Innovation Learning Series: Idea to Concept
When evaluating business ideas, having a series of small and big challenges an idea needs to overcome (before it is christened, the “golden goose”) is very important for every entrepreneur. The big challenges cover the important analysis and assessments that need to be done to determine the feasibility and viability of the opportunity, while the small challenges prove that the business idea is actually a business opportunity.
Every business opportunity is based on an idea, but not every idea has the potential to be a business opportunity. It is essential to understand that most business ideas won’t have or be able to create a market. As an entrepreneur, understanding the difference between a business idea and a business opportunity is the first step, and the first small challenge of pushing an idea to a concept helps spot the differences.
The form a business takes largely depends on the team behind it; what helps it stand out in the market is the uniqueness of the team, but what also helps it start or cripples it is the kind of planning, resources, talent, and partnerships the founders have access to at the start.
Pushing an idea to the concept has to answer the questions that highlight the benefits & competitive advantage of the product or service, which the main users are, what production will be like, and the means of getting the product or service to its users. Answers to these questions will differ with different entrepreneurs regardless of if they work in the same industry. This small challenge highlights what a founder can do with the resources available before any major investment is made in the idea.
A business concept is a brief description that lays out the groundwork for a business idea. It clearly defines the idea and helps develop the framework that uncovers the path for future decisions and planning.
So how is a business concept developed? The main focus areas of a business concept have been highlighted in the paragraph above, and in the following paragraphs, the process of getting answers to those questions will be outlined with the help of the following questions.
What exactly is being offered?
Most business ideas come from identifying gaps in daily activities. They can creep in so silently it is hard not to be astonished at how easy it can be to make life just a little bit easier, and because people constantly innovate in different areas of their lives, it is important that as an aspiring or veteran entrepreneur, the warning signs for ideas that aren’t worth chasing are easier to spot.
The first step in assessing the viability of an idea is putting it down on paper. Imagination can sometimes overemphasize the importance of an idea, but by writing or sketching it down, it becomes more real, and it is easier to understand the entirety of what is in mind. With the written idea, boundaries can be limited or extended to understand how this idea fits into a market fully. Is the idea starting to look like what already exists? Or is it a novel perspective to partially or fully solve an existing problem? Either way, this step leads to the idea being shaped properly.
Evaluating Venture Opportunities
Many entrepreneurs fail to recognize the commitment and resources required to venture into a business or grow an…
Here, the main benefits of the product or service are highlighted and compared with competing products and services to determine what differentiates the product or service from the others or what can be done to ensure the product or service stands out. In this phase, highlighting who might be possibly interested in the product helps create a balance for how much value can be realistically offered.
Note: Being able to differentiate benefits from features is important to ensure the desirability of the product attracts the intended users.
How are customers going to use it?
By highlighting the personas interested in the product or service, envisioning how the product or service will be incorporated into their daily activities helps iron out assumptions that could help modify the product or service to fit better what they need.
In this phase, the form the product or service will take will be better understood. It addresses questions about the mobility, texture, aesthetic, or frame the product needs to be in or the availability and accessibility the service needs to embody before being of value to the user.
Note: Nothing needs to be finalized at this stage, but it is important to have an initial depiction to work with. As time goes on, the product or service will be altered based on research to fit the market better.
What infrastructure needs to be in place?
By ideating what the initial form (or version zero) of the product or service will be like, it is easier to highlight what key activities or resources are required for the product or service to be successful. This area really focuses on what resources are available to the entrepreneur at the time, and finding answers to this question can be said to be the most important of all the questions asked. Without the right resources, the idea can be as good as dead, even if it is a great opportunity.
Admittedly, all the required resources do not need to be available at the get-go, but the entrepreneur has to know the required resources and how they can be implemented.
How available are the skills required for production?
This also ties into the availability of resources but focuses more on the talent (people) required for the success of the business. Are the roles required for the success of the business locally available, and are they affordable? And if they aren’t, are the resources required to train talents to meet expected standards available?
These questions also need to be answered to ensure the business is sustainable after investments are made because talent will be responsible for ensuring value is constantly created for profit.
Note: Sometimes founders have the skills required to develop the product, but it is important to have a dependable team as support to prevent burnout and to ensure there is progress when the founder is unavoidably occupied with other business-focused tasks.
What is distribution going to look like?
This is the final phase of the challenge but in no way less important than the rest. Understanding what the route is for moving the product or service from production to user helps highlight what logistics measures need to be put in place to ensure there is no bottleneck with the distribution. It also highlights what direct or indirect channels need to be put in place to ensure customers are often aware of the product or service.
Note: This focuses on more than the transportation of the product or service. It also determines the most appropriate means of communicating with potential and existing customers.
If, at any point, the idea can’t provide a path to getting the answers to those questions; it is possible it might be an idea best saved for the imagination until it can prove itself. An idea can be pushed to concept individually or within a team as long as the important questions are being pondered and accurate answers are provided. From concept, a business model and other important strategies can then be developed next.
Business concepts are expected to change as research and development processes test the feasibility and profitability of the business, but with these alterations, it becomes easier to effectively communicate the value of the business to teams, investors, suppliers, customers, and other valuable stakeholders.
To learn more about how you can start up your business, you can check the following articles below:
In the Market for New Venture Opportunities?
Simple Strategies to identify new market opportunities for startup founders.
Venture Planning and Development
Critical Steps for Planning a Successful Business
- Transforming an Idea into a Concept — Breakthrough Marketing Technology
- How to turn an idea into a business concept
- From Idea to Solid Concept and the Art of a Good Concept Review | by Christina Gkofa | Agile Insider | Medium
- 8 Types of Business Concepts | Indeed.com
- What Is A Business Concept? — Definition, Types & Its Importance For Startups | Young Thrives
- What is a Business Concept? — Definition | Meaning | Example
- How to Develop a Business Concept | Full Scale
- Idea Assessment and Business Development Process | Ag Decision Maker