Quick 'n' dirty idea assessment
Five steps to ensure you are working on the right thing.
You've just had a new business idea, but aren't sure if it's worth your time. Here is a simple process:
- Capture the idea. Write down who is the intended customer or benefactor, what will they get, how will they benefit, and what would it mean to your business.
- If you aren't the one with the idea, then also make sure to check if it is clear who is proposing the idea, and who should implement it. In general, you want the proposer to be the implementer as well, at least in the initial stages.
- Filter it. Read what you've written and then decide how it fits with your current business strategy. Discard or revise if not aligned. It'll come back if it's good.
- Understand what type of innovation you are dealing with. Is it about recombining what you have to serve an existing customer base? Have you done any of it before? In general, the less you've done of it, the riskier it will be.
- Is it worth a full day of exploration? I.e., are you willing to spend 8 hours to research the idea better? (Or provide support, in case of assessing someone else's idea.)
That's it for the first pass. You should be focused on eliminating as much as possible with your filters, and then exploring everything that passes through.
Remember—just because a lot can be learned from a full day of exploration, doesn't mean that every idea deserves it.
If this feels too qualitative for you, let me remind you that any financial modelling done so early will most likely be very wrong. Coming up with a sophisticated spreadsheet might feel like work, but alas, it will be nothing but wasted work.
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