This entry deals with the tricky task of assessing new business ideas.
Having built up a moderate list of ideas, these must be evaluated so that a short-list of preferred options with the greatest potential and lowest risk can be assessed in greater depth.
One way of evaluating ideas would be to use a simple scoring system using gut-feel with a limited number of criteria such as personal fit, degree of risk, funding need and so on - see a comprehensive list of factors at Getting New Business Ideas.
Before scoring individual ideas, run through the criteria and set what you feel should be minimum desirable scores for each. The resultant total could be used as your overall minimum threshold. If some ideas don't achieve satisfactory scores, drop them and look for better ones.
Once your short-list has been developed, you will need to start devoting substantial time to assessment, research, development and planning. For a start, you could pursue the following tasks:
- Discuss products/services with prospective customers
- Assess the market using desk & field research
- Analyze your competition
- Consider possible start-up strategies
- Set ball-park targets and prepare first-cut financial projections
- Prepare a simple action plan
- Critically examine ideas from all angles
For more insights into these tasks, see Getting New Business Ideas.
Bear in mind that the incubation period for a new business can easily last several months or even years. Don't rush into the first feasible idea without letting it incubate or develop in your mind for a reasonable period. There might be a tendency to get all fired up and enthusiastic such that your heart is starting to rule your head. Instead, stand back and think!! Do not be afraid to seek external assistance from professional advisers or from enterprise support organizations which are virtually everywhere. These include SBDCs in the US, Enterprise Agencies & Business Links in the UK, County Enterprise Boards in Ireland, EC BICs throughout the EU and so on......
For help with converting your preferred business idea into a business plan, see How to Write a Business Plan.