In business it doesn’t take long until you get to thinking about ‘new ways to…
Do You Know How to Spot a ‘Solid’ Idea?
I am a card-carrying member of the ‘bright shiny object syndrome’ club.
The longer I’m in business, the more I realise what a well-established, highly represented club this is. It seems most people I speak to have trained themselves to avoid the sparkly moments in business and stick to what they’re good at. Sound advice, no doubt.
But, what if one of those bright shiny moments is looking to add value to your business and your clients?
How do you tell the difference between a time suck and a good investment?
Recently I’ve been having a ‘bright shiny’ conversation with one of my clients. In and of itself, this is not a new thing, in fact, in any given week I usually swat away two or three ideas just to keep her focused.
There was one idea though that she wasn’t letting go of. At every opportunity, she’d table it for discussion, presenting a different angle or highlighting a different piece of research behind it.
Her tenacity made me realise there are a few ways you can spot a ‘solid’ idea from all the ‘bright shiny’ ideas.
Stage 1: Put your idea on paper, then walk away.
Whenever you get a fab new idea, jot it down. As hard as it is at that moment to avoid going down the rabbit hole, don’t. Just pop it in your notebook or wherever you store your ideas and walk away from it.
Go on with the rest of your week, when you come back to it the following week if it’s still as ‘bright and shiny’ as it was when you thought of it, then move it onto Stage 2.
Stage 2: Complete a little market research.
After the week if you still think your idea ‘has legs’, then it’s time to begin a little market research. Look at Google trends, float the idea with your existing clients, put it out to a group of your peers. There is nothing more powerful than asking the question of your existing customers.
Something like, “If I were to add/change X would that be of interest to you?” The important thing you’re looking for at this stage is feedback. If it all comes back positive throw another question to your group, something like, “What would X be worth to you?”
You need to know that if you follow this idea, it will be commercially viable. Can you add it, change it or offer it at a time and at a price, that your clients are willing to pay for?
If the answers are still definite then, move to Stage 3.
Stage 3: Pilot test.
You’ve floated the idea with your existing clients, they’ve expressed some interest, now it’s time to get a pilot group together to test your idea.
So, go back to the clients that showed interest and offer them the ability to ‘trial’ the idea with you. Let them know this is still in the research stage and you’ll be seeking feedback from them at every step.
It’s also helpful to ask them upfront for a testimonial at the end of the program (assuming, of course, they are happy with the results), you can use these to help you in Stage 4.
Stage 4: Post-implementation review.
This is possibly the most critical stage in the entire process. Once you’ve completed the initial round of pilot testing, it’s important to gather all of the information and incorporate it. What worked well, what didn’t work well, what could you do differently next time?
At this stage, you also want to take a look at the return on investment (ROI) for your business, and for your clients. Make sure your idea is still commercially viable. How many hours did you put in, what do you need to charge to make it worthwhile? Are your clients prepared to pay for the idea?
After weighing everything up, if there are still more positives than negatives, then you can move onto Stage 5.
Stage 5: Launch.
You’ve done the hard work to make your ‘bright shiny’ idea into a fully-fledged product or service. You have testimonials from clients who went through your pilot program; now you’re good to go. But don’t let the details slip here, make sure you’ve got brochures, graphics and everything you need ready to go.
Figure out the best way to launch this to your key market and when is the optimal time … And go for it!
So, you see, I’ve learned that you shouldn’t automatically swat all those ‘bright shiny’ ideas away.
Instead, if you follow this five-stage process, you may just discover a new and profitable arm to your business that adds value to your clients and increases your customer longevity.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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