So, you’ve got a heap of ideas after a brainstorming session or two. Cool! Now, it’s time to sift through them and see which ones are real gems worth exploring further.
Think of this process as passing your ideas through a sieve, which consists of your very own ‘ideal business’ criteria. What would your dream business look like? What features should it have, or not have?
Your Personal and Business Mission
A good starting point to define your criteria is to ask: what are my personal and business missions? If what you’re offering aligns with these missions, you’ll likely feel more pumped and motivated!
- What changes do you want to see in the world, personally and professionally?
- What bugs you? What makes you angry?
- What do you think really needs a change?
- What would make you look back with satisfaction on your own work, in 10 to 20 years?
Your Personal and Business Vision
Knowing your missions, try to picture how your ideal life and business would look a few years from now.
If you had to frame a snapshot of your ideal life in 5 years, what would be in the picture?
- Who would be in it?
- What would you see?
- What would your ideal work day, week and month look like, in your ideal scenario?
- How much revenue and profit would you make?
- What kind of people would be working alongside you?
- Etcetera, etcetera – eat your heart out!
Creating Your Sieve
With these missions and visions in mind, you can start creating your sieve: a checklist for your ideal (maybe new) business.
Tick off the points that matter most to you while crafting your dream venture. For example:
- My dream business doesn’t need me to be there all the time.
- It operates on a subscription or SaaS model.
- The products or services it offers are essential for my clients’ operations, making them hard to live without.
- It’s adaptable and ready for the future.
- It takes advantage of network effects.
- It pulls in high revenue.
- It’s super profitable.
- It brings in cash fast.
- It’s easy to sell and appealing to buyers.
- It’s a Price Simplifier: delivering 80% of the value for 20% of the price.
- It’s a Proposition Simplifier: providing 400% of the value for just 120% of the price.
- It’s a Star Business: operating as the biggest player in a growing market, expecting at least 10% autonomous growth in the coming years/decades.
Please add anything to this list of criteria that you find interesting or important.
You might not have to make final decisions or sort out every aspect right away. But, remember, adding more criteria narrows down your options. The more you expect from your dream company, the more clever and creative you’ll need to be to design it.
Your Ideal Customers’ Filter
Besides your own criteria, it’s key to sift your ideas through the market’s criteria too.
Since you might not have all the info on what the market wants, completing this filter, this list of criteria, can be trickier. But if you’ve been in a market for a while, making an initial version of such a list, from a new customer’s perspective, shouldn’t be an issue.
Once you have this draft list, you need to chat with potential customers about what they want, what they pay attention to, and what’s crucial for them.
These chats might spark new ideas and suggestions for enhancements.
Research Reviews and Suggestions
For some products and services, you can start making a criteria list online from new customers’ viewpoints.
Look at review sites, like Amazon, or any other comparison sites specialized in your market (restaurants, hotels, therapists, you name it).
Pay special attention to 1-star and 5-star ratings. What are people complaining about? What makes them happy? What improvements do they suggest?
Lastly, creating a Value Curve can help polish your ideas compared to your competitors’ offerings.
Feel free to ask us for more instructions, or refer to the book ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ by W. Chan Kim and Renée A. Mauborgne.
Once you’ve filtered all your ideas through your list of criteria – and your customers’ criteria, you can explore the most promising ideas further.
I recommend developing a few concept business models, using a so-called Lean Canvas that was created by Ash Maurya, based on the Business Model Canvas.
With this Lean Canvas, you can see if your idea still holds up when you think about it more deeply.
Have fun 😊