Is Your Great Idea A Real Biz?

Entrepreneurs constantly comb their brains and the world around them for new ideas. The trick often lies in figuring out whether a great idea actually has the potential to be a great business.

According to Forbes, to sift out true business opportunities from the sand of merely bright ideas, would-be entrepreneurs can ask a series of questions.

A primary one: Does this fill a void? A clever idea is nothing more than a science project if no one actually needs the resultant product. “You have to determine that there’s something actually missing to a specific market–something you’re going to supply,” says Tom Lane, founder of, an auction site for recovered and seized items sitting in back rooms of police departments.

And even if an idea appears to fill a void, it may simply not be something the market is ready for. When possible, always ask this of your idea: Does it pass a live-fire test? Many ideas lend themselves to an easy litmus test to determine if they’d be needed or popular. A newfangled baked good, for instance, could be tested at a farmer’s market before being pitched to retailers. If the sweet concoction doesn’t sell at all to the market crowd, the product may need to be re-examined before getting pushed in bigger ponds.

If a breakthrough or an idea comes in a technology-intensive business, entrepreneurs must be wary of how fast technology can change. The simple question that must be asked here: Does the idea have a shelf life?

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