A business is born and evolves from an idea. Having just chuckled at stating the obvious, let’s break it down a bit and explore where the heck the idea comes from and what you do with it once you have it. I think a really good business idea often results from three things:
- Recognizing a problem
- Noticing that something is missing
- Discovering a glitch in our everyday human lives.
It’s that little thought that causes you to scratch your head and for a fleeting moment, makes you ask “Why?”
The idea, if it stays in your head, begs to turn into a concept; something that will resolve the problem, fill in the gap or fix the glitch.
Developing your concept goes beyond the mental trigger that induces your idea. It requires a fair bit of work. The way I tend to develop my concepts starts with keen observation. I like to be ultra-perceptive to what is going on in my world. I watch and continue to question the norm so that I can affirm my idea. I analyze, ask questions and gather information. My world is sometimes everything around me or sometimes it’s the framework that my company was built on. – Everything that affects my business.
I’m a self-proclaimed scribbler. I admit it. Along with observing, I take notes. – A lot of notes. Some people like to have a Moleskin notebook nearby, some a sketchbook, others record their voices on their smartphone or recorder and others use Evernote. Well, I guess I’m somewhat scribble-happy because I tend to use all of them, in no particular order.
When the idea has been written somewhere, I gather my team and start to draw out the look and feel of the idea and form it into a concept through workflows, reporting dashboards and information on how the customer and end-users will interact with the new product or service.
There are those companies that believe in going full steam ahead into designing and engineering. Some try and develop for every possible outcome and design for every possible user. It can take quite a long time to build what is perceived to be the final product or service, assuming there is an endless supply of cash.
I prefer another approach to development. Once the concept is in place, building a quick prototype becomes the very next thing to do. Our goal becomes to get the prototype into the hands of intended users in order to collect detailed information from them. Simply, we find out what works and what doesn’t. We discover missing features, also what customers are willing to pay for and what they are not. – Vital information for the success of a product launch and it’s staying power.
It’s much easier and comforting to work forward based on real feedback and qualified feature requests than going backwards to redesign, sometimes from the beginning. What’s worse than that? Finding out that the idea never even had wings to start with.