You need to filter yourself, scrutinise your own ideas impartially and with clear but critical eyes, says Carl Reader.
After my last article, How to Test Your Business Idea, I wanted to expand on the concept of what makes a business right for you. Previously, I discussed different techniques and methods you can use to test your business idea to make sure it's right.
But actually, there's a more fundamental thing that you need to do with any business idea that you've got: filter yourself. Scrutinise your own ideas impartially and with clear but critical eyes. This isn’t always easy, but will allow you to understand whether that business is right for you as a person, as well as whether it sits right in the market place.
Part of knowing whether a business is right for you, of course, will come down to nothing more than your own gut feel. Perhaps you feel the business has got a real place in the world. Perhaps you have a burning passion about something that you see. Perhaps it’s an injustice that you want to fix. Perhaps it's a market you see that nobody else has adopted. Whatever it is, it's critical that you have some kind of real passion for what you're doing, and what the business will do.
Of course, it’s not about necessarily enjoying doing the day job of that business. So let's say, for example, you come up with a niche area of painting and decorating. You may not want to do all the painting and decorating, and that’s fine. However, you need to have a clear passion for providing the level of service that you want to give. Maybe it’s completely mess-free, guaranteed. Maybe it’s an impressively high level of customer service. Whatever it is, you need to have a passion – in fact, almost an anger - about the way that it's done at the moment and a real drive, motivated by yourself, towards where it's going to get to.
You then need to consider the business idea itself. Most businesses are not a brand new concept. That means you need to communicate your Unique Selling Point (USP) - fast. Just think about whether you can explain what your business offers to someone very easily. Do you have a very clear USP that you can explain in 30 seconds, so that people can understand straight away? This is so important. For example, a new project that I'm working on is Taxgo. Very simply, Taxgo is 21st Century accounting at 1950s prices. It's a very easy description that allows people to get it straight away – they understand immediately that it’s modern technology, cheap as chips. Even if you do have a never-seen-before idea for your business, a brand new concept - you perhaps have even more of a need to be able to explain it quickly and clearly. In either situation, if you can't do explain your business quickly and clearly, then you need to question your idea, simplify it and find a USP.
Once you’ve cleared through these stages and established your business and what you want it to be, you can then move on to the testing phase mentioned in my last post.