...Was that harsh? It wasn't meant to be. A lot of times entrepreneurs are creative, open-minded idea engineers who can figure out everything from opening the next best zoo to selling the latest natural haircare product. While every idea you come up with may be awesome, there will be ideas you can flesh out just by "getting real." By that I mean, get real facts, assess whether you have "real passion" and figure out if the idea has "real potential." These 3 assessments will help you narrow your melting pot of ideas into one clear entree that can draw a crowd.
"Get REAL facts:" Look up statistics, profits, research and any other information that may help give you a realistic perspective of your idea. For example, if you want to open a hair salon that also sells hair extensions and accessories but the area you plan to open up in has 3 such places in the vicinity, you may not get the results you want. If you wanted to open up a local "smoke haven" for smokers who are not allowed anywhere else but statistics show that many have risked litigation because patrons grew ill, you may want to avoid that lawsuit. Sometimes we can get mesmerized by our ideas and do not realize that there may be information out there that could keep us from suffering losses. Check the facts and weed out the lemons.
"Do you have REAL passion?" If you hate cats but your latest entrepreneurship idea involves cat sitting for the holidays, you may not have the drive to follow that through. You may have heard that entrepreneurship requires a little sacrifice and dedication and you may not be able to give all of that up for your feline friends. "Real" passion is what propels music artists who were rejected 99 times to try again for the yes on 100. "Real passion" is probably what propels the Soledad O'Brien's of the world to keep seeking the story even when more doors are slammed than answered. If you wouldn't go hard for YOUR idea who else would go harder? Narrow down your choices to those you really love.
"Does it have REAL potential?" We have all watched those infomercials with things that seem cool but you probably wouldn't spend a dime of your hard earned money on. Some will actually go far but many may not even allow their inventor to break-even. Why try to get a boulder off the ground when you can have an easier time getting a feather off the ground with a better idea. Narrow your choices down by choosing those that really may usher you to the life you are seeking rather than babysit an idea that may not manifest into anything.
Oh how the choices are many but the good choices are few.
This is a very good question, and ironically I just recently read an article entitled, "Entrepreneurship: Too many ideas? Pick one and go for it." This article had four questions that an entrepreneur should explore when deciding on a single direction. The first question was:What's your passion? The best idea is probably the one that is most aligned with your personal passion and insight. Something that you wouldn't mind doing 40+ hours a week, because it feels more like fun, than work. The second question was: What are your goals? This is where you must be honest with yourself and decide on where you want to be, and what you see yourself doing. Some ideas may require major finances and a lot of attention; therefore, are you looking to have a part-time or full-time? Also, what are you looking to achieve, to become a millionaire, or to just be financially stable, or some other self-fulfillment? The third question was: What idea offers the best opportunity? This is where you can compare those many ideas to see which one will give you the best Return on Investment. The fourth question was: What idea will your best skill set support? If you are a web designer, then you will be able to create your own online website. Assess what you are good at and see if one of your ideas will support that.
In addition to the four questions that were listed in the article, I also think an entrepreneur should ask themselves, What idea will give you the most FREEDOM? This is about having it your way. This could be freedom from the 9-5, from financial burdens, from boredom, from missing birthdays due to business trips, etc. Step into that idea that will give you the most happiness!
Action step: Get a piece of paper out and answer each one of these questions. At the conclusion of it, see how many ideas you have left. If there are still a couple of ideas left, then continue to assess those in relations to the questions above until you have that one idea that fits you the most.
Amat, S. (2011). Entrepreneurship: Too many ideas? Pick one and go for it. Retrieved from http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/07/10/2306264/too-many-ideas.html