Your big idea. How to hone your business concept.

December 16, 2020

Let’s deep dive into your big idea and how you can home in on what it should be. I have had so many business ideas over the years, both before and after Barre Body. The first business idea that I can remember was about 15 years ago for a retail store called ‘The Ned’ (the […]

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Let’s deep dive into your big idea and how you can home in on what it should be.

I have had so many business ideas over the years, both before and after Barre Body. The first business idea that I can remember was about 15 years ago for a retail store called ‘The Ned’ (the first three letters of denim backwards) that sold only jeans. I was living in Paddington at the time visualised it as a store on Oxford Street. I was an avid jeans wearer (and still am) and the idea of a store that only sold jeans was like mecca (pun-intended) to me. I didn’t end up bringing the idea to life, but I did lots of research and planning. Like many ideas, it floated off into the ether and was never realised.

Side note: if you are interested in creativity and the notion that ideas have a life of their own, I highly recommend (and in fact couldn’t recommend more highly) that you read or listen to the audiobook of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat Pray Love fame. It’s the most wonderful non-fiction book I’ve ever read.

Now, back to business…

So how do you know if you are onto a good thing? Let’s explore.

How to come up with an idea.

If you’re like me, ideas will come to you all the time. Or maybe you just have one idea and what to know if it will work (read below if that describes you). Or maybe you don’t have your idea yet, but you know that you want to start a business. Here are some simple ways to come up with your idea:

  • Read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert that I mentioned above. It’s a wonderful thought starter.
  • Journal every morning and brainstorm ideas.
  • Look at Instagram and search hashtags like #femaleentrepreneur and #girlboss to see what other women (and men of course!) are doing. See if their businesses spark any ideas in you.
  • Think about what you love to do. Are there any potential business ideas in that?
  • Go to business events and conferences, especially the ones tailored to women.

How to know if your idea is a good one.

To get a sense for whether your idea is commercial (or simply viable if in fact you aren’t hoping to make 000’s of dollars), I’ve developed a list of questions that you can ask yourself.

  1. Do enough people need and want this product/service? The ‘enough’ part is key here.
  2. Is there an opportunity for me to be the first (or do it better)?
  3. Is this idea easy enough to execute?
  4. If the idea is difficult to execute, can I get the resources and people I need to help me?  
  5. Can I make money out of this idea?
  6. Do I have enough money to bring my business to life? If not, can I get it?
  7. Can I do a lot of the set-up work myself? It really helps to save $$ if you can do as much as possible yourself in the early stages.
  8. Is this idea special?
  9. Can I make my idea even more special, unique and/or marketable by adding special touches to the product or service?
  10. Is my business idea ‘so hot right now’, meaning, is your idea on trend?
  11. If not a hot concept, will my idea have longevity in the market?
  12. Is your idea shareable? Will people tell their friends about it when they try it?
  13. Does it light your fire?
  14. Can you see yourself working really hard on this business and enjoying it?

The more yeses you have, the more likely it is that your idea is a good, even maybe a great, one! If you have a few nos, it’s worth reviewing your idea and seeing if you can turn a no into a yes or come up with a different idea.

How to test your idea.

Ask the people you trust what they think. Be careful who you ask and be sure to ask the ones that tend to be positive and will give you good, constructive feedback and suggestions. The last thing you need is a negative Nelly pooh-poohing your idea because they tend to be a glass-half full kind of person. You don’t want to be put off before you even start.

Do some market research if you can. Develop a survey and send it to friends and family. Try to get at least 10 people to answer, but the more people you can find, the more accurate and helpful the results will be.

Another wonderful way to test your idea is to talk to a business mentor. Find someone who has done a similar thing to you and ask their advice. You may be lucky enough to find someone who will talk to you for free or you might need to pay a business coach for their time, but I highly recommend this as a worthwhile investment as business coaches can really help you to focus and know what needs to be done for success.

The most important question of all.

Does it make your heart sing? This really is what it all comes down to for me. To be able to stay passionate and put my heart and soul (and hours and sweat) into my business, it needs to make my heart sing.

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