So You’ve Got An Idea…

You’ve had a brainwave. The cogs are whirring. You’ve come up with an idea that’s going to make you your millions. So what do you do next?

Solve a problem

It’s all well and good having an idea but unless it’s solving an actual problem rather than a perceived one, you’re not going to get far.

Let’s say you have come up with a product that holds Red Widgets. But there’s already a product out there that does the same thing. How can you adapt your idea to solve an actual problem? Look into issues customers of Red Widgets have. Does the existing Red Widget holder have flaws that can be fixed in a unique way?

Decide on your USP

Your USP – or Unique Selling Point – is what differentiates you from others with a similar business or product. What is going to make a customer come to you instead of your competition? What benefits do you offer? What are you doing better? Again: what problem are you solving?

Write a business plan

A business plan is a great way of getting your thoughts, goals, mission, values, aims, whatever you like down on paper. It communicates your vision to whomever may need to see it (your bank manager, perhaps!) as well as drumming out the little details that will ensure you’re always on track with what you want to achieve.

Do your research

It’s vital that you complete ‘market research’ before you spend any money or invest in any stock. Market research ensures you have enough data to make a decision on the viability of your product or idea. Some ideas of things this should cover:

  • Who is going to buy your product or use your business?
  • Does your customer actually want or need this product?
  • Are you restricting yourself to a niche that is not going to return enough profit?
  • Competitor analysis – what is already out there, how do they do it?

It’s really important that as part of your market research you find a way of getting in touch with the type of customer your product or service is going to be aimed at. You can ask your mum and your Facebook friends, but no matter how honest they say their feedback is they’re very unlikely to trash your idea.

Try using a free service such as Survey Monkey to create a survey that people can fill in anonymously to give you honest feedback without the worry of hurt feelings and broken friendships.

Don’t spend money you don’t need to

It’s easy to get carried away with your idea and want to begin investing in websites and business cards, PR materials and other such fluff but this should all be secondary to actually developing your idea or product and getting it out there. There’s no point buying business cards for a non-existent business, or hiring a developer to work on a flashy website for something that doesn’t exist yet.