great-business-idea-or-flop

You’ve got to work. It’s an unfortunate reality for many and something only a small amount of people genuinely enjoy. So it’s easy to understand why there are so many new apps, startups and contraptions flying around. Starting a business can be thrilling, challenging and rewarding. It can also be scary, emotionally draining and financially frightening. Most businesses are going to take up more of your time than you’d spend working for someone else. If you’re spending all this time on something, you want the best shot for it to be successful.

However, doomed-to-fail business ideas are pursued on a daily basis. How do you know if your business idea is worth following through with or not? How do you give yourself better odds of succeeding?

Share it with someone!

You need to take this idea and throw it at someone. Too often, people keep their ideas to themselves for fear of being stolen or criticized. But coming up with a good idea isn’t the hardest part of having a successful business. Launching your business, evolving it over time, competing, scaling and being profitable are. So if you have an idea, you should share it with others. You want honest people to tell you how bad your business idea is so you can root out the flaws before investing more time or money into it.

Measure the odds.

One way you can do this is with a feasibility study. This is different from a business plan. A feasibility study measures the probability that your business will be successful in the current market. It is often performed by a business consultant but you can perform basic research on your own if you’re on a small budget. There are things you should look for before starting this type of work. Looking into the market and your competition is a great thing to do before moving further with your idea. This will help you determine whether to launch your business or come up with another idea.

Don’t take on the Big Guy. At least not head on.

Competition is hard and expensive. It’s an inevitable part of being in business for most industries, services and products. However, do yourself a favor and thoroughly research your competition. Don’t try to compete with a bigger company using their same strategy and tactics. Get ahead of them.

Warby Parker, the eyeglass company, didn’t launch a ton of stores nationwide to compete with Lens Crafters and their kind. They found two pain points for customers: the hassle of trying on frames in a store and the price of good looking frames. They then created a process to make buying eyeglasses easier and cheaper. Identify opportunities in your market to dodge the competition. This is going to save you a ton of money and time in the long run.

Watch Shark Tank

OK, this one might seem silly. But after a couple episodes of Shark Tank, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how investors judge the success of a product and business. You’ll also get a crash course in how to pitch your business to others. The investors have experience in the market, know the risks and rewards across industries and will ultimately trash some of these presentations with the brutally humbling facts of life. Shark Tank is a popular show for the same reason American Idol is: the average person gets to laugh at the weirdo from the comfort of their home. Don’t be the weirdo. Think your business idea through.