Is there such a thing as a bad idea ? Ideas verse opportunities

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Ideas verse opportunity , when I first heard about this concept I thought it was an over pretentious  play on semantics. But with further research and discussion I can see the importance of understanding the difference between ideas and opportunities, as well as the relationship between the two.

An idea, we all have ideas, and more often then not we think we have great ideas, no even better billion dollar ideas. How many entrepreneurs have I had come up to me and say ” I have so many great ideas, I just do not which won to follow”. Perhaps you have heard of this before or you have had a similar experience ? It is not uncommon to have many ideas, and most could be brilliant, but few are an actual opportunity.

When we speak about an opportunity , we mean that there is a space in the market that affords an idea to be converted into a viable business. In my personal view great business ideas, are ideas that stem or are generated from identify an opportunity in the market or trying to solve a problem in the market. This may all seem like a play on words , so lets look at some examples.

Jeff Bezos infamously talks about an instance where he was packing books for Amazon , in its earlier days and he was thinking of ways to increase their productivity. He thought that since they were being constrained physically by the labour intensive job they could increase productivity  by using knee skates (roller blades for the knee). In the moment he was convinced that he had come across a ground breaking idea, and they he was upon a great invention, knee skates. To his dismay , his co-worker pointed out all they really needed was stacking tables. 

If you wish to hear this story straight from the horses mouth you can follow the link ().

The knee skates may seem like an obvious bad idea, but not all bad ideas are so obvious. So how do you know if your having just another idea, or are coming across an actual opportunity? Here are some critical questions you need to ask about your idea before you take it any further :

1. Does it solve a problem?

2. Would people pay for this product or service?

3. Is it a cost effective solution? ( How much does it cost to make this product or service and will the people who need pay that price ?)

4. Are there alternatives that solve the same problem?

5. Is your idea proprietary (is your idea unique or can somebody else copy your idea)?

6. Has it been done before? (More often than not there is no such thing as a “new idea”, always do your research and see if you can find similar models to what you want to do and study why it was successful or unsuccessful)  

7. What skill sets will be required for you to execute this idea , and do you have them ?

Perhaps you want to work from identifying an opportunity in the market and then generate ideas to cater to the gap in the market. So how do you identify a gap in the market ?

Here is how you identify a gap in the market:

1. Identify a problem in your community. 

2. Assess the existing solutions or absence for a solution to this problem.

3. Generate ideas that will help you solve this problem in the easiest and most cost effective way.

4. Once you have your ideas , ask yourself the 7 questions above to test the weight of the idea.

Always assess your ideas against these questions and then your will be able to gauge on whether or not you have an idea which can be brought to the market, or if you have a bad idea.

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