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Have a new Business Idea? The Questions to Ask Before you Start

Business Ideas GenerationYou have a good business idea for a new product or service. Something that might form the basis of a new business or fit within the business you are already involved with. At this point it is tempting to take the plunge and start taking action to develop the idea. However taking time for a bit of reflection can help improve your odds for success.

There are a number of questions that you should ask yourself  so you can ensure that you have the best chance of being successful and making sustainable profits.  You should endeavour to capture honest and considered answers.  Most importantly does your product or service satisfy a market or customer need?

Is the Market big Enough?

This should not just be something that meets a need you have and is supported by your best friend or close family. Ask around, consult potential customers in a confidential way, consider a short survey. If the answer is no then stop and return to your day job!

How Unique is Your Business Idea?

Does your idea have some uniqueness that can be protected through IPR or legal agreements? If no then consider how to protect and build your market share through for example speed of introduction or distribution agreements.

Could Your Idea Easily be Copied?

Can the idea be easily imitated or circumvented? There may be more than one way of meeting the need that you have identified. If these are already in the marketplace then you may be in a competitive market.

How will you Reach your Customers?

Is there a route to market which you can access and have some control over and provides a sustainable revenue stream? If no then investment may be needed and you may need a partner to get to market but consider how you can use the web.

Do you Need Approvals or Licenses?

Are there any particular regulatory issues such as lengthy testing or license procedures. If yes, then do these make the time to market unacceptably long or costs unacceptable high?

Will the Market Pay Enough?

Is there an acceptable market price which reasonably allows you to make a profit. There are many good ideas out there which meet the needs of someone but if there are not enough people who are willing to pay an acceptable price then you may not be able to make money from it. It may still have value to you or your community as a hobby or a voluntary service.

What About Competition?

What is the competitive environment? If there are people out there already meeting the perceived needs then you might consider that you will face some competition. If you are introducing a genuinely new solution, what will their reaction be? As likely as not they will fight back.

How will you get the Product Made?

In the case of a manufactured product, is there a known manufacturing route? If no, then there is work to do to develop this. It may be an opportunity for true competitive advantage but you may need some help.

What if you are looking for new ideas for your business? You may want to improve the way your find new ideas. Learn more about Business Innovation, try our survey:

Try our Product and Services Innovation Survey

Being Methodical Increases the Odds of Success

If you have not been able to answer all of the above questions, it does not mean that you don’t have a viable idea but there may be areas that need more work before you can create a successful business proposition from your idea. Working through the questions with or without specialist advice is the best way for  you to increase the odds of success.  If you would like more information about business ideas development or seek advice on business ideas development please contact our specialist:

Contact Our Business Innovation Specialist

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About Andrew Woodward

Andrew Woodward
Dr Andrew Woodward is a business development professional with over 25 years’ experience. Andrew originally trained as a scientist and engineer and he has held board and senior management positions within subsidiaries of a number of major international plc’s where he gained extensive international business experience. Read more about Andrew Woodward >>

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