Traits of a Successful Idea
82.2% of companies failed last year.
That’s a generalised percentage derived from the number of companies incorporated and ceased for the year of 2016. The stereotype of businesses having a high failure rate, doesn’t seem to be a hearsay after all.
But why is there such a high failure or closure rate of businesses?
Everyone starts a business thinking that they have a successful idea on their hands, one that will bring them results and open up new avenues.
But how many of these ideas are truly successful ideas? And how many go on to be successful? Is the high failure rate of businesses due to bad ideas or merely business execution? I’d wager that it’s probably a mix of both.
Idea + Execution = Results.
My name is Kit and I’m the strategist at Embreo, an idea incubator. In today’s post we will tackle the idea side of the equation and identify key traits of a successful idea. If you are interested in following our full series on ideation, click here to sign up to our newsletter.
From our experience of consulting with clients and playing around with our own ideas, I can summarize the 2 key traits of successful ideas to be, SIMPLE and TESTED.
“What are you saying?”
“What do you mean?”
These are often people’s reaction to complex ideas. A successful idea is one that is simple to understand and easy to get started on. You may be attempting to solve a complicated problem but you should be able to explain it in simple terms. Your target customers should be able to easily understand the features and benefits without the use of jargon.
The solution towards said problem should also be kept as simple as possible and purely focused on solving the problem.
By having a simple idea that can be easily explained, you are able to clearly communicate your idea to your target audience. This results in better understanding of the idea and often translates into an easier sell.
A successful idea is one that is manageable and actionable. Far too many ideas are complex, looking to solve an array of problems which often end up overwhelming the executing team and paralyzing them from taking action. An idea not acted upon will forever remain a bad idea. By keeping the idea as simple as possible, it creates achievable milestones. This allows the team to know what actionable steps are required to be taken to implement the idea without being overwhelmed with information.
Simple ideas often have less key areas. Less key areas mean more focus and more focus means more clarity on outstanding issues. Being focused allows the executing team to be aware of what drives the idea and business. This improves the efficiency of problem solving and allows one to spend more time taking action than thinking.
Lastly, the most important and obvious trait of any successful idea
"Is my idea really workable?"
A successful idea is one that has been tested and proven to have a market. This is often the most overlooked trait during the ideation process. An idea undergoes many adaptations and many a time, the idea in its final stages often turns out to be vastly different from the initial concepts. A proven idea doesn’t have to be one that is already exists within the market. The idea itself can be groundbreaking, never before seen but without the necessary work done to prove its viability, it doesn’t amount to anything.
There are lots of groundbreaking ideas everyday but proving that the idea to be viable is what makes an idea on paper into reality.
What you think is a problem may not be a problem others are facing. Let’s face it, everybody is different and faces different problems depending on their demographics or circumstances.
As the old adage goes,
“One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”
Consider these scenarios,
- If you create a solution to a problem that is nonexistent among your target market. Nobody will purchase your solution hence translating to no sales.
- If you create a solution to a problem where other substitutes exists and your target market sees no reason to spend money on yours.
As much as this is the most obvious trait and scenarios to test for, the process of testing these ideas often become the point of failure for most businesses.
Most idea originators test ideas in a way that give them biased answers which results in bad decision making. This is in part due to the following,
- Emotional Attachment to ideas
- Not understanding how to test
So how do you go about testing an idea to get unbiased insights and actionable results? Good question.
I will be sharing these methodologies on testing ideas and reducing the risk of bias along in the series. So sign up for our newsletter or follow us here to ensure you do not miss a single thing.
Next up : How to approach the ideation process.