Turning an idea into a business opportunity

biz idea

If an idea is not necessarily an opportunity, what is an opportunity? When does an idea become an opportunity?

A business opportunity is simply defined as an attractive investment idea or proposition that provides the possibility of a return for the person taking the risk.  Such opportunities are represented by customer requirements and lead to the provision of a product or service that creates or adds value for  its buyer or end-user.

You can be guided by the following factors that can tell you when an idea has the potential of becoming an opportunity.

An opportunity has the following qualities

  • Attractive
  • Durable
  • Timely
  • Anchored on a product or service
  • Capable of creating or adding value to what it can offer to the buyers or end-users.

Now, let us look for that opportunity.  How do we start?

As an aspiring entrepreneur, ask yourself:

  1. How do I find a good business opportunity?
  2. What business can I start with what I have?

There are two basic sources of opportunities:  internal and external.

Internal sources come from the inner motivation of the person, his mind and heart.

  • Mind – knowledge, talents and skills one may have.  These are the things that one knows, that one is good at, and that one values of believes in.
  •  Heart – One’s interests and passions, things one loves to do and enjoys doing most.

External sources come from the environment. These include business support services from government and private sectors, including credit, technical and marketing assistance.  Opportunities may also come from trends, crises, festivals, seasons (like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, rainy season and school opening).   

From idea to opportunity: steps to take

First  requisite, of course, is to have an idea that you are passionate about and that synchronizes with your internal resources — your talents, skills, experiences.  Better if there are also external resources that would support the flowering of the idea.

Once you have this, take the following steps, as prescribed by www.inc.com:

1. Think through all angles. Evaluate the opportunity like an investor would—in an objective, thorough, analytical way. Who are the customers and what do they need? How big is the opportunity? Is the timing right? What will it take to execute? Is the payoff worth the risk? etc. etc.

2. Get feedback. Find people who know the market,  the competitors and predecessors—people who have been there, done that, and can help you understand what works and what doesn’t in the real world. Also, talk to customers—people in your core target market—and find out what they think about your hypothesis.

3. Respond to feedback. Make any necessary changes to your business plan, product, and go-to-market strategy, as indicated by the feedback you received. Develop an implementation plan.

4. Build a basic product. When you envision the product or service you ultimately want to offer, it probably has a slick design, and a full set of features. Keep that ultimate vision on the back burner for now. Instead, strip the concept down to the bare minimum offering to address the needs of your core customers. Build that basic product as quickly and inexpensively as you can.

5. Test your product.  A market test would tell you whether your product is acceptable or not. Make adjustments, as indicated by the feedback.

Having gone through these steps, you should be ready to open shop.

Photo: “Some ideas about future” by Helge V. Keitel, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved

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