A business idea is often born faster than the second beer is drunk. To ensure that it does not remain a crazy idea, however, you have to put in some work afterwards. Even better: you develop an idea systematically. You can read here how you go about it.
Ideas don’t just fall into everyone’s lap. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t develop good ideas. That’s exactly what most entrepreneurs do. Instead of following a spontaneous idea and then finding out what you need to implement the idea and whether it fits you at all, they take the opposite approach: they first look at what’s there and then consider what can come out of it.
Finding the idea
An idea does not have to be a flash of inspiration, but can also be worked out systematically. To do this, you should think about three things: Your motivation, your resources, the market.
Your idea should suit you, so that you can stay on the ball with verve for years and it doesn’t feel like an eternal struggle. Therefore it makes sense to follow your motivation. It is an important key element for your future business. Most of the time, however, there are many different ideas that can arise from a motivation. Let’s assume that your motivation is to help people to eat better, then a clever app, but also an online shop with an exquisite offer or even an online platform could come into question. Don’t worry if your motivation doesn’t seem crystal clear right away. Take your time to think about what suits you and what is important to you.
You can limit your motivation with the following questions:
- Which potential customer group is important to me and why?
- Which problem/need of a customer group is so important to me that I want to fully commit myself to it?
- What am I burning for? What do I really want to achieve in the end with my foundation?
- What characteristics and skills do I have that match my motivation?
As soon as your motivation is clear and you have a rough idea, you can go a little deeper into the subject by answering the following questions:
- Which product/service would I enjoy every day?
- Will I reach the goal that drives me with my offer?
- Is that really me?
- What could an offer look like that fits me even better?
- Is my central motivation reflected in the benefit I want to create for my customers?
Besides motivation, you should also be clear about your resources. They can also lead you to a business idea that suits you and narrow down the range of possibilities. For example, methods such as Effectuation, which determines exactly which resources are available, are suitable. The following questions can give you a first impression:
- Who are you? What training and further education do you have? What professional experience do you have? What languages do you speak?
- Who do you know? What professional or private contacts do you have? What resources can your environment provide? Who would be interested in participating in your project?
- What do you know? What do you know? For what do you get a lot of recognition among your colleagues? What do your friends appreciate you for?
You don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. A good idea can also be a product or service that makes something that already exists better. Or you can find a good business model that can be transferred to another area. Another way to get a good idea is therefore to observe the market. Take a look at what principles others use, and how could these be used for the area that is close to your heart? A good example of such a transfer service is the company DM by entrepreneur Götz Werner. This entrepreneur had adopted the principle of food discounters in the 1970s – but for a drugstore company. His success speaks for itself.
Making your idea concrete
But once you have an initial idea, the work really starts. But don’t worry, it can be a lot of fun. The task now is to work on the idea and to make it more concrete.
Determine your core skills
An important building block in the process of making your idea better is your core skills. Identifying them helps you to make your idea more unique. Core skills, or key competencies, are the skills that are really crucial for your customers and their benefit. They make your company unique.
Change your perspective
Experts in the field of start-ups often warn against falling in love with one’s own idea. After all, the idea must not only please you, but above all the potential customers. Therefore, prospective founders should look at their idea from a different angle – that of the customers – at a relatively early stage. You can do this best if you put the function and the benefit for the customers at the centre of your further considerations.
The following questions will help you:
- What is the decisive function that needs to be fulfilled?
- What is at the heart of the matter?
- How could I do this differently than I have done in the past?
If your idea is already somewhat solidified, it is important to develop it further and get the most out of it. With the right means, your idea can certainly be made even more unique, or you can develop a wider circle of customers by making a small modification. One way to change the line of sight is to deal with the needs of your potential customers. Which problems or needs lead them to your product? Can your product satisfy several needs at once? You can find an example for the different view axes here.
Go for it: Work out your business idea!
Your idea is the basis for all further steps up to your profitable business. It’s worth putting a lot of work and love into it. There are numerous guides on the web on how to work out a business plan step by step. Take a lot of time for this. You can’t always plan everything, but a business plan helps you to consider details, assess risks and ultimately reflect critically on everything.