Not really the headline you’d expect from a guy whose main focus is motivating and inspiring. Yet this is an important, but often difficult thing every home-based entrepreneur must grapple with.
I’m an idea guy. I’ve got a million of them. Always have, since I was able to formulate an idea – sometime shortly after my conception. The thing is, not all ideas are good. Just because you think it’s the greatest thing since Heelys, doesn’t mean it’s something people will want.
Know Your Market
Let’s start with your niche. Hopefully you have one. Your niche knows itself very well. The goal is to know it even better. Can you anticipate what your market will want? It is possible, but so is accurately predicting the weather, and look how often that happens.
Just don’t be married to an idea before you’ve done your research.
The internets are a wonderful thing. You have the resources available to you inside a little tabbed window that just a few years ago would have taken months to check out. Utilize it. Spend time really researching and putting your idea through the paces. That’s a good place to start.
Then talk to people. A great way to find out if an idea is market-worthy is to ask people – people you trust and that will give good feedback. Don’t worry about someone stealing your idea. If it’s that good, then you’re going to have 200 copycats within a month anyway. And if it’s that easy to steal, you have a commodity not a brilliant idea. Remember ideas are worthless without implementation.
“Important thing is, when it comes, you’ve got to grab with both hands, and hold on tight!” – Otis, The Last Starfighter
Which brings us to my final point. Most ideas never get off the ground. If there’s not market for it, fine. Ditch it and move on to the next one, but if it’s a great idea – and a sellable idea – then move. Do something right away. Ideas are everywhere, but great ideas aren’t. Don’t waste one if you got it. Grab on with both hands and hold on tight. Otherwise, someday, you’re going to be slapping your head and thinking, “Crap! I had that idea years ago!”
Nice action plan for getting off the pot. Ideas are a dime a dozen as long as they remain ideas. It is the action step of finding out information that gets the creative juices flowing. Good guidence no matter what your preoccupation is.
Very true. Thank you for the wonderful post.
Peter – Terrific point about getting the creative juices flowing. Some of my most successful ideas came from researching a different idea that turned out to be not so great. But the act of gathering info generated other, better ideas.
Sham – Thanks. I appreciate the feedback.
Thanks for pointing this out. A lot of times people become enamored with their own ideas and don’t look at things realistically. I think it would be also good to point out that just because an idea is great doesn’t mean it will definitely sell either. I guess this is why entrepreneurship is a great challenge.
John – That’s true. There are so many other factors – like marketing for example – that even a great idea could end up going nowhere. Part of the action, is the RIGHT action. And that means knowing how to properly get the idea out there. Then again, there’s still the possibility of a flop. There’s always risk – the key is making sure it’s a calculated risk.
I spend much time inside the patent and trademark office. There are millions of “ideas” not worth the paper they were printed on. It’s absolutely amazing; some patents had dozens of irrelevant claims each costing the originator hundreds of dollars each. Then there are the people who openly go there and openly discuss which ideas they can “legally steal” without worrying about lawsuits. Quite an amazing and eye-opening experience.
A great book on starting a concept and following it to the end it “MouseDriver Chronicles” Highly recommended.
Thanks for the recommendation, Buck. I’ll have to check it out.
Great stuff. Couldn’t agree more….”to know and love thy customer(s)”. Another great article about this is posted over at Drew ‘s Marketing Minute…really makes you stop and think about things.
You can check it out here: http://www.drewsmarketingminute.com/2007/01/what_matters_to.html
Matt – Thanks. I’m a big fan of Drew’s. He always has some really insightful stuff.
I’ve decided that ideas are a bit like children – everyone thinks her own is the brightest, cutest, most amazing of any she has ever seen. But that noisy kid in the corner needs some work! 😉
Shawn – That’s a wonderful way to look at it. Nobody thinks their own kids are ugly 😉
i just love warcraft
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