Ideas are cheap but knowing how to develop an idea is valuable. Back at high school, I was a real day dreamer, I guess I have a creative mind. Over the years I have come up with countless great ideas but have taken action on only a few.
I believe I am not alone and that there are many others who constantly dream up great ideas, but for one reason or another never get to act on them and so they become forgotten.
Entrepreneurs don't all share the same methods for developing their ideas. Some will go to great measures and expenses to plan out how they will develop their ideas whilst others will take a quicker less formalised approach.
I had an interesting conversation with a fellow passenger on a flight from Nelson to Christchurch last year. He was Head of the Business Development Department at a leading university. He spoke of how a good friend and business associate developed his ideas. Initially this man would jot down his idea on a piece of paper and if he felt good about it, he would get his friend to assign the project of developing the idea to one of his university classes as a formal assignment. The students would work on developing the idea to a start-up stage. If it looked viable, after this initial research, then he would invest money in further developing the idea.
Wouldn't it be great if we all had a team of keen researchers working for us to help assess whether our ideas are going to be worth developing or not. Sadly we haven't, but we do have many resources available to us so that we can carry out our own research and product development.
It's important that before we sink countless hours of time and effort plus money into a project, we take the time to validate our idea. We need to ascertain if there are people who will purchase our product or services, how big is our customer base and who are our competitors. Once we know who our competitors are, we need to be able to define our unfair advantage, what skills, knowledge or experience do we have over our competitors and how can we apply this advantage.
Any good idea must solve a problem. Identify what the problem is and possible solutions, but keep it simple.
Define your niche. This is a really important step as it significantly increases your chances of success if you are able to drill down and identify a very specific niche. In doing this though, remember to ensure that the customer base will still be big enough.
We need to know what our expenses will be so that we can price our product or services accordingly, so writing up a budget from the start is always a good idea.
Share your idea with others. This is something many aspiring entrepreneurs find difficulty doing due to a fear of having their ideas stolen, but ultimately, by sharing your idea with others you will gain helpful insight from others due to their different experiences and perceptions.
I know of a young man who had a great idea but lacked the knowledge to develop it, until one day he shared his idea with a person whom he thought could help him, this man wasn't able to help but told the young man to contact someone he knew who might have been able to help. That was the breakthrough the young man needed and once he shared his idea with this person, they were able to develop it into a viable product which was so much better than what the young man initially dreamed of.
If you have an idea and are not sure how to develop it, become a member of this community and you will have free access to the Project Planner from the Resource Library.
Hope you have found this post helpful.
Keep on daydreaming, (but take action too).
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