Not sure if you have a next-level business idea? Let’s figure it out! As you already probably know, the journey of starting a business is the coolest, longest, weirdest, and windiest journey you’ll ever, ever walk.
(Let’s be real: no one teaches us how to do this. The fact that you’re doing it is pretty much the bravest thing ever.)
I’ve walked lots of those weird, long business paths and there have been a couple that I’m still walking on. Additionally, there are a few that ended a while ago. After all, that’s entrepreneurship for you, isn’t it? Starting a business usually involves a constant blend of perseverance, persistence, patience, and it’s not for everyone.
So, if it’s for you, just go ahead and do a little happy dance for yourself. You should be proud, and know that I’m dancing with you!
Now, I’ve had lots of business ideas in my life. Over the years, a lot of those have been random ideas that have come to me in the middle of the night (and usually involved me waking my husband up to share them), and a lot of them have been slower to fruition. I’ve learned a lot with my head full of ideas, and I’ve figured out that there are 7 parts to a *really great* business idea that actually has legs and gains real traction.
Do you have a business idea you’ve been dancing around with and think might be next-level-worthy? Here’s how to know if it’s a good one.
A Little Note About Next-Level Business Ideas
There is a quote I absolutely love from Victor Hugo, the playwright, poet, and writer behind Les Miserables. He said: “There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.”
This is such a beautiful quote for so many reasons. An idea can change the world, can mold it into something new or different or beautiful, and can completely and totally change a life. However, as Victor alludes to, not every idea’s time has come… and that’s okay. There are tons of ideas that will visit you during your life, there are many ideas that will float in and out of your head, and there are a lot of ideas you’ll have that aren’t necessarily meant for you at that time.
Does it sound a little woo-woo? Maybe, yes — but, I promise you, it’s right.
Ideas are the most special currency of imagination that we have, but we don’t have to act on every idea all the time. Not every idea will make a great business (though some definitely will), and it’s your job as a brave, creative, and fierce entrepreneur to realize which ideas might really be yours to make some magic with.
7 Signs You Have a Next-Level Business Idea
If you’ve found yourself with an idea that you could see turning into a business, you’re already rockin’ it. Truly. Now, here are 7 things I love to look at to see if an idea might make a really great business:
Does Your Idea Solve a Problem?
The best businesses solve a problem, and that means that the best ideas do, too — which is where taking a look at your idea comes into play. Your idea needs to offer something that’s going to make life easier or better or more streamlined for someone else — because without that, you can’t sell it. My favorite way to dig into this is to ask: does your idea educate, entertain, engage, and/or inspire? If not, take a step back.
If you’re a service-based business, this problem solving could be anything from needing to find graphic design services to people looking for a trustworthy dog walker. If you’re a product-based business, this problem solving could be anything from giving people high-quality, inexpensive workout clothes to showing them a better way to organize their pantry. The ideas are limitless, and so are the problems your idea might be able to solve. The key? Making sure it can actually solve one.
Will People Pay For Your Idea?
An idea that you want to turn into a business needs to check one box before you do anything else — and it’s ensuring that people are going to pay to purchase that idea in some way or form. After all, you can’t run an effective business without making sure that there is some deliverable or product people will pay you for. Whether it’s an app or a design package or a coffee maker is up to you! You just need to make sure that your idea leads to some sort of productization that people can actually snag.
Can You Profit Off This Idea?
Once you’ve decided on a deliverable or product that people can buy, you have to dig a little deeper and make sure that your business can get you to a profit. This is where good ole’ college economics comes into play — and this is where you need to start diving into the nitty-gritty details like price points, overhead costs, and expenses. Now, not every business will make a profit immediately, and that’s super normal. However, if you can’t see a way your idea can make a profit eventually, it might not make a good business.
Do You Have a Marketing Plan in Mind For Your Idea?
If your idea can become a business, you’ll need a marketing plan for it — and you’ll want to create a marketing strategy that makes people really excited to dive in with you. The biggest thing to consider? Building a website that gets people inspired and interested to join you and your idea by buying a product or a service from your business. There are tons of other important ways to market, too — think everything from Facebook ads and word-of-mouth to social media and email marketing — and the ideas should start coming naturally to you if your idea has legs.
Is There a Niche Marketing For Your Idea?
A business needs a market, or people to sell to — and that means your idea needs to connect to one. If you look at your idea and can’t determine who might be interested in it, you need to give it some more thought before trying to turn it into a business. After all, you want your business to inspire or educate or entertain someone, right? Now, ask yourself: who is that person? Who is that audience?
What Makes Your Idea Different?
There are a million — heck, probably a billion — ideas floating through the air at any given moment. You have to ask yourself: what makes my idea different? Why is MY idea so special? Why should people buy it or connect with it? This is where defining your USP — your unique selling proposition — comes into play, and taking the time to craft a high-level, listen-up kind of USP is key in attracting the right people to your idea once it becomes a business.
Does This Idea Light You Up?
I am a huge believer that being passionate about your business makes all the difference in the success of that business — which is where this question comes in: does this idea excite the heck out of you and inspire you to chase something with it? If not, it’s simply not worth it to make that idea a business. It’s not. Starting a business is hard and scary and confusing, and if you’re not truly passionate about the idea behind the business, it’s not right for you.
If you’re ready to start a business, I can’t even tell you how excited I am for you — and I’m not just saying that! Entrepreneurship is the wildest, most magical thing you’ll ever do… and entrepreneurs change the world every single day. When the going gets tough and the decisions get hard, come back to all the things we talked about today — from the way your idea lights you up all the way to the strategies you put into place — and keep going. It’s so worth it.