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Test drive an idea.

Everything begins with an idea, and before you go on and execute, it might save you a lot of time and effort if you can put that idea to a test first.

1.    Is your idea socially acceptable?

Any idea that can be socially acceptable is more likely to be a feasible business idea as society plays an integral role in turning a company into a going concern. So, before you introduce your idea into the real world, think. Think whether or not it is going to be sustainable and what changes it may bring to the society. This is not to say that any idea that is controversial should be disregarded, as all we have to do to see success stories based on controversial ideas is to just look around us. Facebook relies on personal data to market products and while we may agree that personal data should be just that – personal; and we may agree that turning the masses of users into what is effectively only just a product, it is equally true that we do find targeted advertisements much more convenient than traditional ones. So, if you have a socially acceptable idea, that improves lives of others while generating an income, it would make things much easier. However, if your idea comes bundled with what you might call a morally grey area, or an idea that challenges societal norms, make sure you are prepared for all the backlash you may receive, and make certain that your ideas have with it a reasonable counter-argument that will at the very least open a debate in your consumers mind.

2.    Is it going to be profitable?

What is the use of burning out all of your energies, effort, and knowledge into thinking about a new idea if there is a zero chance of getting something in return? Sure, there may be NGO’s and other not-for-profit companies around, but they do require skilled manpower, manpower that costs a lot of money. There should also always be something for yourself, as investments, I believe any investment not made for personal gain, is an investment that bears no return. Your investment may be your time or your resources, but it is easy to lose yourself to the external pressures if you might not be getting anything out of it. If your idea is profit based, and have with it different ways to generate revenue, you may be off to a good start. But if your idea is based on helping people, you may need to look into a sustainable pathway that generates income for yourself, and for your idea to have a much longer expiry date.

3.    What are the risks?

It seems that there are hundreds of people coming up with hundreds of different ideas every minute, but what makes an entrepreneur different is their willingness to take risks. Beginning something new itself involves a whole lot of uncertainties, mostly because most people don’t easily accept change. That’s why when coming up with a new idea, you should think about the possible risk that comes along with it and your own ability to overcome these risks. Risks may be of varying degree and not all risks can be identified, but planning for risks is always a good idea. Murphy’s Law, ‘If anything can go wrong, it will’ holds true for any type of business over time. Sod’s law, ‘If anything can go wrong, it will at the worst possible time’ will always feel true, regardless of the condition your business may be in. As an entrepreneur, it is inevitable to not take risks, but when you have to, plan for a way out.  

4.    How big is it going to be?

While delusions of grandeur may be instilled in us, it doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing when it comes to new ideas in business. With intense changes that are happening every day, just implementing the idea into the real world just doesn’t cut it. You should be able to bring needed changes, in accordance with the ever-changing environment. The idea may cater to a niche market, or it may be able to start something big, and draw debates, but the bottom line is to be able to look at the big picture. Your idea to fruition, and whatever that entails. Scalability is vital, to test the idea within a controlled group before bringing it to masses may just give you enough data to understand if your business needs to have different phases, or if it should start big.

5.    Do you trust your instinct?

Before you come up with ideas that are cool, innovative and different, you must ask yourself if you would use it. Indulge in ideas that seem right to you, trust your intuitions and guts and never let a third person’s opinion scare you. I do however advise you to seek help from professionals, be it economists, advisors, accountants or even a friend that sells doughnuts. Sure, the advisors in their black suit, with a mustache on their face from the 60’s and ideas that are just outdated may not seem like a good place to go to, but they do know what they’re talking about. If your ideas differ from them still and still believe you can make it, despite their reservations, go ahead with it, but not so without learning what their reservations are and how to plan for it. Doing something new is always unchartered territory, and advisors may someday use your success story to fit their narrative, but there is absolutely no harm done in trusting your instinct but keeping an open mind about what other professionals have to say.

Sushov Karmacharya
Web Developer
KlientScape Software