You think you have a great Business Idea?

Ok, so it’s all about an idea…as a famous tagline for one of the telecom giants in India goes on to say, ‘An idea can change your life’…well for sure it can, but do you think your idea is indeed a ‘Great’ “Business” idea? What does it take to have your idea a successful business implementation? What are the measures you should run your idea through to see the light at the end of tunnel? The very first question that you should be asking yourself is;

Do you have the passion to see your idea through?

If you don’t, well then you should re-think. Because you should do what you love! If you’re not passionate about it, don’t even attempt it! Say you are passionate, but passion alone will not help…

Do you have the knowledge, required skills, and experience?

If you don’t have these, well networking helps you here…you should stick to what you know, and then try and gather support for your idea! Say you are passionate, and have the required skills too, but

Do you have a goal? What is that you want to get from your business and how will you achieve this?

If you don’t know what do you want out of your business, how will you achieve this…well you need to know that. Because there is no point having a map in your hand, when you don’t know where you are! Ok…so you now you have your goals also…wonderful, and things seem to be coming in shape here…but wait a sec…

Who are your customer? Any idea?

Hmmm, you should get your head immediately in to market research See here Because whatever you do…but if you don’t see or have a good customer base, you are bound to fail! Now comes the cracker…

Do you think your idea is big enough that people will pay for it?

Did you say ‘No Idea’? Well, Start Again , well if you are a millionaire you may not actually, but if you are not…your idea has to make money for you!

Ok, so good to hear that you know who your customers are, but

Have you tried it out in front of customer…even as a trial run?

Well here is an old advice…’Test the depth of water before you plunge in! Test the water with your product or service with a limited trial to gain valuable feedback. The most important measure for me to device the value of your idea is:

Are you making something which is filling the void? Which is able to fill a demand, meet a need or solve a problem?

Did you say NO? Well then why bother even starting with the idea…you should know what you are addressing, what the needs are! And this is my favorite

Can you define your product in 25 words sales pitch?

You said you can, wonderful. Ideally it should not take more than 25 words to define your product. Because Complicated won’t sell.

How about the resources?

Do you have the resources that you would need, the skillsets and knowledge that you are lacking? Where will you source your people, and/or offices? You should have answers for these if you want to have an ideal implementation.

The idea which is yours…is it similar to some other feature or product in market?

Your product must have features that set it apart: it needs unique selling points (USPs) to lure consumers away from competitors! Here is a brilliant video

Another very important thing in managing product is, do you know what are the limitation of your product!?

If you tell me…”No, my product is the best”, well I am sorry, it’s not…even the great iPhone has its own flaws…better you find yours…before your competitor does so… We would come to the logical conclusion of this article in next post…till then Happy Thinking 🙂

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Product Assumptions – Which one are you making today?

When a team sets out to develop a product, they generate a series of hypotheses. In my experience, good teams are explicit about these hypotheses and test them before they invest too much time into a particular product plan. However, more often than not, I see that development teams are not even aware that these hypotheses exist, instead building their products as if they were fact. The problem with this approach is that rarely does a team get all, if any, of these hypotheses right from the get-go. If they don’t first test them, they run the risk of building a product that nobody wants. Let’s take a look at an example to illustrate how this works.

Explicitly Enumerating Product Assumptions as Hypotheses

I have an idea for a Delhi Metro mobile app. DMRC is the local Metro train that runs with-in NCR regions. Riders include daily commuters and occasional train riders. As a daily commuter, I witness a number of problems experienced by occasional riders. They don’t know how to buy tickets, they don’t know how to pay for parking, they don’t know which platform to stand on. They don’t know how to tell what stop they are at.

I suspect that if DMRC tackled some of these problems, they might convert more of these occasional riders into daily commuters, growing their ridership. I’ve often considered building a DMRC mobile app that addresses some of these usability problems.

The app would walk the occasional train rider through each step of the process of riding the train, starting with where to park, how to buy a ticket, updates on when the next train is coming, updates on where you currently are relative to where you want to get off the train. My goal would be to make it as easy as possible to ride the train.

I know how to do all of these things. I’m observing these problems first hand from past 1 year. Should I just get started and build the app? How do I know that occasional riders will want it?

Let’s take a look at some of my assumptions or hypotheses underlying my app idea.

  • H1: Occasional train riders will download a DMRC mobile app before they ride the train.
  • H2: The problems that occasional train riders experience are big enough that they will remember to use the app they downloaded earlier to help solve their problems.
  • H3: The desire to ride the train is great enough that if occasional train riders had help they would ride the train more frequently.

It’s quite possible that occasional train riders don’t anticipate having problems. If they did, they would probably choose to drive rather than take the train. So H1 could be a big hurdle.

H2 may not be as big of a hurdle. It’s possible that if I did download the app and I run into a problem, the problem itself may act as a trigger to remind me I have the app. But that still needs to be tested. It might be easier for me to just ask somebody nearby. Or I might just give up, something I see people do daily.

With H3, if my goal with the app is to help grow DMRC ridership, then I am assuming that the reason people don’t ride the train more often is because it’s hard. This might be part of the problem. But there are a number of other reasons why occasional riders might not take the train more often – the big one being that it is often slower than driving. Even if people had all the help they needed, they might still choose to drive over taking the train because they simply want to get to their destination sooner.

Now I need to find out the solution for testing these hypothesis, till then cheers!