Qualities of Not-So-Great Ideas

by Rachelle DeSorcy

4 min read

Do you have an idea that is dependant on unreliable criteria, like the weather or seasons? Is your concept built around a hot new trend that might fizzle out in six months? Or did you invest way too much money in an idea that simply won’t work? You’re not alone. Fortunately, you don’t have to make the same mistake twice. Not-so-great business ideas abound, but if you learn to spot the weaknesses in them before putting your money in, you can avoid setting yourself up for failure.

A Bad Idea Lacks Passion

It’s been said countless times: to be a successful entrepreneur you need passion. Sometimes people join companies or fields that don’t stimulate them and due to that weak emotional link, the business hurts. Passion, on the other hand, has you brainstorming ideas and bringing your business to life at all hours of the day.  Passion drives hard work and perseverance. When the going gets tough, passion helps you weather the storm. Pursue ideas that have grabbed you by the heart and the brain.

A Bad Idea Lacks Open-Mindedness

You may think you’re creating a stable business by sticking to a regiment of “how to’s” from your business predecessors. Instead, you could actually be closing doors that lead to new opportunities for growth and innovation. Being open-minded allows you to make mistakes, which result in learning opportunities and potentially even new business ventures. When people are stuck on the same ideas and old ways of doing things, they miss out on chances that can be game changers.

A Bad Idea Doesn’t Disrupt

An idea that disrupts the status quo and changes the norm can be invaluable, sometimes worth billions. Think about disruptive companies like Uber and Airbnb, both of which completely changed business models in their respective industries. The founders recognized opportunities not by following tradition, but through innovation and creative thinking. How can you make the world healthier, safer, more fun or more stylish? Is your idea similar to others who are already doing the same thing or is it a unique spin on the concept? Does it offer any advanced efficiency that could change the game? Your idea may not invent the wheel but if it comes close, it’s worth pursuing.

A Bad Idea Doesn’t Have Strategy

Once you have an idea, you need a strategy with techniques and tactics. Your strategy is your roadmap to transform your idea into a product or service that you can sell to your consumer. It’s a bad sign when your idea lacks direction, but a strategy can help position it as a market competitor. Have you done a SWOT analysis? What’s the value of the product? Have you defined a target audience? What are the limitations? What are the socio-economic conditions?

A Bad Idea Misses Opportunities

Entrepreneurs can’t live in a bubble and expect to sell. Are you uninterested in the news, attending entrepreneur fairs or conferences, and connecting with other entrepreneurs or investors? When’s the last time you surveyed your industry landscape? If you’re not connecting with the world around you, you’re letting your idea sit in the back seat and may miss out on your million dollar opportunity.

A Bad Idea Isn’t Tested

One of the best ways to get feedback on your idea is to have it tested. Measure the performance of the product and ask the testers to give as much feedback as possible. Even before you’ve gone to production, ask about the concept and prod for honest responses. Sometimes people close to you, like family members or friends, aren’t as honest as a seasoned businessperson or potential customers would be, so ask those outside your inner circle for an honest critique of your idea or product early in the game.

A Bad Idea Doesn’t Communicate

They say communication is vital in a relationship. With that in mind, communication is also essential in your business. The idea itself must be communicated clearly and directly to your target audience. The relationships of the communicators with the market, investors, and employees should be honest, open, and maintained on a regular basis. Make sure you understand the importance of communication and practice it well.

A Bad Idea Isn’t Knowledgeable or Experienced

If you’ve never cooked a meal in your life, venturing into a culinary atmosphere and opening a restaurant without a cook is a recipe for disaster. You need to partner with an experienced chef with a background in restaurant management and menu creation. The same goes for any business venture. Understanding the industry and knowing your own limitations in knowledge or experience can be the difference of your idea succeeding or not.

A Bad Idea Isn’t SMART

Remember SMART objectives? SMART = specific, measurable, achievable, relevant/realistic, and timely. Your idea should follow the SMART objectives in order to create a solid and efficient plan that’s easy to follow.

Follow these tips, and you should have an easier time filtering out which ideas sound good in theory, and which will be winners in practice.

Photo Copyright: Cherries

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