What really makes a good business idea? We often hear that businesses should:
- Be something you’re passionate about
- Solve needs and wants of a select group of people
- Make money
But what other characteristics out there make a business idea something that is truly extraordinary? We spoke with 9 entrepreneurs to share their thoughts with us.
It’s something you can describe in one sentence.
If you can describe your idea in one compelling sentence, then you likely have a winner!
Simplicity demonstrates a mastery of the market, industry, and product; conversely, if you cannot describe your business in one sentence, then you don’t understand it well enough yourself.
– Rosaria Giorgi, CEO of XAUXA
It’s unique in some manner.
A good business idea should be unique in some manner. It doesn’t have to be a completely new idea, but you need to offer it in a unique way based on your experience or education, personality, and passion. A founder’s soft skills are often more important than the business idea. There are a lot of smart people out there, but few with the drive and passion to build a sustainable business.
– Linda Mueller, Life Coach + Founder of The Expat Partner Coach LLC
It’s scaleable and centered around research-based information to validate the business plan.
A good business idea is ideally scaleable, serves a need in the marketplace, has a size-able audience that is willing to pay for it, and is centered around research-based information to validate the business plan. These are, of course, the most basic requirements. They are like free bread at an Italian restaurant. It’s expected. However, at the core of a great business idea is the leader’s or founder’s purpose or passion for it. This is why it helps to have personal experience and success with the very product or service a company offers. Why? Because things will get difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible to overcome, and the purpose or passion will be the only thing that will get the founder to wake up in the morning and keep trying.
– Mimi Bosikas, Co-Founder of Delos Therapy
Almost all good business ideas have one thing in common: they are understandable. A good business idea should be able to be explained, and understood by anyone, in a few sentences (the classic “elevator pitch”). This understandable “elevator pitch” tells enough to convey a solid sense of the idea while also being succinct enough that the listener doesn’t get confused or bored.
This “elevator pitch” and understandability isn’t just for pitching the idea to external parties. Working out how to explain your idea in a couple of sentences is a valuable part of the development process. In my experience, there has never been an exception to the rule that any good business idea can be explained to and understood by a normal person. If your idea requires long complicated explanations, or specialized knowledge, then it is probably going to fail in the long run. Break the idea down, re-work it, until you understand it and can explain it to others in a simple and enticing way.
– Jason Cherubini, Director of Advisory Services at Seraphim Associates
It’s high in demand.
Having started my own business while in university made me realize one thing – you don’t need to create the next Facebook to succeed in entrepreneurship. When starting a business, it is more important to make sure that there is a demand for your idea or business. For example, if you launch a barbershop that is just a bit more innovative than those around it, you have a higher chance of stealing your competitors’ clients. However, if you come up with an idea of a business that no one understands or that you have to explain to others, you won’t know if people genuinely want what you’re building.
Moreover, you will have a more challenging time with your marketing, as you will have to teach people what your product or service is, and you will have to generate demand for it. Thus, if you’re looking to start a business, think of something that people already want, and then innovate it slightly – this will ensure that you execute your idea efficiently. It will save you resources trying to figure out if what you’re building is valuable.
– Andres Tovar, Managing Partner + Co-Founder of Noetic Marketer
It truly serves the client.
It serves the client. Like, truly serves them. An idea or business can only survive with a healthy and happy ideal client. Creating a business around what you like to do isn’t the same as creating a business around what people need.
– Kaitlin Stammetti, Lead Planner + Small Business Coach at Rowan Lane Events
To me a good business idea is one that is disruptive, addresses an underserved (or unseen) market and aims at creating a user experience. Starbucks is a fantastic example of this; it’s not about the coffee, it’s about the experience.
– Leticia Latino, CEO of Neptuno USA, Corp
I think that, particularly for students, one of the most important qualities of a business idea is that it’s achievable. The act of starting a business is incredibly educational, so regardless of what your business is, you’re going to pick up a lot of skills that will be valuable as an entrepreneur. You shouldn’t worry about starting the perfect business or founding a billion-dollar enterprise – you have decades for that (and whatever business you start now may lead you to your perfect business idea). Pick something you can do right now and go – you’ll be glad you did.
– Alex Willen, Founder of Cooper’s Treats
It fuels you.
Having a good idea for a business is just the first step. You want to make it successful, right? A successful business takes more than just a good idea. You also need passion for the subject because that is what’s going to fuel you and your business. (Even the Sharks on Shark Tank won’t invest in a business they aren’t excited about!) So- is it something you would be willing to do for free? Is it something you’re willing to be working on at 1:00 a.m? (Because you will be.) You will be spending countless hours researching, networking, and always working to move your business forward, so you might as well love it! Because that passion plus your good idea is what’s going to keep you going and make you successful!
– Robin Densten, Designer at Recapture Designs
Although these are just a few characteristics that define a great business idea, there are so many more out there to consider. As you’re working to launch something new this year and beyond, keep these suggestions in the back of your mind.