Ideas are like birds in cages. You have to let them out to fly or die.
Customers can’t do anything with an idea of a new product. People don’t want to buy your concept; they want to buy your product.
I’ve been told that ideas are like rough diamonds. All you have to do is cut, grind and polish them into something valuable.
The truth is with a rough diamond; you can still be sure that there is some value underneath the surface.
Though with an idea, it’s even further back than that. It’s more like the ground in your backyard. Until you start digging, you have no idea whether you are going to find something valuable or end up with a pile of dirt.
Tesla is an excellent example of execution over ideas. It’s not as if they came up with the idea of an electric car. All they did was execute it better than anyone else as yet.
So what do you do with that great idea?
1. Share it
We often see entrepreneurs trying to hide their business ideas. They fear that someone else will steal or copy them. Though, you will have to share it at some point. Either during the building phase or when you sell the product.
Unless you have billions to release it to the entire world instantaneously, there will be plenty of opportunities for someone to copy it before it becomes a global success.
Truth be told, if people are copying you, it’s a sign that you are on to something. You will find knock-offs of all the best designs, ideas and products.
Sharing the idea will help you to hear the opinions and thoughts of people who don’t think like you. You are going to sell to other people, so it’s best to get their ideas before spending time and money developing it.
Testing your ideas with other entrepreneurs may give you insight into similar things that they have tried. They could share with you what they would do differently. Why make the same mistakes that others have made before you when you can learn from them instead.
2. Just start
The perfect time to launch is right now.
It will never be the perfect time in your life. The time when you finish studying, have enough money, and the kids are at the ideal age.
The best way to avoid regret is to just start.
If you genuinely feel that your product or idea is so far from being ready then set a deadline for yourself.
Say that in 100 days I am going to launch. From now until then, I will get it as good as possible.
Without a deadline, these ideas will fade until you see someone else making millions from it.
The longer we take to start, the faster we lose energy and momentum. Letting another day go by turns into two, and eventually, years pass by.
You are never going to get it perfect because you don’t even know what perfect is.
The sooner you release it into the market, the sooner you will get feedback. Feedback from real, paying customers.
Your customers will tell you how to perfect your product.
3. Test the market
The easiest and cheapest way to test a product idea is to launch a website or advertise it on your favourite social media channel.
You don’t have to have the actual product ready. You can even put pictures and create a pre-order page.
The idea is to see how much of a response you get without going through the time and effort of building the entire product.
For a couple of hundred bucks, you will have tested your ideas. Compare this to spending thousands or even millions in time and money only to realise that nobody cared for it.
You’ll also get early feedback. Perhaps they’ll ask if it comes in another colour or has a feature you never thought of yet.
You can now build a better version of the product because you received feedback before you even launched.
You can test different price points and get ideas for other changes to make. You don’t mind making changes because you haven’t even started making the product as yet.
4. Find out who your customer is
The most important question to answer is who your customer is going to be. Are they Corporates, small businesses, senior citizens or tech-savvy teenagers?
And no the answer is not everyone, especially not in the beginning.
Even if your product may appeal to a wide variety of people, Who would be the first group of enthusiastic buyers?
You want to understand their behaviour.
You most importantly need to answer three questions…
What do they buy?
Why do they buy?
How do they buy?
Suppose you developed a new type of vacuum cleaner. Is for affluent homes who will be hiring someone else to do their cleaning?
Maybe it’s for busy parents who work long hours. They shop online and only have an hour or two on Sunday before the kids wake up to get the house clean.
That will determine where they shop, what your product should do and how you will market to them.
Does it need to provide the deepest clean, be the quietest or be the fastest?
Knowing who your customer is will also tell you what your price point is going to be.
5. Work on it every day
Consistency is the key to success. You have to develop and improve your idea on a daily basis
It’s hard work, but this is the difference between having a nice idea and having a successful business.
Even after you have launched, you need to continue to improve it. Unless you do, someone else will take your spot.
If one day, your product is not on the shelf where people are used to finding it, they will buy something else instead.
If it’s not there the next day, they’ll forget about you entirely.
In the end, you will have to just get out and get going. You will never know whether your idea has any value until you try.