One of the best skills to have as an entrepreneur is being able to evaluate ideas. Ideas are cheap and don’t actually create any value, it’s the person that acts on an idea who starts to create value. I often meet people who want to protect their idea more than act on them. However, acting on any idea doesn’t provide a great recipe for success. You have to act on the good ones which you have the skills to make into a successful enterprise.
The first principle is to write your ideas down, keeping a chronological log of your ideas. This allows you to reflect on them, review them and refine them into something you can start to see true value. Idea’s have their time and place. So today, you may not have the time, money or ability to act on your idea, however in time things change and you may be well placed to make this idea a reality.
The ability to evaluate your ideas is split into personal skills, knowledge and aptitude on the one hand and logical, systematic evaluation on the other.
Your personal skills are constantly changing and developing, this allows you to develop as an entrepreneur and gain new valuable skills. Practical hands-on skills are one of the most value assets an entrepreneur has. The second most valuable skills are those of their team, the entrepreneurs team are core to their success and more importantly possible failure.
Knowledge for an entrepreneur is normally based around an industry sector and this asset is the foundation to building successful businesses. Without it you have a very loose idea of what is going on around you, you have no ability to influence or act on daily news stories or gossip. All successful entrepreneurs spend a great amount of time developing this knowledge to a point whereby they can plan for guaranteed success within their sector.
Many entrepreneurs stay within an industry. Many only look at businesses with a certain business model. Many take businesses they can run within a certain region. Everyone have a certain aptitude for business and only these business ideas will start to spark within the entrepreneur.
At this stage in an idea evaluation you have a series of soft skills, hard knowledge and a gut feeling. These three determine if the entrepreneur can add, see and benefit from the value of the idea.
The next is putting some form of logical plan around it which can executed to deliver on some form of business plan. The ability to look at an idea and develop a quick business plan and gut feeling on the returns allows the entrepreneur to see the merits of the idea. Who is the customer, how much are they willing to pay, what are the costs, liabilities and issues in delivery. How many staff, where and what type of people. What type of management team would be required. How much investment, money, time and skills will be required from me?