“From idea to business opportunity, it’s only a short step!” Or not…
“In your opinion, can my idea work?” At nyuko, this is probably one of the questions we hear most.
At the risk of disappointing some of you who are – legitimately – questioning the potential success of your ideas, the question is impossible to answer!
Take a second to imagine the opposite… If we could predict the success or failure of a project before its launch, the world would be filled with flourishing businesses, but a great many entrepreneurs would surely never have taken the plunge. And if that were how it worked, we wouldn’t be here writing this article!
An opportunity more than an idea
In reality, entrepreneurship is not an exact science. A multitude of unforeseeable and/or uncontrollable variables can foil even the most thoroughly prepared plans (ah… the trusty business plan! ).
You have to bear in mind that the life of a business is not linear. Some companies that are now perfectly healthy have had rough starts or been on the verge of bankruptcy. And on the other hand, companies that were once behemoths in their sector have since gone down a slippery slope (Nokia, Polaroid… ring a bell?).
20 years ago, who would have believed we would be able to book a ride in a regular person’s car or a night in someone else’s home? Had you ever imagined DVDs would disappear and we would be accessing a huge catalog of movies and series from our phones for about ten euro per month? Perhaps the founders of these companies hadn’t even thought of it… yet their minds and eyes were open to detect opportunities in their environment. And they saw how to develop those opportunities when they met the necessary requirements to be turned into a sustainable business.
Determining the potential of an entrepreneurial project
How can we define the success of a business project? Can you focus on profitability alone? Shouldn’t it involve some notion of personal fulfillment? A balance between your initial motivations and what the company actually brings you?
There is no miracle solution that can guarantee your project’s success. However, you can reduce your risk of failure. And luckily, there are methods for analyzing the potential of a business opportunity.
I’ll start off by tackling the ongoing myth that “you need a good idea to start a successful company.” False! An idea alone is worth little. The idea is the starting point of any entrepreneurial adventure, yes… but it’s nothing more than a mental projection, an imprecise image of an ideal project forming in your mind…
That means other people can have the same idea without you knowing! So do not be shy to talk about it with friends, family, colleagues… it can only nourish it! If ever you’re afraid someone might steal your idea, I recommend taking the course on intellectual property with our expert partner, IPIL (1). Being well-informed will reassure you and help you form an opinion knowingly.
OK, I may be overstating things a bit, but from my point of view, it is wrong to believe you “just” need to find THE right idea and everything will flow! How you bring your idea to life is what makes all the difference. It’s the “execution” you hear so much about in entrepreneurship.
And beyond that, what is a good idea? What is a bad idea? What criteria can you judge it by? The very notion of “good” or “bad” idea is highly subjective, which is why we prefer to talk about business opportunities rather than ideas.
A business opportunity
A business opportunity is an idea that has been well thought through, optimized, and must fulfil three indispensable conditions:
- What types of activities will you be doing?
- Do you have adequate control and knowledge of them all?
- Do you have all the resources you required to do so within a defined timeframe?
- On one hand, the desirability of your market! Who are your customers? Do they really need your solution?
- And on the other hand, your own desirability… Do you personally match your project?
- Can your project bring you the income you want to have?
- Will that revenue be sufficient for you on a long-term basis?
During this analysis, keep two objectives in mind. They should be your guide:
- First, pinpoint any major inconsistencies: this will help you optimize your future business model
- Next, analyze the risks involved: this is a major quality for an entrepreneur. It’s in fact one of the key success factors for evaluating a business opportunity
In Part 2 of this article, “How to evaluate a business creation opportunity?”, we will take a detailed look at how to put this tool into action to define your business opportunity and bring your initial idea to life.
For advice on the topic, contact the team at nyuko!
(1) IPIL (website in French)
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