So you’ve got a great idea?
The trouble that most organisations face is that they have too many ideas.
This section steps you through a process to quickly and effectively determine whether or not your great idea is the basis of a commercial opportunity, or simply a great idea.
We spend countless hours, cash and emotional energy on great ideas. The reason we don’t let go of them is because we are attached to them.
If you become attached to an idea you are often blinded to the fatal flaws.
These fatal flaws are:
- There is no market
- We can’t get to the market – it’s too expensive
- Competition is too strong
- No control over prices
- No control over product development
- No control over distribution
- Inability to expand beyond a one product company
- Cannot raise the finance
- The team
Why are they called fatal flaws? Because they are fatal! They are not weaknesses, they are not threats, they are fatal!
If you do find a fatal flaw, it is a positive outcome. Why? It will save you time, money, energy and perspiration. This means you can screen another idea. If your organisation can screen more ideas than your competition, the likelihood of your success is enhanced.
If you do find a fatal flaw, do not discard the idea as it may be viable next month or next year. But there is no point putting more money, more effort and more resources into an idea that has a fatal flaw today.
So how long does it take to do a screen compared to a business plan?
Depending on the information required, you can complete a screen in as little as five days. Some business plans take six months!
Screening your ideas
Screening those ideas. Most companies have a hidden wealth of opportunities in products or services, which often go unrecognised. At the same time, many of the new idea opportunities that do materialise are doomed to fail. Dramatic, isn’t it? What often happens is great ideas waste a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of energy, and we end up with a lot of nothing.
Too often the pursuit of an idea leads to a significant waste of time, financial resources and energy. Many of us have experienced such activity.
What we’re going to have a look at in Screening ideas is, if you can imagine a funnel. All your ideas, we’re going to tip into the top, they’ll filter through, through a clearly defined process, so out of the bottom we can get something that we believe has a commercial opportunity.
Screening ideas does something quite dangerous – it removes our ego from the idea. Can you handle it? Do you want to play?
Is thirteen a lucky number for you?
The purpose of the screening process is to establish whether ‘it’ is an idea or indeed an opportunity.
With the full screen of your ideas you’ll see there’s a simple step-by-step approach – lucky 13. Thirteen simple – yet powerful – steps to determine whether or not your idea may be the basis of a great commercial opportunity.
The reason we use steps is because most of us like to step from one to two. That step, in fact, has to get us across a hurdle. Do we have the energy? Do we have the market attractiveness? Can you do it?
You’ll notice there are many hurdles or checkpoints as we go through. Each step helps us achieve that spring in our step to get across and over that hurdle. After all, if we can’t achieve that energy to go across the step, spring across that hurdle, how can we in fact take that opportunity into the market place? This is a great way to test the viability and also your energy and passion to make this idea really happen. Some of the steps – you’re stopped. The checkpoint says “Is there a fatal flaw?”; the checkpoint says “Are you ready?”; the checkpoint says “Can you do it?”
Really concentrate on each step in the process of screening your ideas because at every step there may be another opportunity, another new and exciting door may open for you to explore.
Don’t just think of the 13 steps as “Oh here we go again, another list, another checkpoint to go through”. This is a very powerful tool and the beauty of this tool is that once you’ve learnt it, you can apply it to any idea, whether it be in a business, community or social. Have fun on the steps – be careful that you don’t trip.
The difficulty with ideas is they become large, unmanageable and difficult to understand. We need to practice compression. In other words, describe your idea in one sentence. Assume the listener has never met you before and does not understand the idea. So, what is ‘it’?
A quick way to summarise your ideas is to address the following:
- Why does the opportunity exist?
- Who will buy it?
- Why will they buy it? (People buy benefits, they don’t buy features.)