Many people have good ideas, but not everyone becomes an entrepreneur.
I’m often asked if there is a good way to work out whether your idea is a good one, so I’ve put together a quick guide for those wondering if they should make the plunge.
1.Evaluate your idea
OK, you have an idea. Now what? Good business ideas are a dime a dozen, and they are not all worth pursuing.
Ask yourself: Have I done due diligence necessary to take my idea to the next level? Does my idea solve a problem? Meet a need? Touch a nerve? Has it been done before?
Write down your answers, then critique them as thoroughly as you can. The best ideas are those that can withstand heavy critical analysis. If you can’t do this alone-which is almost always the case- then take your idea to someone you trust and ask for their perspective.
2. Plan for the future
Let’s assume that you have come up with an amazing new product or service that meets all the criteria outlined above. Good for you. Now it’s time to plan.
Ask yourself: What do I need to do to make this idea a reality? Have I developed a business plan? What are my capital needs? How far away am I from having a working prototype? Have I looked for potential partners and investors? What’s my distribution strategy?
At this point, you may want to look for a mentor if you don’t have one already — a seasoned business veteran who can push you in the right direction, point out potential pitfalls and help you to navigate around them. I still rely heavily on others’ advice, though I’ve been an entrepreneur for 20 years.
3. Weigh the risks
You had an idea, and now you have a plan. Great. Let’s talk about you now.
If you are feeling stuck and uncertain on your next steps, ask yourself: Would I rather keep paying my bills or am I ready to live on my savings for a while? Is maintaining my current lifestyle more important than having a fresh start in life?
You see, entrepreneurship is all about taking risks — potentially disruptive and frightening life risks. If your family depends on your income, it is your responsibility to think things through very carefully.
If your answer is still a resounding and emphatic “Yes” after you have weighed all the risks, then you are ready to leap.
4. Take the plunge
If you’re still with me at this point, the next stage should be a simple one: Take the plunge and give it a go. You can start small — but make sure you think big. Many businesses start off in people’s spare time as a side project while they are being developed.
5. Don’t stop believing
The key to success is unwavering commitment and focus. You will make mistakes as you launch your product or service — a ton of them. But keep your eye on the prize and never blink. If you stop believing, your entire enterprise will be called into question.