The Journey of a
Stumbled upon a compelling business idea? The hard work actually starts now! There are many stages of hard grind before an idea actually becomes a bankable, business idea, and at each stage of the journey, there are many a slip between the cup and the lip. More than half of the small businesses who tried to build a business based on an idea have bit the dust at any point in time. Here are the things to keep in mind to ensure your idea doesn’t become a part of this statistic. Also, before going to the details, check out this infographic from us for a nutshell of what it is like traversing a business idea:
Evaluate the Feasibility
An of the Idea is not a business proposition but only a hobby if it is not scalable, marketable and sustainable. The first step when struck with an idea is to evaluate its feasibility or understand where the idea leads.
The moot point is whether the idea actually solves a problem, or is the idea a solution in search of a problem? A viable approach identifies a pressing pain-point upfront and thinks of ways to solve such a problem. For instance, while rolling out a mobile app is basically a good idea, trying to identify situations to fit an app makes it a solution in search of a problem. On the other hand, has identified a need to track the location of small objects such as keys or reading glasses, and then brainstorming an idea, such as a solution based on geotagging and mobile apps, works as a viable business proposition. More often than not, the initial idea requires much brainstorming and whetting. Only ideas which survive an inquisition against cold, hard practical facts, to demonstrate it can solve a clear and pressing problem or satiate a compelling need becomes a sound and bankable business idea.
For instance, a solution to track keys may be workable, but a solution to track humans may be reinventing the wheel, considering people with smartphones can easily be tracked even with existing solutions. Even a solution to track keys may be reinventing the wheel if done using a SIM card enabled keychain. A successful business idea may need to leverage IoT or some other emerging technology to offer a simpler, easier and cost-effective solution to users.
Even when the idea is sound and workable, visualization is one thing and translating the ideas into action quite another. Visions of being able to solve the problem remain a vision unless one has the technical expertise to actually do the needful. For instance, in the example quoted of tracking keys and reading glasses above, one may require the technical expertise to plot objects in a map with a high level of accuracy, within a few meters inside a room, which normal GPS may not deliver.
Structure the Business Goals
After establishing clarity of what is to be achieved and work on the “how.” Formulate a blueprint of how the idea progresses into a definite product.
Structure the business goals in a clear, measurable, and workable manner. Identify a group of people who would benefit from the idea, and capture user stories from them. Use the user stories and other accumulated insights to identify the exact gap between the actual state and the desired state, and structure the business plan in a way it is able to close the gap.
Success depends on utilizing the right channel to reach the right target groups. For instance, while a scheduling app delivered on smartphones may be a good idea, rolling out such a smartphone based scheduling app for a group of remote workers in a desert location, where there is no reliable internet connectivity requires co-opting plans for full-time Internet connectivity at the facility.
Any new idea invariably includes innovation. An idea is essentially a new way to solve a problem. Without innovation to power the idea, there would be no departure from the existing paradigms, and the idea would essentially be tinkering with the existing solution, or “old bytes in a new code”.
“The stars will never align, and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”
Author – The Four Hour Work Week
Just Do It
A product or solution which packs in every imaginable feature possible is rarely successful. A truly, successful solution offers exactly what the targeted users require, nothing more and nothing less.
Identify the core or basic features as an essential requirement of the product. Above such core requirements, classify the list of possible features as need-to-have and good-to-have. It may be worthwhile to pack in such good-to-have features as optional add-ons to a core basic product, to keep cost low.
Getting everything right the first time round happens only by fluke. There is no shortcut yet to the quintessential trial-and-error method. Start with an alpha release and gather feedback. The best well-wisher of any new product is its most ardent critic. Criticisms of the alpha release constitute a good basis to enhance and reposition the product. Take cognizance of all the feedback and sort it out for the beta release. Of course, it helps if the feedback is given by the targeted users of the product! The cycle invariably continues, with corresponding sprints and releases made as extensions to the beta release, until a perfect solution is found. The official full-blown launch follows when everything is in place.
While trying to translate ideas into workable business solutions, it pays to rely on a competent tech partner conversant with emerging technologies such as intelligent apps and analytics, conversational systems, the blockchain, IoT, and more, and who has demonstrated a flair for successfully facilitating product dreams.