The Idea is The Next Big Thing

Developing a product or service that will actually sell, is often tougher than you think, though very possible as the daily legions of new and successful entrepreneurs will attest.

Having a good sense of what you are capable of, and what you enjoy at this point will also definitely be helpful, since this would provide you with a base line for a direction. Notably this should be a reference source for decision making, and not necessarily the be all, and end all, of what you finally end up doing.

So to get this process started I would suggest that you make a list of all your ideas. In fact I am betting that at this point you already have some ideas and are itching to get started.

After organizing these ideas, starting with the ones you like the most (at the top), to the ones you like the least (at the bottom), I would suggest that you start subjecting each idea to a few simple value questions that will help you define your ideas better, as well as help you to figure out which of the ideas have any real merit, and which do not.

These include:

1. What are you selling?

This is very important as this will establish the foundation for most of the next questions. In answering this make sure that you define what it is, a product or service, and what it entails. In fact the detail at this point have to be close enough to a real sales pitch for a real customer. Think especially about the things you would normally like to know about what you are selling, before you would buy it.

2. What will it cost you to produce and prepare a particular item or services for sale?

Ideally figure out a real cost to you and put a dollar value on it. Focus on a value per item or quantity of items / services. You also may need to do some research here to figure out the real cost. Get some estimates from potential suppliers if you must.

3. How much can you sell it for?

Again I would suggest you put a dollar value on this, as this will give you some sense of whether or not there is any profit in it at all. Also probably a good idea at this point to consider your competition, and make sure that your pricing is based on a realistic and competitive value. Otherwise you are simply deluding yourself.

4. Who will you be selling it to?

This is a key element in this process. It is essential to understand your potential market. How many potential customers are there that you have access to? Also how will you reach these customers? And how long will it take to reach these customers? Answering these questions will help you establish whether or not there is in fact any significant or real profit involved. If you do not have enough potential customers, to achieve your objective income, probably not the best idea.

5. How much time does it take to produce & sell?idea

If you have established this value properly, you are able to calculate your potential income over time spent. Would you do better just taking a minimum wage job, or can you realistically produce & sell enough of these to actually make it worth your while? Dealing with this question should also address available resources, like manpower, time, equipment and space since all of these will have to be accounted for properly as part of this process.

Although there are a significantly larger number of questions to be explored in this process, these will help you deal with some of the key metrics involved in any product or service development, and certainly would enable you to eliminate the bad ones from your list.

Also, do write your answers down. And be specific. “Everybody” is not an answer to your potential market. Having it all written down, will help you organize your thoughts, and make more proper comparisons with your various ideas possible.

I would also urge you to find someone to discuss these with. There is often significant value in second and third opinions, as these may add some alternate perspectives to your own views. Do realize though that these are perspectives and in the end it will remain your call. You are the boss after all…

By Pieter W Heydenrych