How Do I Know If I Have a Great Business Idea?

A special excerpt from the upcoming eighth edition of Entrepreneur Press' 'Start Your Own Business: The Only Startup Book You'll Ever Need,' available for pre-order now.
How Do I Know If I Have a Great Business Idea?
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The following is an excerpt from Entrepreneur Press' Start Your Own Business: The Only Startup Book You'll Ever Need, 8th Edition. Pre-order your copy today here!

While many business owners have been re-tooling and jump-starting their businesses as we collectively work our way past the pandemic, many up-and-coming entrepreneurs are once again finding their footing and taking steps to start a business. 

The basics of business remain the same: Wow customers with products and services that meet their needs, stay abreast of what the competition is up to, try to be one step ahead of them, and give the people what they want. Today, however, the ways and means of doing business are changing at an accelerated pace, and it’s important to stay ahead of the learning curve, whether you are trying to find investors, hire the best people, create a dynamic business culture, go digital with your advertising or hire influencers to effectively market your company.

The eighth edition of Entrepreneur’s comprehensive, best-selling Start Your Own Business guide entertains new topics   such as those mentioned above   along with a treasure trove of information on when, where, why and how to start and run a successful business.   

In this excerpt we discuss how to know whether your ideas for business is a good one. — Rich Mintzer

Related: What to Know to Run a Successful Family Business

So you’ve got an idea for a business already worked out, but is it a good, viable one? The answer might seem complicated, but there are a few markers that will tip you off, according to Neil Petch, chairman of Virtugroup, a holding company that supports startups from their early days to market entry.

1. It solves a problem

Solving a problem means delivering a solution that makes a sizable number of people’s lives easier. The problem doesn’t have to be one that nobody else is tackling; it can just as easily be a problem no one has dealt with effectively.

2. It’s scalable

Scalability is the potential of your business opportunity to grow and be applied to an ever-increasing market. Think about whether you can expand on your idea, make it flexible and resilient, monetize it throughout and remodel it if necessary.

3. Your doubts are few and quickly disappear

If you have a flash of inspiration followed by a handful of nagging doubts, it’s easy to set them aside because they don’t fit with the version of events you prefer. You need to be honest though. Conviction is important, but blind conviction is dangerous.

4. People want your product and service

Other people need to be as excited about your idea as you are. Start testing the idea and talking about it with friends, family members, and (as soon as possible) potential customers. Are they enthusiastic? Do they love it? Validating your idea outside your own headspace is key.

Related: Need a Business Idea? Here Are 55.

Together, these four markers of success can help point you in the right direction. If you can answer all of them, great! If not, take heart and take some time to rework your concept. Not being able to say “yes” to all four doesn’t mean you should scrap the idea — it just means you have an opportunity to reframe how you approach it and present it to the world.


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