Are Your Business Ideas Burning Your Brain

burning business ideasGreat business ideas are a wonderful thing. There is tremendous energy in finding yourself passionately believing in an idea.

It is one of the great creative moments of life. A lot of satisfaction and fulfilment can be squeezed out of the creative challenge of dreaming up a new business.

The big question though is: What should you do with your business ideas? How do you make it happen? Should you?

This is where a strong dose of reality is required and where it is time to face facts. Evaluating your own ideas is not impossible, but it does help to discuss it with others who are more distant to the idea and probably have a better perspective. Heed advice and listen to opinions.

Of course, they may be wrong. Don’t let yourself be hindered from sailing over the horizon due to the irrational fears of flat-earth believers.

Many great business ideas were derided in their early days and a balance must be found. I often think of the politician who derided the early aviation industry hopefuls and emphatically assured the public that international air travel would never catch on. Carefully choose who you seek advice from, listen to sensible opinions and then evaluate.

Turning an idea into business is a darn hard task. It takes vision, effort, perseverance, toughness and even more effort.

When you analyse the merits of the idea, the first step is to consider where the money will come from to build the idea. If it will not make cash fairly promptly, then there is a very strong chance it is a great idea for a hobby and it isn’t a business.

If you need a hobby, go for it. Invest cash and effort wisely though knowing all your effort still won’t put shoes on your children’s feet next winter.

Think about cash flow

Think prudently about this rudimentary cash flow analysis. If you need to start a business and no cash will readily flow then you’d be wise to cut your losses and move onto other business ideas. It needs to be a candid evaluation of how much money the idea can earn:

  • Maybe it is a great idea and there is potential to make a living from it.
  • Maybe you can even make a good living from it. Still, that does not mean you should over-engineer or over-complicate the venture.

If the cash flow will only be a moderate trickle, then it might be best to operate as a Lone Ranger or in league with just one or two other people. Why take on extra staff and overheads or get involved with investors if it is possible to also end up with a similar financial outcome and far less stress?

Your brainwave may involve perfectly good small business ideas or home based business ideas. Why take on a lease and staff, payroll, accounting and other costs if they won’t make more money? Small business ideas can be profitable if profits are retained and expenses are trimmed to the bare essentials.

How to implement great business ideas

Let’s assume the idea stacks up financially. It has a strong chance of yielding a steady cash stream that can support a team and provide a solid return to investors.

The next step is to figure out what the product will be and how you will convince buyers. How can you package up your service into an easily understood “must have” proposition? This will require a lot of thought and a fair whack of marketing savvy. If that does not come naturally, then you may have to pay someone to help you refine your offering.

An extension of that work will be to build a brand. What is the purpose of your service, product or company?

Start with why you are doing this. Don’t fall into the trap of promoting the how or the what. Think about why.

As we all know, Apple has mastered the ‘art of why’ perfectly and achieved phenomenal sales success. Just look at any Apple ad and you’ll see how they ignore the tech specs of a new device. They hardly talk about the device itself. They don’t focus on how to use it.

Instead, they sell you on why you need such a device:

  • contacting your family;
  • making movies;
  • listening to music;
  • an always handy camera; or
  • (god forbid) to make phone calls.

They show the possibilities. It is finely-honed branding and marketing.

Launching your business ideas

Once you have made at least some initial progress in each of these areas, then it is time for further reassessment.

Is the idea still airworthy?

If so, then it is time to launch into the commitments of hiring staff, leasing premises, incurring expenses and establishing administrative systems. That is when the work really begins.

Photo by Katrina Chow

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About Mark Toohey

Mark Toohey is an experienced commercial lawyer who has worked with both major law firms and as general counsel in the media, telecommunications, software and IT industries. He has been a lawyer, company director, marketing director, company secretary and entrepreneur. Mark's commercial experience extends way beyond the theoretical. He has helped launch a number of start-up businesses and his hands on experience was gained from negotiating and documenting deals for a wide variety of business initiatives.