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How do I know if my idea for a business is a good one?

I don't know how to judge whether my idea for a great new business/service is one that will have a good audience and be a success. I have never seen this business, so I feel that it would be a good idea, but then again, I wonder why it doesn't already exist.
Tim Berry answered November 18, 2008
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/answer/221741
There's an important question that you haven't answered: Does anybody involved make money on this? I see the reference to city-owned land and adoption by a local nonprofit.

If the business is never going to make money, then you take a public good path toward raising seed money. You find a large organization, either government or foundation or something like it, to donate money to support the cause.

If the business is going to make so much money that it can offer an interesting return on investment for outsiders who invest in it, then you're on an outside investment path and looking for either friends and family investors, angel investors or venture capitalists. Try this chapter (http://www.hurdlebook.com/default_Left.htm#StartTopic=Following_Up/Getting_Financed/Getting_Financed.htm|SkinName=Default) of my free online book on business planning for a summary of how to raise investment money. Beyond that, there is a lot of information about that on this site, and others, like www.bplans.com.

And if the business is going to make money for you, the owner, but never enough money to make it an attractive opportunity for an outside investor, then you're looking at borrowing money. That's tough these days because of the financial crisis, but will open up again when the time comes. That starts with the SBA at www.sba.gov, and your local bank.
Tim Berry is the president of Palo Alto Software Inc., based in Eugene, Ore., which produces business planning software. He is also the author of 3 Weeks to Startup and The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press.