This article is contributed by Jessica White.
Being an entrepreneur or launching your own business is a highly exciting and rewarding experience that only a select few of us will ever get to experience. Unfortunately, there is a prevailing belief it seems that in order to run a business you need to wait for an amazing idea to strike. The belief is that you’ll be going about your normal routine, quite like any other day, when suddenly a light bulb will flash and you will suddenly know how to make your millions and change the world.
But it doesn’t have to be that way at all. Not only is it perfectly possible to come up with an idea that’s not original (many of the most successful businesses simply replicated the success of those that went before them), but it’s also possible to make the conscious decision to have an idea. You don’t need to wait for lightning to strike, you can just sit down and force the idea to come. And in fact if you go about it in this way, you’ll find that often you’re actually more successful: because you can choose to have an idea that’s likely to be successful rather than just accepting something impractical or difficult to promote.
What Makes an Idea Successful
You see there is a big difference between a good idea and a successful idea. The Dell Streak is the perfect example of this – the first device ever to technically fit the description of a ‘phablet’ (yes, this was before the Galaxy Note made such a splash!). Clearly this was a ‘good idea’ as subsequent devices would prove, but at the time it was a complete flop. It was too difficult to market, there was no precedent for it and no one was willing to give it a chance.
The same goes for your ideas. You might have a product concept or a service that would genuinely be incredibly useful to people all around the world, but if you can’t convince the investors, if the infrastructure isn’t there yet, or if you can’t elegantly express what your idea is to the buying public, then you’ll find you aren’t successful.
So why not make life easier for yourself? Why not set out to have an idea that will be easy to market and that will win over the investors?
What Does the Most Marketable Idea Look Like?
So what would such an idea look like? What is hot with investors and buyers right now, and what is likely to be easy to run with?
Well the first tip is to keep things simple and to keep costs low. Some businesses are naturally going to present less of a risk than others and that makes life easier for you and for everyone else involved.
Take the company ‘Hot Picks’ for instance. They manufactured and marketed novelty-shaped guitar picks for guitar players that quickly became incredibly popular. What made the idea such a stroke of genius though was how simple and cost-effective it was – each pick cost them barely anything to produce allowing them to stage giveaways and to place large orders without danger. The margins were high, and they were entering an existing and proven market.
The next tip is to look at what’s currently popular among investors and in general. Trends come and go, and for any industry you’ll find that there are golden windows of opportunity when there’s a palpable ‘buzz’ but not everyone has had a chance to jump on it yet. The phablet market didn’t even exist when Dell entered it, but if you were to suggest an oversized phone to an investor today then you would be much more likely to hit a home run.
I once read a book on writing where the author spoke about his ‘discarded children’ (actually he called them ‘murdered babies’ but I felt that was a little gruesome for a heading in this article). These were the sections of his writing that he was forced to ‘cull’ for the betterment of the articles or novels, all kept in a single file for nostalgic purposes. The sad thing was that some of this writing was good – even his best work – but he still had to discard it to produce the best end product.
The same is true with ideas – sometimes being a great businessman or woman is about knowing when to forget an idea. Even if it’s one you’re proud of. Because better than a good idea is a successful one.
Author Bio: Jessica White is an intern at Bentham IMF, leaders in the investment capital business. She considers the financial field to possess immense opportunities and wishes to pursue a career as an investment banker.
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- License: Creative Commons image source
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42402605@N07/5693120074
- License: Creative Commons image source