The courage necessary to take a business idea from concept to completion is something that resonates with most entrepreneurs. When just starting out, especially if you’ve never started a business before, it can be difficult to know if your idea is really worth pursuing. Some plans, no matter how good they sound, just aren’t feasible in the real world. Conversely, some ideas may not seem grand at first, but are amazingly successful when introduced to the market.
So how does an entrepreneur separate the ideas that have promise from the duds? These nine Young Entrepreneur Council members managed to successfully take their plans from the concept stage to the completion stage. Here, they share insights into how they chose their ideas, how they figured out the ideas were feasible and what their fellow entrepreneurs can do to implement their own ideas into real-world measurable success.
1. Play To Your Strengths
After working in financing for some time, I knew there was a better way to get businesses the funding they needed. Instead of forcing them to jump through hoops, we could offer nontraditional products in a less painful process. In 2008, the demand for business funding skyrocketed and I knew this was a niche that needed more attention. If you’re good at something and there’s a demand, go all in! – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
2. Find A Way To Monetize Your Passion
My passion has always been commerce and technology, so I created a business that would combine and monetize both. Luckily, I started my first e-commerce site before it became popular. Because I was on the cusp of the beginning of the e-commerce boom, I had the confidence to jump in and try different business models. My takeaway: find a way to monetize your passion and never give up! – Shu Saito, Godai
3. Create What You Need
Lots of successful businesses started in an attempt to solve a particular problem for that founder. For me, I needed a proper tool that helped me manage remote tools, so my co-founder and I created Hubstaff. As remote work grows, the need for tools like Hubstaff grows. My advice to you would be that your concept should come from a personal pain point. – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff
4. Focus On Solving Other People’s Problems
I related to my problem personally and, through research, realized I wasn’t alone. This gap in the market motivated me to meet a need in the most important areas of sleepwear: comfort, confidence and functionality. I’m proud to say that our brand is the culmination of customer orientation and relentless problem solving—a lesson I think all business leaders can use in any company they’re building. – Ashley Merrill, Lunya
5. Look For Underserved Niches
After years in the infrastructure hosting industry, it became clear to me that there was a demand for a lower cost alternative that offered premium levels of quality and service. As technology evolved, the business model stagnated. Established businesses are conservative. They change more slowly than the world around them. A leader who spots the mismatch can build a successful business. – Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.
6. Leverage Current Events
We got the idea for our business a decade ago when the country was mired in a recession. We knew that the general American public was going to need help with their finances; therefore, we thought the time was right to launch our small business—a personal finance website. There are times when you can leverage current events going on in the country to launch a business that could be successful. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
7. Draw Inspiration From Real-World Experience
The idea for my business came to me as I was finishing up my education to become a CPA. I remembered how difficult it was for me to find the right study materials and actually pass my exams, so I tried to think of what I would have wanted in order to make that process easier. The important takeaway here is that the most successful business ideas require inspiration from real-world experiences. – Bryce Welker, The Big 4 Accounting Firms
8. Test Your Idea Against The Hedgehog Concept
I realized that it made sense for me to start my business because my idea fell within the three circles of the famous Hedgehog Concept, introduced by Stanford professor Jim Collins. The three circles are: what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be the best in the world at and what drives your economic engine. Any aspiring entrepreneur needs to test their idea against this concept. – Amine Rahal, Little Dragon Media
9. Be Controversial With Integrity
I have acne and shared my journey on YouTube. I showed vulnerability to my followers and gained a following. They trusted my opinion so much that when I created my own products and noticed a big difference on my skin, they encouraged me to sell my products. A leader should have something controversial (story, product, ideas) to offer—it could be an unpopular but distinct message to convey that he or she would like to share to motivate their audience. – Daisy Jing, Banish