Many people dream of starting their own business. Their ideas feel solid to them. They’re sure that they are the only one with this idea.

But is there a market for this idea? At what price? What’s the cost? Where are the manufacturers? Are there distributors? If it’s a service, is someone willing to pay, to take a chance on an unknown?

Following your gut is an easy thing to do; you just do what feels right. That’s smart, right? Not really.

What could possibly go wrong? How big is the risk? How about a little analysis to bolster your ‘good’ idea?

How long will it take? It depends on the industry, your experience, the risk involved. It can take hours, days, weeks or months to properly research the business idea. You want the idea to last long enough to bring a profit, so take your time. After all, you’re looking at this opportunity as a long term income.

Where to start? Never before has it been easier to do analysis. What are the tools?

  • the internet (blogs, websites, articles, etc)
  • public library resources
  • books
  • magazine articles
  • friends
  • colleagues

Pose your question or idea in various ways. Let the Librarian guide you or go down a path on Google. This should give you numbers, experiences, some concept of interest in what you might offer, whatever it is. Take notes, not only of what agrees with your theory, but also where you disagree and why.

All of these tools should be used and the results taken into consideration. Notice, I didn’t say the results should be followed, just balanced out by your gut. Working finance through, acknowledging the steps involved, noting trends in the marketplace, identifying your goals, listening to other viewpoints - that’s all part of the decision. Otherwise, your decision is uninformed, untested, based solely on your gut.

Learn to ask questions. Do you have to ‘know’ what you’re doing? No, but it helps. Say you want to move into the food industry in some way, do you know what’s happening in the field? What markets are bursting? What fads have passed? Is there an expiration date? Is there an FDA or health department requirement? And these are only some of the questions. All need to be assessed for ‘show stoppers’. Do you have contacts that are in the field? Ask them for their advice. Remember, just because your friends think it’s a good idea, doesn’t make it one. They don’t always understand the risk or the investment.

Do you have to do it all, or will part of the idea suffice to get you started? How is your idea different? Is there room for you in the marketplace? Start building your ‘value proposition’.  Do you have the resources to support this idea? Can you take the risk?

An idea is just an idea until it is flushed out and tested. Whether it is product or operations, advertising or consulting, the idea should be tested first. How big the risk determines how thorough the tests you perform. 

Then weigh the results. Think it through, use a sounding board.

SCORE mentors are here to help! They can help you with their experience, test your thinking and act as impartial resources. The service is free and confidential.

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Follow Your Gut Or Do Some Analysis?