'A business idea may or may not be a business opportunity'
Startups may fail and even tall businesses may fall. While there are many factors that decide the fate of big and small companies, identifying ideas and opportunities is what makes it worthwhile to run a business.
Let us try to understand the difference. An idea is like a seed, an impression of a concept or a notion that revolves around seemingly successful product or service. A thought that needs some amount of commercial validation before it shapes self into an opportunity. Opportunity is the care and nurturing that a gardener has to endeavor for to turn the seed into a sapling and then allow it to grow into a tall tree. The gardener ensures that it gets good soil, sunshine, proper environment and protection from harsh rains or weather conditions.
A business idea may not necessarily be a business opportunity; one needs to filter and sift through these ideas to realize whether they are real opportunities. Most of the times, these ideas remain dormant because of the lack of courage, resources, time and money or mere inability to take action. And those who show courage to take action generally see their dreams go off track due to lack of far sighted vision or lack of preparedness. The business owner or the management must own the responsibility of its success or failure regardless of the circumstances. Successful entrepreneurs are good at turning ideas into opportunities. They act. They execute to make it all happen. It takes time, resources and hard work. The canvas to paint your idea is large and enormous. You can take an idea from a secret pickling recipe to space tourism, and use the five basic elements of the recipe to turn ideas into tangible opportunities that further allow you to make work plans:
1. Strategic Fit: To understand what the market needs and realistically take account of capabilities you have to be able to provide it.
2. Business Plan: The process of writing a business plan actually helps develop an idea into an opportunity. It forces you to ask and answer hard questions and explore your options.
3. Team: An idea rarely becomes an opportunity without a team. No individual has all the knowledge and skills necessary to make the transformation.
4. Leadership: Once you have a team, the right leadership is essential to guide the development from idea to opportunity.
5. Resources: The planning process will give you a good idea of the resources that will be required to turn your idea into an opportunity.
To make it more relevant, let us consider the example of Uber Cabs. There was an innate need of taxis with best affordable prices across the world. Here in India (Delhi), the capital city needs a lot of both public and private transport options all the time. Uber had the idea to fill this void with its very uber cool android based application available on Google play and it is changing how technology can be put to everyday use. Globally business plans must have been written well in tandem with market specific feedback. Creation of its team and the availability of drivers is what they had to quickly sort. The visionary team also invested to make the application more robust yet easy to use. We may expect in sometime to hear if they plan to add their own fleet of cars like Ola to keep utilizing the opportunities.
Dr. Yasho V Verma is also a former COO at LG, an academician, a startup mentor and a veteran in consumer durables. Currently, he is advisor to Videocon and a member on board of Dena Bank. Dr. Verma is a PHD in organizational behavior from IIT Kharagpur.