Most of us have had business ideas before, but were any of them worth holding onto and developing?
Most business ideas emerge randomly. You might see a person crossing the street and think about a way to improve pedestrian safety. You might struggle finding sources for a research project and think about a better way to organize that relevant information. If you're like most people, these thoughts have entered your mind--regardless of whether or not you've ever started a business.
The problem is, most of these ideas are fleeting thoughts, and few have the strength to stand on their own. Given time, development, and refinement, some could be turned into strong business ideas, but how can you tell which ideas are worth pursuing and which ones should be let go?
These three simple questions can help you figure that out:
1. Would people pay money for this? If the answer is yes, you're off to a good start. The best way to frame this question is with you, your friends, and your family. Would you be willing to part with your hard-earned cash to adopt this theoretical solution? If not, nobody else probably will either. You can do market research to back this up later, but for now, run it as a thought experiment--that's usually enough.
2. Are other people already doing it? If the answer is "no," or "yes, but they're doing it wrong," you can go further. Run a quick online search for your potential idea to see what other businesses are already doing it--how are they doing it? Is there room for you?
3. What would it take to start? Finally, think about what it would take to get things started--this answer will be more qualitative than just "yes" or "no," but will help you decide whether it's feasible. For example, if you would need a dedicated factory and years of expertise you don't have, you might not be able to start such a business in your spare time.
The next time you find yourself considering an idea, strong or fleeting, apply these three questions to see if it's worth more time to consider. You may be sitting on the next great invention, or at the very least, a strong professional opportunity.
Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.