Boss Lady

Daring to dream: How to know if you have a good idea for a business


Most great businesses start with a dream, a passion, and a will to succeed. They also usually come with a healthy dose of failure along the way. Some of the greatest business minds of all time had huge failures before “making it big,” including Walt Disney and Steve Jobs. From a female perspective, you can also look at J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books.

Shortly after graduating from college, Rowling found herself divorced, jobless, and trying to make ends meet as a single parent. To say she had hit rock bottom would be an understatement. Now, she’s one of the most successful authors of all time. Why? Because, despite her grim situation, she didn’t let her self-confidence waver in knowing she had something special on her hands when it came to her stories. She knew she had a great idea.

If you’re passionate about something, or it’s been swirling around in your dreams for years, you might think you should develop it into a business, too. Obviously, dreamers like Rowling, Jobs, and Disney turned those great ideas into something huge, so why not you? Now people are even making money off of the success of these figures. Disney, alone, is a huge brand name for everything from snack foods to Disney socks!

Well, it starts with knowing whether your idea is feasible for a business, or if it’s better suited as a hobby or passion project. There is no doubt that dreamers can still find success. But, it takes the right idea and a willingness to work for it.

So, how can you tell if your dream or vision should become an actual business?

Ask some simple questions

Before you create a detailed business plan, create an “elevator pitch” for your business that includes a few easy questions, like:

  • Why are you doing this?
  • Are you fixing a problem or supplying a need?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • Can the business make money?

When you ask yourself these questions, try to answer them relatively quickly, instead of giving yourself a lot of time to think about them. Typically, your gut instinct is what you should follow, because that’s how potential customers will view your business. They won’t spend hours thinking about how it benefits them. They’ll know in a matter of minutes.

So, give yourself no more than 30 minutes to answer these questions and develop your “pitch.” If you can answer them all positively and you still believe the business could be successful, you can start to get other people involved in the process.

Talk to your target customers

If you want to know whether your business idea will be a hit with customers, get out there and talk to your potential customers! Over 627,000 new businesses open each year, and many of them fail quickly because they don’t focus on their customer base and what people actually want. It’s not enough to have a great idea. You have to make sure there’s a want or need for that idea, and you have to be willing to listen to input or feedback on ways you can improve it.

When you first start interviewing potential customers, you should consider your initial elevator pitch. They will either validate your answers to your own questions or they’ll give you a new perspective on some of your answers.

Talk to a variety of different people so you can get different points of view. You’ll learn what’s most important to the people you’re targeting, so you can change your idea as needed to fit the needs of more people.

The more “real” you can make your idea, the better. If you have a product, have a prototype to show potential customers. If you want to provide a service, explain in detail how it will work. You’re looking for honest feedback and for people to critique you. It might be hard to hear sometimes, but working out the kinks in your idea now can help you to be more successful later.

Decide on a price

It’s not always easy to ask people what they would be willing to pay for a product. Chances are, they’re going to say that they would spend less on something than they actually would. Everyone wants a deal, after all.

So, when you’re trying to figure out a fair price for your idea, start by looking at your competitors. Even if you’re offering something unique, there is likely something else out there you can compare it to. Where are others finding success with similar products or services? Can you charge more? Should you charge less? Start by doing your research.

When you have a rough price in mind, present it to your potential customers. Ask them if they would be willing to pay that price, or why they feel it should be higher or lower.

Start Small

When you’re passionate about your dream, you might want to put everything you have into it right away. No matter how you start, you’re going to need to figure out a budget for launching. Many people have to take out small business loans or personal loans even to get their ideas off the ground.

Don’t put yourself in a massive amount of debt as you try to make your dream come true. Instead, start small. Continue to slowly gather feedback from potential customers. The more feedback you get upfront, the easier it will be to make changes to your idea before it launches.

When you start small, you can actually get your product or service onto the market faster. It will also allow you to change directions or make improvements as you go along before the idea becomes “too big” to make any real changes without people noticing.

If you have a dream or a great idea that you’re convinced would be great for a business, don’t let your confidence waver and don’t be afraid to fail. Follow these steps to start on the path of your dream, and determine whether your business idea could be a huge success.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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