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Have You Got a Good Idea?

Updated Friday, 10th June 2005

What turns a good idea into a success, and where do good ideas come from?

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People who have a clear idea of what they want (plus the skills and strength to pursue their goals) are more likely to be successful. And entrepreneurial success depends on the quality and suitability of the ideas behind the business.

The idea must be both innovative and viable, to have the power to attract, convince and motivate people with wildly divergent interests - such as customers, consumers, investors, employees, suppliers, distributors and so on. It must offer something new and something judged as valuable by potential customers.

To have any chance of making it as a successful product or service in its chosen market, an entrepreneurial business idea has to find the right balance between two potentially conflicting forces:

  • the need to be innovative (have something sufficiently new about it so that it is both attractive and competitive);
  • the need to be viable (you need to have sufficient resources, capabilities and potential customers to bring the product to market and achieve your financial targets).

The idea may be very innovative but demand more resources than you're able to get hold of while still making a profit; or it may be viable but fail to be sufficiently novel nor offer enough additional benefits to lure customers away from established products.

But where do the ideas for new products come from?

Ideas for entrepreneurial innovations often arise from:

  • New knowledge through research and development (for example, discovering uses for computer chips in new areas, like embedding them in cat or dog collars);
  • Unexpected happenings (supermarket chain goes bankrupt; a successful film features your neighbourhood and attracts new visitors);
  • A need for process improvements (online services, e-commerce);
  • Changes in industry structure or market structure (growth in leisure and personal fitness industries);
  • Changes in how people live, their age and wealth profiles, and so on. (fashion items and fast moving consumer goods are influenced by this);
  • Changes in perception, mood, and meaning (fashion, nostalgia, retro).




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