusiasm as a hobby but, commit to building a full-scale business and give yourself deadlines, goals and objectives.
2) Plan to scale
Set yourself up to grow. Even if your ‘team’ is currently yourself, the pet cat, and a bored god fish on your desk, you should plan to scale your business and employ proper tools and software from day one. For example, do you have a CRM? How do you track sales leads? How do you plan to convert website traffic into customers? Build a proper business plan that takes everything into account.
3) Start narrow, not broad
Having your own idea is exciting. Coming up with something you’re passionate about is a great feeling. However, sometimes we can get carried away in the emotion of it all. We may have lots of great ideas, some even wonderful ideas, however, it’s important to make sure we stay on task. The easiest way to do that is to start narrow and focus on one thing, get that right first before expanding.
4) Research the competition
You may have thought that your idea was a stroke of genius lying awake at 3 AM, however, you need to accept the reality that you may not be the only person on this earth with that idea. Therefore, it’s important to research the competition and make sure that your idea is a truly unique one worth pursuing. You may find, during the research, that there are already folks doing the same or a similar thing. They might have fancy name badges and uniforms. If that’s the case, you have 3 choices: compete, withdraw, or find a point of difference. If you think you can do a better job than the competition, then, by all means, go ahead and push on with your idea. If after research, you realise that your brilliant idea is not so unique after all then there’s nothing wrong with going back to the drawing board (or bed). Finally, if there is competition out there it may just mean that you need to find your own unique point of difference. How is your product special and unique to the market? How can you make it more specialised and desirable?
5) Have fun
Working on your own business idea should be an extremely rewarding experience, especially if you’ve been unsatisfied ‘working for the man’ for many years. So, take the time to enjoy this rewarding experience and make sure it’s still fun. If it becomes over-stressful at some points, then it may just be turning toxic. So, make sure you find the balance between passion, taking yourself seriously, and having fun along the way.
The conception of a great idea is the most difficult part. If you have a great idea, don’t sit on it and waste the opportunity, take it forward. However, realise that it’s still a long way from conception of a business idea to manifesting your dreams into reality. Following these 5 steps will increase your chances of success and ensure that, all those nights lying awake at 3am, weren’t for nothing. Good luck!