A business idea is any concept that can be used to make money. It centers on a product or service that can be offered for money .It is the first milestone in the process of founding a business. Entrepreneurs need ideas to start and grow their entrepreneurial ventures. Generating ideas is an innovative and creative process. Sometimes, the most difficult aspect of starting a business is coming up with a business idea. The best ideas for a new business are likely to come from activities and people that you already know well.
Every successful business starts as someone’s idea. It must be relevant, innovative, unique, clear focused and profitable in the long run. Most business ideas exist in abstract form; usually in the mind of its creator or investor and not all business ideas, no matter how brilliant that may be profitable. A feasibility check must be conducted to find out about an idea’s chances in the market .
Every good business idea must offer benefits to the customer by solving a problem or fulfilling a need. It must have a unique selling proposition, must have a market that is willing to accept it, must offer a product or service that would be accepted by a large market, must have a mechanism for making revenue and also show how much money can be earned from it and how the money will be earned.
Idea generation is the most important function of the entrepreneur. It is made possible through the vision, insight, observation, experience, education, training and exposure of the entrepreneur. It involves product selection and project identification.
It is the function of the entrepreneurs to generate as many ideas as he can for the purpose of selecting the best business opportunities which can subsequently be taken up by him as a commercially-viable business venture. Any good business idea could be an invention, a new product or service, or an original idea or solution to an everyday problem.
Checklist for a new idea
A good business idea does not necessarily have to be a unique products or services. Majority of the entrepreneurs credited their accomplishment to the exceptional execution of ordinary ideas. The chances of success therefore will be far greater if you can market a product that is similar to existing offerings, while providing greater value to customers, extension of an existing product, creation of an improved service , market a product at a lower price ,value addition to an existing product or service, altering product quality or quantity, automation introduction, simplification, convenience, personal interests or hobbies , work experiences, skills, abilities , a familiar or unfamiliar product or service, spotting the latest trends, changing the delivery method, packaging, unit size or shape, increasing mobility, access, portability or disposability, simplifying repair, maintenance, replacement or cleaning and changing product colours, materials or shapes.
Several techniques can be used to stimulate and facilitate the generation of new ideas for products, services and businesses which include brainstorming which is a process in which a small group of people interact with very little structure, with the goal of producing a large quantity of novel and imaginative ideas. The goal is to create an open, uninhibited atmosphere that allows members of the group to freewheel ideas.
The leader of the group asks the participants to share their ideas. As group members interact, each idea sparks the thinking of others, and the spawning of ideas becomes contagious .In Focus Groups, individuals provide information using a structured format. A moderator leads a group of people through an open, in – depth discussion.
The group members will form comments in open-end in-depth discussion for a new product area that can result in market penetration. This technique is an excellent source for screening ideas and concept.
The observation method can be used to describe a person or group of peoples behaviour by probing: (1) What do people/organisations buy?,(2) What do they want and cannot buy?,(3) What do they buy and don’t like?,(4) Where do they buy, when and how?,(5) Why do they buy? (6) What are they buying more of?,(7) What else might they need but cannot get?.
Survey involves the gathering of data based on communication with a representative sample of individuals. This research technique requires asking people who are called respondents for information either verbally or by using written questions. Questionnaires or interviews are utilised to collect data on the telephone or face-to-face interview.
Emerging trends is based on the population within your area may be getting older and creating demand for new products and services. Research and Development involves a planned activity aimed at discovering new knowledge, with the hope of developing new or improved products and services.
Researching new methods, skills and techniques enable entrepreneurs to enhance their performance and ability to deliver better products and services. The attendance at tradeshows and association meetings could also be an excellent way to examine the products of many potential competitors, uncover product trends and identify potential products and reading relevant trade magazines and browsing through trade directories. These may include local, national and foreign publications.
The tasks in developing business ideas involve the identification of the value proposition of your business idea which is meant to identify and briefly describe the unique value that you want to bring to your customers that your competitors cannot, discuss products/services with prospective customers who could buy from you, at what price, at what frequency etc.?, Why would your potential customers prefer your products to that of the competitors? .In order to be successful in business, every prospective entrepreneur must find out what the potential customers really think
Raheem Shefiu is an Acadpreneur, Business consultant, start- ups’ mentor. He specializes in Business, Economics, Entrepreneurship and Management..He is a Senior Lecturer and a Researcher with the Centre For Entrepreneurship Development, CED, Yaba College Of Technology, Yabatech, Lagos, Nigeria